Archive for the Public Service Announcments Category

A Call to Inaction

Posted in Public Service Announcments, Reflections on September 27, 2012 by Justin S. Smith

This has been a year of protests and counter protests. On February 14th anti-gun activists scheduled a boycott of Starbucks because of the company’s refusal to post signs banning guns in their coffee bars. Then there was the Chik-fil-a boycott and the Chik-fil-a appreciation day. And of course the occupy movement. Recently we’ve seen violent uprisings in some countries over an anti-Islamic internet video followed by demonstrations by peaceful Muslims in the same country holding pro-American and anti-violence signs. From what I can tell, Blasphemy day, which has been “celebrated” by atheists since 2009 is getting a resurgence this year because of the violence.

If you looked at the link, you would see that International blasphemy day is every year on September 30th. Somehow, I’ve been blessed to be blissfully unaware of this. The date was selected to coincide with the anniversary of  the publication of satirical cartoons of Mohammed in a Denmark newspaper. To me, that sounds like protest not celebration and the resurgence this year in light of religious unrest smacks even more of protest, but I’m not writing to try to convince Atheists against protesting or celebrating their “holiday” (the word holiday is incorrectly used on the wikipedia link above, it does not appear on any Blasphemy Day pages I’ve seen; I use it for ironic humor based on the etymology of the word.)

My real reason for writing is for my religious friends. On September 30th, if you have atheist friends on Facebook or other social media, they will probably be posting stuff that you and I both find offensive. Whereas Justin Trottier (quoted in the link) states “We’re not seeking to offend, but if in the course of dialogue and debate, people become offended, that’s not an issue for us. There is no human right not to be offended.”  one of my atheist friends sees it differently: “I believe the only way to end violent responses to supposed offenses to Islam is to shower the religion with blasphemy – numb those who align themselves with violence to the blasphemy so they no longer have the energy to threaten the world.” Though the original intent and this years resurgence both have to do with Islamic extremist responses, don’t think the rest of the religions are safe: (from the same conversation with my friend) “Doing this for all religions and spiritual beliefs is just being fair.”

So what should we do on International Blasphemy Day? Well, if your a Christian, you should go to church (it is a Sunday) and you should pray specifically for atheists that you know.  Secondly you should remember that expecting an atheist to behave in a Christian manner is like asking a toddler to act like an adult. Not because I’m calling atheists childish, but because as hard as it is for Christians to act Christian, expecting a non-Christian to do so is foolishness. I think this actually goes to the core of the issue for Atheists as shown in the picture below that was the post that started the conversation with my friend.

My biggest issue with Blasphemy Day is not Atheists acting like Atheists, I expect that. My issue is, I don’t think dedicating a day to offending people adds value to the conversation about free speech. I think it’s irrational and I tried to express that to my friend. *note below

As for avoiding this offense, if you can’t tolerate Atheists behaving like Atheists, you probably don’t have any on your Facebook friends list, but if you do either don’t go on Facebook that day or temporarily block your atheist friends that day but don’t rage against their blasphemy. Adding your reactionary anger to their reactionary “holiday” will not help. That’s my call to inaction. If you can’t stomach it without reacting, find a way to avoid it. Do not fuel it.

As for my Atheist friends, Facebook is a party and I know who I’m at the party with. You expressing yourself will not get any response from me unless you bring it to my house (wall.) If you take the time to go to my wall to post blasphemy as an expression of your free speech, it will be no more tolerated than if you came into my house to do so. I will consider it personal at that point.

That’s it on this topic for now. Don’t forget to post questions for my previous post. You know you want to.

– J.S.S.

*Through undercover research I have found that one of the most popular discussion groups at Atheist Summer Camp is “When your friend who has an imaginary friend tries to convince you to behave rationally.

Epidemicish

Posted in Public Service Announcments with tags , , on December 18, 2009 by Justin S. Smith

Ladies and Gentlemen, we have an epidemic on our hands. Ok, possibly not an epidemic, but definitely a great danger. Well, no one is going to die or even get injured. But we should definitely be concerned. Deeply concerned. I should just tell you what I’m talking about and let you draw your own conclusions.

A few days ago I wrote an open letter to a woman I have dubbed “Grandma Smurf,” a little old lady I spotted at Wal-Mart with frighteningly blue hair (not the typical, chemical rinse blue; Marge Simpson blue.) By herself she is a singular and humorous anomaly. However, I have now spotted, at the same Wal-Mart, another older woman, this one with lime-green locks. Whereas Grandma Smurf had all of the appearance of a normal woman her age (excepting her ferocious, blue hair,) this second woman had a long, stringy, grunge-like do going and was wearing a black and white flannel shirt. I have therefore issued her the code-name “Nirvana Lime.”  

This second sighting has led me to the conclusion that we are at risk of an epidemic of senior citizens* with wildly colored hair running amok and wreaking havoc. Having not yet heard reports of any sightings outside of Midland, TX (or outside of the north side Wal-Mart) I am still calling this an epidemic not a pandemic. Also, pandemics are a little too trendy for us here at the Fringe, so we will be avoiding this upgrade barring reports from several states (excluding California and New York City where this type of sighting might be expected (other portions of New York state will be counted)) and at least one foreign country (Canada doesn’t count.)

Please, update us with any further sightings in or outside of the Midland area of unnatural colored hair on senior citizens. Snap a picture if you can. Although both ladies sighted seemed to be otherwise acting within the realms of normal, the chance of mental instability should not ignored. Thoughts from the Fringe cannot be held liable for any harm that may come to you as a result of interaction with the above mentioned or any other symptomatic people. Initiate contact at your own risk. If you do see Grandma Smurf, Nirvana Lime or any other person that seems to likewise afflicted, and you do speak with them, tell them to visit Thoughts from the Fringe so that we might learn more about this condition.

I recognize the possibility that both sightings in one localized area could be the result of a retirement village hair dresser that “drinks a little” at work. By “drinks a little”, I of course mean that she imbibes gallons of hard liquor while dropping acid before plying her trade. Although this possibility is noted and therefore could make this epidemic speak excessive, it is still an issue that should be addressed before anyone else is victimized.

*Note: although only symptomatic females have been spotted, I do not think the possibility of males being affected should be ignored or otherwise discounted.-J.S.S