It has come to our attention that Helen Thomas has fired herself from her job for insulting the entire Jewish community by stating that they should get the hell out of Palestine and go somewhere else like Poland or Germany. The White House even stepped into the fray and denounced the crotchety old lady and she has since apologized for voicing an unpopular and apparently offensive opinion like all the rest of us do, only we put them on YouTube anonymously.
So we started thinking, huh (which is how we always start our thinking) I wonder what would happen if she insulted an even bigger religious minority in the U.S.? What if she’d said something reprehensible about the non-religious?
Let’s be clear here that the headline specifically mentions atheists (around 1% of the U.S. population as of 2008, at least for those willing to claim themselves so) while we just side-tracked into those who claim no religious affiliation (around 15% of the U.S.) which may mean that they still believe in god, or a god, or perhaps several gods or the flying spaghetti monster or who knows what, but they clearly have no homeland to claim based on some book that was written by some guys hundreds of years ago for a joke (speaking, of course, of the Holy Madlibs).
Of the total population of the United States, 2.2% are self-proclaimed Jewish peoples. So about twice as many Jews as God-haters. Still, considering the relatively small number of people who don’t believe in a supreme being with magical powers who has a grand plan that none of us are smart enough to understand, particularly when oil is spilling into the lungs of innocent sea creatures while Lindsey Lohan can’t seem to kill herself with drugs no matter how hard she tries, it’s fun to consider what would happen if Helen Thomas had said something untoward about atheists.
The challenge is, obviously, what can you say that would incense an atheist?
Consider that atheists have no organized belief structure, per se. And by ‘belief structure’ we mean ‘organized set of semi-arbitrary rules which may be applied only as it fits the set of people for whom the rules apply benefits.’ So, you know, things like getting married to your mistresses when you tire of your wives is okay, but marrying the person you love and sticking with them if they happen to be of the same sex is not. Things like that.
Okay, so, ground rules set. How, then, to proceed?
Obviously, using any form of afterlife threats is out of the question. “Gad damn you,” for example, is completely pointless. Similarly, “Go to hell!” or “God hates (your particular little clique)!” are useless. You simply can’t threaten them with anything post-life.
Which leaves you with life, itself. Remember, please, we’re speaking now of insults and not threats. You can certainly say, “I’m going to kill you, you fucking (niche group member)!” but that’s not insulting. And while Jews have been persecuted for basically ever, atheists have been left alone because they’re just so quiet. Homosexuals, similarly, get nailed to fences and kicked in the balls and shoved into some of the same ovens as others have been – birds of a feather? not so much, it turns out – but atheists sit over in the corner reading their books and feeling silently superior to you and your funny ideas about how murderers might get off scott free, but they certainly have another thing coming to them after they live to a ripe old age and finally die of the same disease that claimed your grandparents.
You might think that atheists just don’t care about anything. After all, apathy and atheist sound almost alike! But it’s not true. They just don’t care about your god, or your savior, or your prophet. All those things, they regard as simple misunderstandings on your part, or simple confusion about how things actually work (remove “miracle” from your vocabulary entirely and substitute it with either “natural” or “coincidental” and you’ll start to get the big picture). They care about you, which I know seems weird since there’s absolutely no driving force that would impel them to. If there’s no reward for doing good things, you say to yourself, then why do them?
Which brings us back to the old woman who lived in a shoe in her mouth. Poor, put upon Helen Thomas. Telling the Jews to get out of Palestine because they accidentally shot a bunch of people on a boat – oh, and built a wall – oh, and there was some tank thing or other? And, sure, they have the right to defend their home(land) and maybe the Palestinians don’t and why don’t they just shut up and go back where they came from already? But God gave them that land! Along with the United Nations and a charter, so it’s legally binding as well as Jesusy – or whatever His name is.
Speaking on behalf of the One Percent, we offer only this; we don’t know why you believe what you elect to believe and we don’t really care. We’ll continue to close our doors to Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons and go back to making cookies. Our souls aren’t lost and we aren’t going to hell. We don’t want a holy land (and we don’t think you need one, either) and we think people should be treated nicely just because it makes living here a lot easier and more pleasant than the alternative.
Satan said so.
By Dinah 9 June 2010 - 5:50 pm
Next cocktail on me. Cheers, fellow liker of the simply pleasant life!