May 12, 2009

Hate

God hates Obama
God hates Israel
God hates Jews

I was on my way home from work on Friday afternoon and passed a group of people holding large signs - red, white and blue signs as if these messages were somehow patriotic - bearing these words in large letters. They were shouting the same things as if the signs didn't clearly articulate their messages.

God hates Obama
God hates Israel
God hates Jews

And while displays like these aren't unheard of, especially in downtown DC where there are thousands of things to protest and at least one person who feels strongly enough to do so, it was somehow much worse given its location - in front of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. I was horrified, confused, saddened and vaguely pissed off.

And I have questions for these people.

  • If god is so great and almighty and powerful and holds such hatred for a group of people, why is it god hasn't wiped Obama, Israel or the Jews out entirely?
  • How self-important are you to believe that you understand god completely enough to grasp its true preferences - its hate, its love, its indifference - for groups and individuals?
  • Approximately six million European Jews were murdered by the Nazis. Double-that if you throw in the other inferiors Hitler and his pals decided to do away with. What delusional frame of mind are you operating under that justifies singling out a group of people for such vehement hatred in front of the place that marks their near-annihilation?

Freedom of speech is an incredible thing. Rarely does a day go by during which I'm not thankful for being born into a family with roots in the greatest country in the world. A country with an abundance of prosperity, freedom and possibility. A country in which there is great despair, yes, but it is far outweighed by a positive spirit, an acceptance of responsibility to do good, and a challenge to the rest of the world to achieve great things. But with that freedom comes responsibility. Like science or engineering, just because something can be done doesn't mean it should be done.

If I were to believe in god, I'd like to think that such a god truly understood the nature of a person, a god that saw the potential of a person, not just their actions or mistakes. A god who looked at an individual, not one that made snap judgments about a person based on a random sampling of those with whom he lived. I guess I expect the same thing out of people. It's easy to put a label on a group and proclaim hatred. It's harder to hate individuals. It's a cop-out to say you hate a country, a race or a faith unless you're prepared to carry a sign naming each individual man, woman or child that comprise them. Otherwise, you're just a douchebag with a sign.

Why do you believe or not believe in god? And what are the limits of free speech?

Posted by Chris at May 12, 2009 6:08 AM
Comments

I'm an agnostic. I am open to the possibility of a god; I just find it highly unlikely, mainly because of the lack of reason belief requires (inconsistent stories/doctrine, requisite hatred, conflicting messages such as love one another - but not the Jews or the gays).

On a mostly unrelated note, my daughter informed me yesterday that Obama is "Princess of the United Steaks". (We're in Canada, so I take the fact that she even knows something about international politics as a good thing.)

Posted by: SciFi Dad at May 12, 2009 7:07 AM

As for God, I'm still not really sure what I believe. I was baptized Catholic although we never went to church and still think the Catholic mass is a beautiful service. But disagree with just about everything the Catholic church says I have to believe in. So I am a lapsed Catholic who isn't sure what God is or is supposed to be.

As for freedom of speech - perhaps an IQ test must be passed for any and all public demonstrations?

Posted by: Traci at May 12, 2009 7:10 AM

Uggh I just lost my entire post.

*sigh*

I am agnostic as well, I was christened and brought up in the church but as I got older I developed the same type of thoughts on God as your first poster has. Although I do like to read about all different religions, it fascinates me.

The Westboro Baptist Church is one of the true hate mongers that infuriates me the most as they park outside funerals and spew their hate and really there is a time and a place for everything and funerals aren't appropriate, if you want to get a permit and spew your hate speech in some park, that's fine, I don't need to be there to listen to the drivel.

As far as limiting free speech, uhhh yeah I'm not for that, I don't want the government limiting my constitutional rights, I want the government out of my bedroom, not telling me where and when I can smoke (even if it's my own car), I don't even smoke and it bothers me the government sticking it's nose in where it doesn't belong. As much as I hate to see these morons spewing their hatred, I don't want rewording of the constitution to fit the needs as they see fit at this moment.

IGNORE IGNORE IGNORE!

