The Lower Quote, As If You Didn't Know, Is By Richard Dawkins, Son.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Ben Stein (and an Anonymous Internet Author), Fisked

I have seen this attributed to the clueless git and evolution denier Ben Stein. I will share it here with my commentary throughout in bold.

Apparently the White House referred to Christmas Trees as Holiday Trees for the first time this year, (No, the White House did not - it never has) which prompted CBS presenter, Ben Stein, to present this (terrible) piece which I would like to share with you. (This forwarding bit was added to the original, still mistranscribed piece, in 2011. Stein originally said his short piece in 2005.)

The following was (partly) written by Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS Sunday Morning Commentary.

My confession:
I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejewelled trees, Christmas trees. I don't feel threatened. I don't feel discriminated against. That's what they are, Christmas trees.

It doesn't bother me a bit when people say, 'Merry Christmas' to me. I don't think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn't bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu. If people want a nativity scene, it's just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away.
(And most people don't mind either, except that displaying such religious iconography on public land violates the U.S. Constitution's first amendment, the establishment clause. If you want to have your Christmas/Hannukah/Kwanzaa/Saturnalia/Newtonmas displays on your front lawn, your back lawn, on your roof, all over your church, synagogue, mosque, temple, or private school, knock yourself out. But not on public land.)

I don't like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don't think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. (Pushed around? You can't be 73% of the population and still get "pushed around". Either you're the majority or you're not. The whining gets old when you're only doing it because you're not getting to "push around" the minorities by putting up your particular brand of religious decorations everywhere. The end of the year has a lot of holidays, deal with it.) I have no idea where the concept came from, that America is an explicitly atheist country. (It's not an "explicitly atheist" country - it's a secular country. There is a difference which Stein is willfully ignoring. An "atheist" country would say, "There is/are no god(s), the idea is silly and childish and archaic and misogynistic and barbaric." A "secular" country says, "Because we can not, in fairness, promote any one religion over another, you can display your decorations and declare your faith in your places of worship and your homes, but not in any area publicly used or paid for by tax dollars". See the difference?) I can't find it in the Constitution and I don't like it being shoved down my throat. (Nothing is being shoved down anything. You are reacting to what you *think* should be your rights being denied to you for rational and fair reasons, which you don't like. You are more comfortable doing the shoving down throats.)

Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship celebrities and we aren't allowed to worship God? (Nonsense - you can worship whatever god(s) you want to all day long if you choose. Stop being a dramapuss.) I guess that's a sign that I'm getting old, too. But there are a lot of us who are wondering where these celebrities came from and where the America we knew went to.

(From here on the letter was penned by some anonymous internet person.)

In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different: This is not intended to be a joke; it's not funny, it's intended to get you thinking.

Billy Graham's daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her 'How could God let something like this happen?' (regarding Hurricane Katrina).
(This bit is misquoted and was not in response to Katrina, but to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.) Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response. She said, 'I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we've been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives. And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?'. (What a horrible thing to say. Blaming the victims of a terrorist attack for their deaths because they didn't pray enough to her god. Disgusting.)

In light of recent events... terrorist attacks, school shootings, etc. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O'Hare (she was murdered, her body found a few years ago) complained she didn't want prayer in our schools, and we said OK. Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school. (It wasn't O'Hare that said it, it's the U.S. Constitution, as noted above.) The Bible says thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself. (Yeah, it also says all this horrible stuff. Conveniently left out of most readings and arguments.) And we said OK. (No, you didn't. You fought tooth and nail and lost.)

Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn't spank our children when they misbehave, because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr. Spock's son committed suicide). We said an expert should know what he's talking about. And we said okay. (Dr. Spock's son did not commit suicide. To quote from the linked article, however: "An ironic twist to this legend is that it *is* true about a psychologist who advocated a child-rearing approach diametrically opposed to the one Dr. Spock would later champion." That psychologist was John B. Watson, who advocated minimal love for children, not to hug them, not to let them sit on your lap, to only give a kiss at bedtime, and to shake their hand in the morning. *His* son, William, committed suicide in 1954. I guess his, "little personality" was "warped". What was that about, "knowing what you're talking about"?)

Now we're asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves.

Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with 'WE REAP WHAT WE SOW.'
(That, or mental illness is an issue that needs to be dealt with in a better way.)

Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world's going to hell. (First, show me that there *is* a god and a hell, then we can start talking)

Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says. (You shouldn't believe what the newspapers say until you check it out. You *definitely* shouldn't believe what the bible says, because it is a collection of Bronze Age mythology and fairy tales)

Funny how you can send 'jokes' through e-mail and they spread like wildfire, but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing. (The people who think twice are the ones who wonder if it's appropriate to "shove their religion down other people's throats". FYI: it's not.)

Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace. (No one is suppressing public discussion. People object to overzealous Christians - or any other belief system - getting to espouse their viewpoint in a public forum, which, again, is against the U.S. Constitution's first amendment.)

Are you laughing yet? (Sort of, but only at the sheer volume of misinformation, mistakes, and outright lies in this short article.)

