H. L. Mencken once said:
"We must respect the other fellow's religion, but only in the sense and to the extent that we respect his theory that his wife is beautiful and his children smart.”
I bring this up since, on a regular basis, members of the devout drop in and accuse your humble scribe of being an anti-religious bigot, or something to that effect, and occasionally follow that up with a bizarre suggestion -- that I should learn how to be far more tolerant and, furthermore, that I should begin to "respect" their religious beliefs.
To which I can reply -- not bloody likely, and for a very simple reason. Consider, if you will, some standard definitions for the word "respect":
- To feel or show deferential regard for; esteem.
- A feeling of appreciative, often deferential regard; esteem.
- The state of being regarded with honor or esteem.
- Willingness to show consideration or appreciation.
I assume you can see the problem here. It's going to be awfully hard to "respect" your religious beliefs when I think they are a complete crock, isn't it? All is not lost, though.
I'm certainly prepared to accept that you have religious beliefs, and I'm absolutely ready to tolerate them, to the extent that they don't interfere with my life and, in general, piss me right off. But, please, can we just quit with the "You really should respect my religion" whining?
I don't respect it because I think it's hypocritical, superstitious twaddle. But as long as you keep it to yourself, I'm sure we'll get along just fine.
Do we finally understand one another?
COMING SOON: Yes, you really are an atheist. Deal with that, too.
AND THE FALLOUT BEGINS: Well, that wasn't long in coming, as commenter number one weighs in with a depressingly inane non sequitur:
You pontificate to no end about how religious people - particularly and almost exclusively Christians - MUST be more tolerant, but then you aren't willing to practice what you preach.
The commenter apparently saw fit to overlook an important qualifier in my post (emphasis added):
I'm certainly prepared to accept that you have religious beliefs, and I'm absolutely ready to tolerate them, to the extent that they don't interfere with my life and, in general, piss me right off.
In other words, I really don't care what your religious beliefs are, provided you just leave me alone. But it never happens that way, does it?
We have annoyingly devout Christians, demanding that their religious beliefs form the basis of government policy for the rest of us, in areas like marriage, abortion, public school science eduation and the like.
Clearly, for people like this, it's not enough that they have the freedom to exercise their religious beliefs. Instead, for them, it's essential that all the rest of us have to conform to those beliefs as well. These are people for whom the phrase, "Thanks, but no thanks" just doesn't have any meaning.
So to anonymous, I can say simply -- we can get along just fine as long as you keep your religious beliefs to yourself and leave the rest of us the fuck alone. Can you do that?
UNINTENTIONAL HUMOUR, I'M SURE: If you need a quiet chuckle over how deluded some people are, check this out: The U.S. National Alliance Against Christian Discrimination. Because, as we all know, there's nothing like controlling the White House, Supreme Court, both houses of Congress, a good chunk of the traditional media and being entirely tax-free to really make you appreciate just how fucking hard your life is, is there?