Posted by: Dee at May 12, 2009 7:40 AM

I do believe in God but my God is a caring, accepting, non-judgmental being. I was raised Roman Catholic but now as an adult find myself drifting farther and farther away from the church as I find it to be incredibly hypocritical and cult like. I believe in living a good life, living the golden rule and to not judge others for what they choose to believe, unless they are doing harm to children, old people or animals. Then they should die a slow painful death. :)

Posted by: Lisa at May 12, 2009 8:17 AM

Someone once said : "I may not like what you have to say, but I defend absolutely your right to say it".

Personally, I believe passionately in this argument. When you begin to muzzle free speech, to pass judgement on what is acceptable and what isnt, where does it stop? How far does one take the concept of 'socially acceptable'? Socially speaking, most Americans appear to be Christian to a greater or lesser extent. The fundimentalist Christians would at least openly persecute anyone who says that they do not believe in God, if they could get away with it. Isnt it up to society to decide what is socially acceptable by either stopping to listen, or passing on by. The beauty of a free society is that you dont have to listen to what is being said. The worst crime against the democracy of the west, is the curtailment of free speech.

Having said that, I say that there is no god. There is no god of the Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus or Chinese. Did I miss anyone? Anything that is said in his/her/it's name is utter rubbish and should be treated with the contempt it deserves along with the belief in fairies, unicorns and the man in the moon. We live in an enlightened age, lets pretend that we've moved beyond the medieval culture of absolute conformity to the Church and start using our free speech. After-all, a few hundred years ago, publicly saying what I have just said would have had me burned at the stake.

My personal view is that all believers of whatever persuasion should be removed from the general population and deposited somewhere else where they can debate their theology until the cows come home. For the safety and sanity of the rest of us, ignore them, religion thrives on attention. Like the fairies of old, if religion is ignored, it often withers and dies. Time to pass judgement on what the Church(s) and those who pretend to speak for and on behalf of it say, pass on by and walk boldly into the enlightened age unburdened by man-made constructs.

Posted by: Sam Jones at May 12, 2009 8:24 AM

I'm a Christian, but I hesitate to even use that label anymore b/c of stories like this. I'm a firm believer that God is love (says so in scripture). And if we're to believe that God's word is true (which I'd venture to say these people say they believe), then that means God loves EVERYONE. Hate is not a word in God's vocabulary.
I often wonder what in themselves these people hate so much that they feel they must turn their hatred outward. I've found that most people who spew the vilest of hatred for others very much hate themselves or worse, are incredibly misguided. As hard as it is... I have to learn to love these types of people too... which, I kind of suck at.

Posted by: Corinne at May 12, 2009 8:44 AM

A holocaust is an offering to God, burned for the atonement of sin. For this reason, I detest the use of the word as a label for what the Nazis did. It does not merely imply that they acted on the orders of an authority beyond question, it formalizes that idea, ingraining it in every memory of those events.

If there is a God who would demand or even accept such an offering, I do not know him, and cannot believe that any human being would wish to.
--from the critically unacclaimed and highly unpublished novel,
But Soon It Will Be Night

Honestly, I believe in God in much the same way I believe in my cat... and I would not wish tp place limits on freedom of speech, I cannot argue against them in cases such as this.

Posted by: stacy at May 12, 2009 8:47 AM

I believe in God and the teachings of the Bible, but I do not hate any group or any one person. People have misconceptions about religion, mostly due to eccentric protestors like the ones you described. Just like any other group, you can't lump all Christian believers together (nor can you "remove us from the general population and deposit us somewhere else"). I believe in God because it is something that I was strongly pulled towards very young, and still intensly believe today. My parents have never been religious, God is a source of peace and calm I can always turn to, and I know I can do great things through He who
strenghthens me. I can't imagine what people without a relationship with God do without prayer, it is something I have always wondered. Or where I would be without a belief in something greater than myself; that when things are bleak, there is a path, a reason for this curve in the journey. Maybe that sounds weak of me, but I always have God to rely on, as He is strong.
As for free speach, there is no way I would consider limiting or censoring it in any way. Yes, your example was digusting and horrific, but as other posters have said, once you start putting limitations, where does it end? I am already concerned all branches of government are getting out of control. I would like to scale back the government's role in our lives, not increase its power.
Have a nice day.

