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Sunday, August 3, 2008

An Open Letter to Patrick

This letter was sent to Patrick as requested by him in his recent call-in on The Atheist Experience. Per the instructions, I also cc'ed it to the show's email address. Additionally, I have chosen to post this on my blog DisComforting Ignorance and the blog The Raytractors, to which I contribute.


I am sending you this letter via email as you requested in your recent call-in on The Atheist Experience.

I am an atheist and I maintain the blog DisComforting Ignorance which is a responsive blog to, specifically, Ray Comfort and, more generally, The Way of the Master. My first exposure to you was Potential Law Suit where Ray blogged about your letter. As you will see in my response to it, Potential Law Skirt, I did not even respond to it as I did not think it was legitimate. It seems, though, that it was and that Living Waters' bumper sticker was intelligently designed for you.

Let me first preface this letter by stating that you, Patrick, are a fool. I would never make such a statement to someone with whom I disagree (as I wrote in a letter to Ray Comfort about calling atheists fools by quoting Psalms 14:1). I make it to you, though, because I have decided it to be the most succinct way to affirm my inalienable right to free speech to someone who has decided to attack it. While I disagree with calling those with whom you disagree a fool, I defend their right to say it and have expressed that defense by calling you a fool. While I find the Danish cartoons of Muhammed tasteless and not humorous in the least, I defend the cartoonist's right to draw them and have expressed that by reposting the cartoons. While I find flag burning abhorrent and a crass, foolish way to dissent, I defend people's right to do it and would readily burn one to that affect.

Again, Patrick, this is being sent to the Atheist Experience, posted on my blog, and posted on the Raytractors. This is so you know that more than just you and me have seen my statement, but many. You are a fool. And, because you are a fool, I have posted a blog sticker, if you will, to the bumper of this post declaring April 1 to be National Patrick's Day (which has been attached to the bumper of this email in the form of an attachment).

Threatening to sue someone to silence their opinion is no better than Christians who promote legislation to stifle the opinions and practices of others. Threatening to sue over the bumper sticker is an inappropriate response. One appropriate response would be mocking it with a parodied "National Creationist's Day -- The FOOL has said in his heart, there is no crocoduck" bumper sticker.

My blog is on blogger.com. Just as the United States has laws to protect individuals and prohibit certain actions and conduct, Blogger has terms of service and content policies to protect individuals and prohibit certain actions and conduct. Just as the United States has a judicial system in which people can seek redress of alleged grievances for others' violations of those laws, Blogger has a reporting service in which people can seek actions against others' violations of those policies. Just as the Constitution protects my right to free speech everywhere, Blogger's content policies protect me here. Just as Ray calling you a fool violates no law, my calling you a fool violates no policy.

As such, I invite you to pursue your asinine frivolities here on Blogger's reporting system as you have pursued them in the courts.

Ray recently made a blog post where he said that "it’s clear that the atheists’ aggressive agenda is to remove God’s name from schools, from currency, from nature programs, and history books, and at the same time fill movies and television with His name used in blasphemy." My response to this will be, among others, that it is not the "atheist agenda" to take actions against those who wish to legislate their religion and stifle free speech; it is the agenda of those who seek to maximize liberty, oppose bigotry, and protect everyone's rights. If atheists were, like Christians are with regard to their beliefs, writing in state constitutions that no Christian may hold public office, erecting monuments to atheism on government property, and stamping "there is no god" on every facet of government, I would be opposing them. If atheists were, like Christians are, insisting that no negative things be said about their beliefs (or disbeliefs), that government should squander its funds and resources to ensure that no atheist suffer the discomfort of offense at mere words, I would oppose them.

It seems you would join this bully brigade and insist that we abrogate the First Amendment so that you will no longer be forced to suffer the agonizing, excruciating, dreadful, relentless, unbearable discomfort of passing the lens of your eyes over the string of characters "fool." There is no difference between you who would erode the "freedom of speech" clause of the First Amendment and the Religious Right who would erode the "freedom of religion" clause of the First Amendment. You, as they, are ignorant of what the First Amendment is and why it exists. The Framers were wise enough to add protection for those who would choose to practice a religion which others would disagree with. The Framers were also wise enough to add protection for those who would choose to practice speech which others would disagree with. The Framers were wise enough to add protection against bigotry.

George Carlin had a response to those of the bigoted bully brigade who would seek to censor use of terms which they found offensive: shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker, tits. I, likewise, have a response for you: Patrick is a fool.



  1. nail -> head
    Apparently Patrick feels understandably offended by the constant disparagement from Christians who believe they can hide behind a prescribed opinion that someone masked as an absolute statement of fact by calling it God's Word. It is a primitive, passive-aggressive, narcissistic and self aggrandising way of thinking, perfectly on par with other religions who worship a book instead of justifying a worldview from their own reason and observation. I understand that this grates on Patrick's nerves, to be constantly surrounded by God-this and Bible-that, laws that exclude people with a more rational worldview from the right to partake in the administration of their own homeland, persistent efforts to undermine the establishment clause and to infiltrate public education and so on. I comprehend the idea that indoctrination of children is a form of abuse by preemptively restricting their critical thinking abilities and crippling their exercise of shaping their own worldview.
    It is a very uncomfortable reality that all this takes place. But it is severely misguided to think that limiting the right to public free speech will do anything to solve these problems. It can only lead to a cycle of exorbitant reactions, ultimately purging minority opinions from the public sphere. Precluding any expression of opinion means effectively disbarring all expression of opinion. And that can only backfire. It is the strategy of the tyrant, not of the secularist.

  2. Very sad letter....pray that the Lord will grant you mercy and open your eyes that you may see...

  3. @jean--

    Very sad letter....pray that the Lord will grant you mercy and open your eyes that you may see...

    Jean, this is a first amendment issue, not a God issue.

    But hey--Thanks for Stopping By!!

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. "Really.....??"

    Yes, really. The letter is defending a religious mans right to call all atheists fools. Everyone of every belief system should be able to voice their opinions, regardless of the popularity of said ideas.

  6. Hi Jean,

    You might have noticed, but we're not really "praise the Lord" types around here (with one exception that I know of). But feel free to keep posting and discussing.


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