Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I was on the news and I'm a Humanist (apparently)

So, I was on the local news today. I'm near the end and I am not the lady with the less than profound comment. Check it out:

Sorry about the ad. The local NBC affiliate has to pay the bills, too.

Here's the condensed story. The American Humanist Association bought ad space on the Metro buses that look like this:


The Humanist message is that one does not have to be religious to be a moral human. In fact, with so many Christians freaking out about gay marriage (in essence, hoping to keep gays and lesbians from attaining full equal rights), I tend to argue that humanists tend to be actually more moral than many supposedly "religious" people. The Humanist idea is that humans don't need religion to tell right from wrong; the idea should be intuitive. If not, read up on your Mill and Kant.

So this afternoon I was exiting the metro on my way to class today when a reporter from the local NBC affiliate approached me. The reporter asked me if I would be offended by something like this. Uhh... no. I respect all religious viewpoints, even if I don't agree with them. Moreover, Humanist have Freedom of Speech, too.

But according to the person in this video, I must be part of BillO's "War on Christmas." (Don't Panic. I did not link to Fox "News," so there is no danger of giving them more hits.) Apparently, it is just fine for me, a non-Christian, to be assaulted with Christmas from before Halloween until Twelfth night. Funny thing, though. The second something like this comes out, all of the Fundies get their panties in a bunch and are suddenly offended. Nativity scenes on the courthouse lawn? Fine (if Santa Claus is represented). An atheist organization buys ad space? Time to get offended!

I don't get it, either. Sounds like a teensy bit of a double standard there.

Oh well. It will be a nice change of pace from the usual ads I see every day. In fact, if you look out the train windows at just the right time between Judiciary Square and Gallery Place-Chinatown, you can see what looks like an animated ad for Nestle Quik. That one's actually pretty cool. (Come to think of it, I should hit up Nestle for a few bucks for product placement.)

As for the lady at the end of the video, I wonder if she has a more nuanced reason for being offended other than she believes in Jesus.


Update: We had some fun and interesting discussions about this on the cross-post at Daily Kos.


American Girl said...

Back in the day, I remember when the thing that bothered people who saw Christmas as a celebration of Christ's birth was the commercialization of the holiday. The Christians of yesteryear used to be mad that department stores exploited the holiday for material gain. Now they are POed that stores hang banners that say "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas."

If everything is so black and white for them, how come their message is so confusing?

Anonymous said...

The message isn't really confusing, American Girl. Fundamentalist Christians want EVERYONE to believe in their god and only their god. And of course, you have to believe in exactly the way they say you should. Tithing is an important expression of that belief. If you make a too big a deal about Christmas (and Christ) not being about money, you run the risk of your congregants questioning the value of the tithe. Or something like that.

Chris -- you are very photogenic. And you have a great voice for the airwaves, too. Good sound bite.