Posted by: Tess at May 12, 2009 8:48 AM

Sam Jones -- freedom of speech, but only for people who don't believe in God? Please remember, there are plenty of people of faith who are capable of kind, compassionate, reasoned speech.

And my original point: I do believe in God, and I think it's unfortunate that people are His ambassadors on earth, because we are so bad at it so much of the time. I really believe we are made in God's image. When we act like it, it's a beautiful thing -- think Lincoln, Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. When we don't, it's horrible and ugly. Think their killers.

The people holding those hate signs were not acting on God's behalf. Call it evil, or call it Satan, it doesn't matter. Hate is not of God, ever. God is love.

Should they be free to express their hate? Sigh. I guess they should, but I do wish we could get to a place where these debates happened with the kindness, compassion, and reason I mentioned at the beginning. I doubt the people you saw today are going to have much impact on whatever their underlying problem is by shouting at passing cars.

Posted by: Julie at May 12, 2009 8:51 AM

Not that you should expose your kids to this kind of demonstration, but how fun would it be to have your family march in little circles on the other side of the street with big signs that say "My God Hates YOU!"

Or maybe the less snarky, "God hates Haters"

Posted by: Sabrina at May 12, 2009 9:01 AM

I don't believe in a higher power at this point, but I was surrounded by religion as a child. However, my children are being exposed to everything possible, so that they can make their own decisions as they mature.

I just have a serious problem accepting the writings of mortal men thousands of years ago as life-molding fact.

As for the protesters, they have a right to be assholes, unfortunately. They should be publicly flogged by naked midgets, though.

Posted by: Rebecca at May 12, 2009 9:19 AM

Oh, what the heck? I will also comment on my belief in God. I consider myself to be an agnostic, which I *think* is an often misused word. According to what I have read (admittedly, very little on the topic), many use agnostic to mean that they don't know whether there's a god or not. But if you look up agnostic in the dictionary, it's actually a belief in the inability of humans to understand god, let alone know what "He" wants from us, or to spread "His" word. So that's me.

I believe in "god" as this very abstract creator of the world. God made up the genetic code (which is pretty effing impressive), god is the reason babies smile when they are happy and cry when they are sad, god is the reason we know right from wrong. (And my god is not necessarily all-powerful, as the genetic code can break, and alas, people can be born NOT knowing right from wrong.) But my god inspires people to be good, and causes people to feel all emotions. My god gave us the gift of empathy.

Further, I would just like to spout off on one more item about which I feel PASSIONATE! Why do people insist upon distinguishing creation from evolution?!?!?! Why could god/God (whatever your persuasion) have not said, "BANG!" and created the first spark of life (according to most biologists AND the bible, happened in dirt or mud) which gave rise to everything on this Earth over the span of billions of years? Even in the bible (which, I mean, REALLY, grain of salt, anyone??) it says that a thousand years is to one day, blah blah blah. So whoever wrote that had enough poetic sense to point out that "seven days" weren't really relative to any concept of time. My god created the trees, the rivers, the mountains (carved of course by rivers and moving plates of Earth's crust), and the dizzying number of species ever present on Earth. In what world is this theory at odds with the theory of evolution?!?!?!!? The evolution of species (HUMANS!) is one of the most amazing, beautiful, and powerful forces in science. It has to be overseen by someone, *something*, with an unbelievable sense of what could or should work, with the big picture, with some pretty amazing managerial skills. I wouldn't credit this kind of accomplishment to anyone BUT god.

Posted by: Sabrina at May 12, 2009 9:30 AM

There is no limit to free speech. Ever. I learn as much or more from ugly demonstrations such as that as I do from those I agree with. I consider those groups to be the inflamed, ugly pimple on the butt of society. They will happen, but are best ignored until they go away, not picked at. And I think I best leave that analogy alone now.

As for god, I consider myself to be 99% athiest. (I leave 1% margin for error, but I tend to believe that 1% might be a universal energy versus a thinking/creating god.) When I talk with believers about why they believe and I don't, I tend to realize a major underlying difference. When bad things happen, believers find comfort in the notion that this is all part of a grand plan that we just don't comprehend fully. But I find comfort in the belief that it is all random. I'd prefer to believe that children and innocents are suffering because terrible things and terrible people sometimes just happen versus believing that they are overlooked by a god who is too busy doing his nails or enacting vengeance. I think my way allows more room for solutions. But that's just me. I'm respectful of all attempts to believe in anything, because what do I know?

