Tuesday, September 8, 2009

So THAT'S the reason for all of this!

Been thinking about a news item I saw on MSNBC.com the other night.

You've likely heard about the recent controversy in Gainesville, Florida over students being sent home from school because they were wearing shirts that said Islam is of the Devil. There's a great deal I could address on this issue, but instead I'm going to invite my readers to pay a visit to the following page, which I eventually found after moving from the MSNBC article to the web site of the Dove World Outreach Center:

http://www.gainesville.com/article/20090826/ARTICLES/908261007/1002?Title=-Devil-shirts-send-kids-home

On the page is a short video, Students wear anti-Islam T-shirts, in which members of the Sapp family are being interviewed about the shirts. The part that caught my attention was near the end, when the father, Wayne Sapp, was speaking about the effectiveness of the shirts' message:


How many churches put out a message...God will do it, God is in control...uh...Jesus loves you...uh...those kind of messages, and how much does that actually grab your attention? How many churches can...the name of a church or to make you think, 'I need to look that up, I need to find out about that'? How many churches have you seen their marquee, their billboard, something they've said, something they've done, to really make you go and search to say, 'Is that true?' That's one of the reasons for being this...uh...bold, this out there...


Out of the mouth of this ignorant, ignorant man comes what is perhaps the precise answer to so many of my questions about the New Jerkism. The method of drawing attention to a cause through sensationalist tactics is, I must sadly concede, a far more effective one than the peaceful, rational means that I would personally advocate. But is that what all of this jumping up and down and calling religion names is, just a way to sending up some kind of flare regarding the plight of the nonreligious? And while both religious and nonreligious people are playing these useless games, does there not exist any better way for us as human beings to have a more positive impact on the world? In case no one has noticed, all of the bad things that make this world hard to live in go on unimpeded while the two sides of this so-called debate occupy themselves with all of this childish vying for attention. People are still dying. Check your local paper, or the nightly newscast on TV.

I am starting to think that Dr. Tyson really did know what he was doing when he disavowed association with any movement, secular or otherwise. For myself, I am embarrassed and ashamed that I ever began associating with the carnival of attention-getters who call themselves atheists, most of whom being no more mature or rational than their extremist Christian opposition. I am starting to think that the very best way for me to deal with all of this madness is to simply return to the state I took on between mid-2007 and the present time: when asked, I will state that I am a nonreligious person and then I will move the hell on. I figure that, in doing this, I will likely be joining millions of fellow secular Americans who are just as frustrated and embarrassed at the cartoony antics of staged religion bashing as I am.

I truly have something better to do than trying to somehow reason with those of my fellow secularists who have chosen the paths of extremism and disengenuous sensationalism. I suppose it's about time I stopped wasting time here and started doing it. I will think about this.