Funny how when you forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you're not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you for sending it. (No, it's because this is a horribly written piece of religious propaganda...and I'll take it apart on my blog instead.)

Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us. (Replace "God" in that sentence with, "Vishnu". Are you still ok with it? What about, "Odin"? How about, "Allah"? The "Flying Spaghetti Monster"? None of those are good? Hmmm...interesting....)

Pass it on if you think it has merit.

If not, then just discard it.... no one will know you did. But, if you discard this thought process, don't sit back and complain about what a bad shape the world is in.
(I won't pass it along, but again, I'll post it and dissect it for the worthless piece of pseudo-religious detritus it is.)

My Best Regards, Honestly (Ha!) and respectfully, (Oh, please)

Ben ("I wouldn't know a good argument if it hit me in the face with a trenching shovel") Stein

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15 Barbaric Yawps:

At 19/12/12 8:19 pm, Anonymous L.Long said...

Good take down.
My sister is a born-a-gain and use to send me Xtian chain letters which I would ANNOTATE and send back. She does not send me any anymore, strange.

At 20/12/12 1:14 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good job Mike.

I wish you an effective Festivus.


At 20/12/12 1:36 pm, Blogger Heathen Mike said...

Thanks, Tony. All the best to you, too.

At 20/12/12 3:04 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good for you Mike!
It seems that you understand everything and know everything about religions, Gods and so on...

I sincerely wish you wake up one day, and hopefully not too late.

May happiness come to you heart!

At 20/12/12 5:13 pm, Blogger Heathen Mike said...

I never said I know everything, so save your disingenuous nonsense. I have woken up, thank you, and I have tons of happiness in my heart.

Also, grow a pair and leave your real name.

At 28/12/12 6:06 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

From Oma 1994

I have little quarrel with any of your post. I will, however, pose the query: If there are so many who do not believe in or otherwise question the existence of GOD, why is it that when they are cast in the midst of a horrific event, their first verbal response is "Oh, My God!"? Why is it that they suddenly become followers, if only for a short time?

Just wondering.

At 28/12/12 7:38 pm, Blogger Heathen Mike said...


My answer to that would be that they don't, "become followers" - they are using a colloquialism which has no relevancy to their personal philosophy. They no more believe in any god(s) at that horrific moment than I do when having sex and exclaim the same phrase.

At 29/12/12 1:38 am, Blogger Thursday said...

L.Long - My dad sent me one of those ranting about immigrants. I corrected it and sent it back, along with a reminder that I married one. That seemed to work!

At 20/7/13 3:32 pm, Anonymous Tony Rodriguez said...

This blog appears to be written by a clueless git who is so dull he can't see what's plainly in front of him. God is laughing, Mike — not just chuckling, but a full, roaring belly laugh.

At 20/7/13 4:15 pm, Blogger Heathen Mike said...

Hi Tony,

Thanks for your thoughtful comment. I'm glad you provided examples of my being a "clueless git" as well as examples of what is, "plainly in front of him" - "him" being me, of course. Also, I'm happy that you gave evidence of your specific god's existence, as that's what has been sorely lacking in the discussion from your (a religious person's) side.

P.S. - clearly, my entire response to you is sarcastic in the extreme, and I'm pointing this out because you seem to have no clue about logic, reason, science, or moron.

At 29/11/13 12:31 pm, Blogger Roger Engle said...

First of all, allowing people to set up a manger scene or some other celebratory display on public land does not constitute the establishment of a religion. In fact,outlawing the use of public land for such displays is technically a breech of the establishment clause because any such law would be done in regards or with respect to said establishment.
Secondly, you claim this government to not be atheist, but rather secular. Our first President didn't think so. He said:
“It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible.”
― George Washington

I could go on all day debunking your rant of theories about the proper place for faith in our country, but I'll stop here due to the fact that I just don't think the argument with you is worth more of my time. You probably are already aware of the fallacies in your argument, anyway. Have a Merry Christmas.

At 29/11/13 4:14 pm, Blogger Heathen Mike said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 29/11/13 4:16 pm, Blogger Heathen Mike said...


Thanks for reading, but I think you need to check your sources. The Washington quote you state - "It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible", has never actually been attributed to him. You misquoted a misquote from a biography from 1835, which itself was never proven to be from Washington. What *is* proven to be from him (at least during his time in office) was the Treaty of Tripoli, which states:

"As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,—as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen [Muslims],—and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan [Mohammedan] nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries."

You might want to take note of that first line as it's relevant to our discussion. Secondly, a manger scene on *public* land would constitute a government endorsement of a particular religion - yours - above others. Let it go and have your manger scenes on private church land or your private lawn. Take a page from your "holy" book and do what it says in Matthew, chapter 6: "And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites [are]: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.”

You know, I think I agree that you should stop here and that this isn't worth more time. You have a Merry Christmas too.

At 2/1/15 10:56 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this. I edited out your bullshit and printed it as originally stated.

At 2/1/15 11:06 pm, Blogger Heathen Mike said...

Good for you. Have a cookie. Fuck off.


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