Posted by: Alias Mother at May 12, 2009 9:35 AM

I am continually on the fence re: god. I jive more with Jesus, but less as a divine being in human form and more as a teacher. Some of the more basic concepts of the NT (love, compassion, mercy, humility, generosity, peace -- all that hippie shit) are some of my favorites and those I certainly attempt to live by as a decent human being. I have been hesitant lately to call myself a Christian. I am *trying* to get into Quakerism because Quakers are all about peace and light and stuff. I'm saddened when people say 'god hates x group' and then go on and on about how Christian they are and how god is good and blah blah blah. I know a few people like that and it just infuriates me. They talk about how Christian they are, how awwwwesome god is, and then have a complete disregard for anyone who thinks differently from them. Argh.

As far as freedom of speech goes, as with any freedom or right, it doesn't give anyone permission to be hateful or cruel. I think there's a lot of personal responsibility as far as freedom of speech is concerned. Just because you CAN do something doesn't mean that you should (shit, I sound like Glenn Beck).

I'm rambling and making no sense. Sorry!

Posted by: Sparkle Pants at May 12, 2009 10:03 AM

I'll cop out and claim Agnostic because I really don't know what to say about god today.

However, regarding free speech, I think if there is any benefit to allowing such idiocy, it is to remind us of our learned lessons of hatred and intolerance. If we forget, we can't grow.

Those people and their signs are gut-wrenching awful today. Did they affect us so much 50 years ago? 100? I don't think so... and that's a sign of progress, growth, evolution.

Posted by: Brad at May 12, 2009 10:11 AM

Is there a God? In my opinion, yes. Otherwise I would not still be alive. Medical science didn't belive I'd live through the night the day I was born...I'm still here almost 39 years later. Someone wants me here....Also, not a devout Catholic, but I am still a practicing Catholic on some levels. there are a lot of things about the church I don't agree with, so I mostly follow the Bible.

Freedom of speech--there should be no limits on freedom of speech except one...I believe (and don't quote the wording) that the Constitution privileges all of these rights to be self-evident as long as they don't infringe on the rights of others. The location of the protest seems as it would be infringing on the happiness of some....

Posted by: Krush at May 12, 2009 10:12 AM

Is there a God? In my opinion, yes. Otherwise I would not still be alive. Medical science didn't belive I'd live through the night the day I was born...I'm still here almost 39 years later. Someone wants me here....Also, not a devout Catholic, but I am still a practicing Catholic on some levels. there are a lot of things about the church I don't agree with, so I mostly follow the Bible.

Freedom of speech--there should be no limits on freedom of speech except one...I believe (and don't quote the wording) that the Constitution privileges all of these rights to be self-evident as long as they don't infringe on the rights of others. The location of the protest seems as it would be infringing on the happiness of some....

Posted by: Krush at May 12, 2009 10:12 AM

Good point about naming names. I doubt any of those people would actually have the guts to go up to an individual and say "I hate you." It's much easier to focus your rage on group, which can't punch you back. Sad that these hatreds persist in this day and age.

I don't believe in God. I used to, strongly, but suddenly lost my faith one day. It has been the worst experience of my life. I still have the same ethics to guide me (when I'm good) day to day. The God thing is just the realization that when I die, it's over. Bummer.

Posted by: LauraC at May 12, 2009 10:19 AM

I believe because it's always made sense to me, even before I was ever handed anything involving religion. Over years spent questioning and doubting, my belief has gotten stronger along with my aversion to organized religion, a collective element that seems keen on interpreting things in ways that support their specific agenda(s) (much like the original biblical translators did in the first and second centuries). From a scientific standpoint, only the most narrow of minds can look at how things work on a molecular level and assume that it's all that way just by chance. The scientific argument used by atheists to justify their unbelief is rooted in the big bang theory, which says that there was this singular event that resulted in the creation of the atoms and their subsequent formation of matter. What they leave out is how improbable it is to imagine that a carbon atom was formed with four bonds in the precise configuration necessary to eventually be the foundation for life. To believe such a thing takes as much or more faith than it does to believe in God.

