Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Atheist Outrage (But Not What You Think!)

A few months ago, my wife and I went out on a sort of a quest to find this family diner.  The owners are also the parents of an artist acquaintance, and we had good reason to believe that the food there is excellent.  Sadly, we arrived at 7:00 PM on a Saturday night but found the diner closing for the night.  We had to drive for almost an hour only to be disappointed, and we were hungry, so we whipped out the smartphones to look for something nearby.  We found what turned out to be a superb Cajun place, Prudhomme's Lost Cajun Kitchen, where we had an excellent meal and enjoyed some great live music in the bargain.  It has become one of our favorite places, especially since its discovery was so serendipitous.

Imagine our surprise to find this little restaurant in the news this month.

An atheist and member of the Pennsylvania Freedom From Religion Foundation had filed a complaint with the Human Relations Commission because Prudhomme's was giving diners a ten percent discount on Sundays if they brought in a church bulletin.  The restaurant and the complainant settled out of court, with the restaurant being allowed to continue their promotion as long as they changed the wording to make it absolutely clear that no type of religious institution is excluded.

This is the kind of crap that gives us atheists a bad name.  No wonder people of faith hate us.  This has to be the most petty, useless, time-wasting BS I have heard of in a long, long time, and it's happening in my own back yard.

The restaurant was simply trying to boost their business on an otherwise slow day.  That's all.  It isn't about religion, or exclusion, or inclusion, or anything of the sort.  This is not hanging a big ol' crucifix behind the judge in the courthouse.  This is not discriminating against other beliefs or faiths.  This is not reading the New Testament to Jewish and Muslim and Hindu and Atheist kids in school.  And it isn't, as the complainant insisted, "pushing religion."

The Golden Rule works both ways, bud.  Pick your battles with a little more intelligence next time.

Now let me make it absolutely clear:  I am an atheist.  I am actually an antitheist.  I reject the notion of any kind of god.  I believe that humans must be good without gods, because being "good" -- i.e., behaving ethically and treating others the way you yourself wish to be treated -- is the moral, ethical and "right" thing to do.  There is no afterlife.  There is no soul.  There is no Heaven or Hell or Purgatory or Limbo or reincarnation or ANYTHING after we die.  Therefore it is even more important that we live this life as though it's our only chance to appreciate the beauty of life and each other and the universe.  This I believe.

There is a great billboard that pops up now and again.  It says something like, "Religion is like a penis.  It's great to have one, and it's great to be proud of yours.  But please don't whip it out in public and wave it around, and please, PLEASE don't try to shove it down my throat."


I do not proselytize.  I will never try to convince a person of faith that they are "wrong," and I only ask that they give me the same respect.  If this atheist idiot didn't like the restaurant's promotion, he has the right to vote with his feet by walking away, and with his wallet by keeping it in his pants. So to speak.

Prudhomme's is not a public institution.  They can have flip-flop night and are not discriminating against the shod.  They can have tank-top night and are not discriminating against the sleeved.  And if they want to, they can have church bulletin Sunday discounts.  It does no harm.

Let me repeat:  It.  Does.  No.  Harm.  It doesn't "push religion."  It just drums up business on a slow night in what is a very rough economy.

So Mr. Fellow Atheist, take that outrage and that energy that you have been wasting, and go and apply it to a battle that is actually worth something.  Fight hate.  Fight sexism.  Build homes for the homeless. Feed the hungry.  Lobby for gun sanity.  Lobby for equal pay for women.  There are lots of things that you can do to make things better right here where we both live.  But please stop wasting everyone's time with your phony outrage over this non-issue.

If you do, I will cheerfully give you the 89 cents you would have saved on your blackened catfish last Sunday.  Asshole.

No comments:

Post a Comment