|Kara Russo Young|
Yesterday's John DePetro Show featured a argument of sorts between frequent caller "Bob the Atheist" and defender-of-the-faith Kara Russo Young. I say "of sorts" because Kara went into verbal overdrive and never gave Bob a chance to respond to her word salad. As Kara warmed up and really got into her spiel, my name got dragged into the mix. Kara and I have been on opposite sides of virtually every church-state issue to come down in Rhode Island, and I don't think she likes me very much.
Still, much of what she said about me is just plain wrong. You can listen to the entire, horrible five minutes at the link above, or read the parts relevant to me below.
Kara Russo Young: Bob, did you just say that Christmas has nothing to do with God? You know, this whole controversy, I want everyone to realize, is absolutely contrived by atheists. The supposed, oh, peaceful, common sense solution to this, oh let's just take the Christmas Tree down because it's causing too much controversy, is exactly what they want. Bob the atheist and people like the atheist Steven Ahlquist, they do a good job of making themselves appear like they're these, you know, calm, reasonable people who just want to be left alone. They are attacking Jesus Christ.John DePetro: Yup.Kara Russo Young: And they are trying to take religion out of Christmas. They would like to redefine the sacred, holy day of Christmas into just a you know, a secular day of [crosstalk] hope. Oh, Christmas isn't about the birth of Jesus Christ our savior who was born of the Virgin Mary, it's just a nice holiday to have cookies and be with family. They're not atheists. They are anti-theists. They are anti-God. They hate God. They will not tell you that. They will not. But they are. They do. They aggressively attack God, and try to force him from the public square. If they don't then why not only do they try to remove God from the public square all year round and especially at Christmas, because that really drives them crazy,John DePetro: That's right, Kara.Kara Russo Young: Why does someone like a Steven Ahlquist actually go out of his way constantly, on all of his blogs and everything, to promote everything that God is against. You know that Steven Ahlquist goes in front of the abortion clinic on Broad St. and and tries to get the pro-life persons there from not praying? Oh yeah, he actually does that. He loves abortion. He promotes same-sex marriage.John DePetro: They're such angry and empty individuals. They really are.Kara Russo Young: It's not that they don't want to believe, they don't want anyone to believe. They want to remove God. They want to attack Jesus Christ.
This goes on for at least three more minutes, but fortunately I don't come up in it much more. I will take as a compliment Russo Young's claim that I "do a good job of making [myself] appear like [I'm a], you know, calm, reasonable [person]" but I don't want to be left alone, necessarily, I want to engage with the world, and advocate for my beliefs, just as Kara does.
As far as whether or not people celebrate Christmas religiously or not, I don't care. I like freedom. I want people to celebrate holidays the way they want to. But I don't want people using their religious privilege to force certain forms of worship on the state. Christmas Trees go into churches and private residences, Holiday Trees go into the State House. That's not so hard to understand.
If I am for everything God is against, then does that mean Kara Russo Young's God is opposed to reason, compassion and optimism? I'm sure Russo Young would deny that, so really, what she doesn't like is the conclusions and actions my reason and compassion guide me to.
I am an anti-theist. I believe that religion does way more harm than good in the world. I could provide a list, starting with the Catholic priest child rape and torture scandal, and go on for quite some time, including Holy War in the Middle East, female genital mutilation, executions for blasphemy, evolution denialism, and the Tea Party, but the list would be too long if I attempted to be comprehensive. Suffice it to say that I oppose religious belief that leads to the suffering of people, and to that extent I am an anti-theist. I care about people more than I do about God(s).
I've stood in front of the abortion clinic in Cranston on two occasions to counter protest the anti-reproductive rights crowd there that prays at and attempts to intimidate women who seek reproductive health care. I don't tell the protesters not to pray. But I do think that their prayers are meaningless. I don't love abortion.
I do promote marriage equality.
I am not an angry or empty individual, I am instead full of purpose and my life has the meaning I have made for it. I want to leave the world a little better than it was when I first discovered it.