As for freedom of speech, you can't be selective with the freedom, so it's bound to be abused by the lunatic fringe. They only advertise their own ignorance. It really only hurts those who base their self-worth or -image on what other people think, which is an awful idea anyhow.

Posted by: You can call me, 'Sir' at May 12, 2009 10:19 AM

"Sam Jones -- freedom of speech, but only for people who don't believe in God? Please remember, there are plenty of people of faith who are capable of kind, compassionate, reasoned speech."

Oh no. Believers can say what they like, but when they start trying to force the rest of the world into doing what they want, that's where I say they should be ignored or something else apropriate. Americans (and my own misguided government) have made much of the Muslim threat, taken us to war over it, condemned hundreds to fight and die in the name of 'prevention of terrorism' but there is an even greater and perhaps more insidious threat to the western world. It is the people who say, my god is loving and compassionate and your's isnt. American fundimentalist Christians are just as much to blame for our present situation as the medieval Muslim theocracies. The problem is, that fundimentalist christians cant seem to see that their beliefs are just as warped as the opposition. How silly for the rest of us to die in an utterly useless struggle for the concept of a supernatural being that doesnt even exist. What upsets me the most is the utter waste of life in the name of religion, the horrors that have been perpetrated by people who claim to have a direct line to Gods' RSS feed but in fact are only interested in their own self agrandisment or personal greed. Christians as a loving and tolerant religious sect is in fact a very new idea and frankly a false one. Up until a few hundred years ago, I would and could have been burned for even suggesting that God doesnt exist. Some of the finest minds in the west were tortured, executed, persecuted and villified for daring to suggest that contrary to chuch doctrine, the earth actually orbits the sun, something the Muslims have known for quite some time by the way. Within living memory and continuing to the present day, people are routinely burned at the stake in certain African countries because of fundimentalist Christian belief often imported by American Baptist missionaries. I have read and heard anecdotal evidence that most athiest Americans dare not voice such opinions in public for fear of blatant descrimination. Believers in religion as a general rule are far from tolerant and given the least opportunity, will force their beliefs onto the rest of the general populace given the chance. What I am saying is, it's about time we stopped listening. It's about time the Church (any church, I'm not partisan) was told that their mythology is just that, mythology, an interesting alegorical tale with no basis in fact. That's free speech. The right to tell a former authority that we no-longer blindly submit.

Posted by: Sam Jones at May 12, 2009 10:24 AM

There is not much that I find useful about organized religion. It is rife with intolerance, judgment, bigotry and fear-based adherence.
It's a shame that some people choose to use their freedom of speech to promote hate and discontent. I wonder how Jesus or Mohammad or Buddha or Ghandi would feel about people behaving badly in defense of their dogma.

Posted by: Wack-a-do at May 12, 2009 10:42 AM

I do not believe in god, but I do strongly believe in free speech. Even so, I think that there are ethics to be followed when practicing free speech, and that situations such as those you describe are in violation. It doesn't mean I'm going to stop you, but I am going to think badly of you if you cross that line into hate speech. I think that hate speech is a lot more damaging to the group doing the hating than to the group they hate. They are only doing themselves a disservice. I say let them.

Posted by: heels at May 12, 2009 11:50 AM

I believe God and the reason is because of faith. Please don't judge other beilevers/Christians by the wack jobs you saw on the side of the street.

Posted by: sw at May 12, 2009 12:02 PM

I am a Jewish atheist. Nice oxymoron there hey? I do not believe in God and my son was most definitely not circumsised. I do not observe religious days and I married a fellow atheist.

However, my grandparents escaped Nazi Poland while _every member_ of their families were killed in camps. My uncles, while from different European countries all lost family the same way.

Screw free speech when it is all about hate. I know nothing of the American Constitution, but I hope like hell this "free speech" is NOT protected by it. I can't imagine anyone who has been affected by genocide, wanting to support peoples' rights to openly espouse racist views, no matter how democratic the society is they live in.

Posted by: Jacqueline at May 12, 2009 12:08 PM

I have a hard time with this one. Coming from a Jewish family who escaped Poland in 1939, I want to go and throw something at those sign holders. I want them to hear what it was like for my family; for my grandfather at six years old to leave everything he knows, because his dad had been killed for his religious beliefs. I want them to know what it is like to only know the names of three family members in the older generation, because the rest of them stayed behind and didn't make it out alive. To make them watch the people who tell their stories, to listen to what was done to their families. I want to force them to walk into the museum behind them and learn to be humans. To see what was done and see the hatred and hopefully come out a better person.

But it's not that easy. And I'm not that stupid.

Everyone is entitled to their beliefs. Freedom of speech is a broad thing. As much as it pains me to say this, those idiots do have the right to their beliefs. Freedom means freedom for all, even those too dumb to know what it really means. But I hope, if there is a heaven (did you ever see that Meryl Streep movie about it?) that they are forced to go back and start over, because of their hatefulness.

Posted by: Issa at May 12, 2009 12:37 PM

You knew I would comment on this one!

I do believe in God, evidence has led me to that conclusion. My God is not the Fred Phelps god that gets so much media attention. Their group causes more damage to the Christian church than anything. While I love freedom of speech, there has to be a way to stop it from becoming purely hateful, without taking that freedom away. I don't know what that is, but it has to be there somewhere!

Posted by: Jeff A at May 12, 2009 1:03 PM

God or no God, there will never be a shortage of lunatics.

I'm sorry that their message bothered you so much. I'm all for freedom of speech because I don't believe that speech itself is the danger. We have the choice of determining which pieces of what we hear are allowed to take root in our minds and affect us emotionally. Sometimes that choice is harder than others.

To answer your other question, I do believe in God and I don't believe he is capable of "hate," simply because of who/what he is. Rather, I view things like "hate" as the ABSENCE of God, regardless of what people label themselves.

Posted by: Amy at May 12, 2009 1:18 PM

You're so cute when you get all innocent and "can't-we-all-just-get-along?" ;-) Makes me wish I hadn't turned into such a jaded old boot.

Stupid bigots aren't restricted to religious stupid bigots. They just have made up a convenient crutch to lean their bigotry on.

To answer your question: I Don't Know. The best of my information is that there isn't anything out there. But 100 years ago, the best of my information would have been that an ear infection was a death sentence. 1000 years before that (or so) I would have had holes drilled in my head for a headache, so maybe 1100 years from now, we might be ready for more information, or 10,000. Or not at all. But doesn't change the fact that there are things I can't possibly comprehend that are what they are.

What gets me *extremely* insanely pissed off are those that say they are 100% certain one way OR the other. Like these "protesters". Because there is no way that you can tell me you know *any* better than I. Except circular logic, which I reject. Saying "I believe in God" is one thing. Saying "I believe that God thinks you're an idiot and wants you dead, so I'm going to do His bidding" is entirely a different matter.

The line for free speech? That's not so clear to me. I could easily say "when it hurts people". But what if you are speaking out against the Nazis? That possibly hurts them - but for a greater benefit. I'm in favour of speech which hurt stupid bigots. But I get to define "stupid bigot". I'm pretty sure there are a lot of stupid bigots that don't want me to be the judge of that. That very slippery slope is what the stupid bigots dig their heels into. It makes me sad. And jaded. Which makes me sadder.

Posted by: harmzie at May 12, 2009 1:24 PM

I am a Christian and proudly so, but when I see or hear that type of hate being spewed in the name of Christianity it embarasses me and the millions of other Christians out there who don't feel that way. Religion can be a wonderful thing but it is very bothersome to me how Christianity is being used to justify some very hateful behavior. There is a Mark Twain quote that says "If Jesus were here today there is one thing he would not be -- a Christian." I think so many on the right use God as something exclusive to their party and really it does religion a great disservice to have these types of people representing a religion whose majority does not feel this way. As far as free speech goes...just because you have the right to do something, doesn't make it the right thing to do.

Posted by: Sarah at May 12, 2009 2:04 PM

If you create the cactus church (would have to drop "rude" for these purposes), I'd love to join. General compassion and the willingness to view things from other perspectives is what keeps me from closely aligning with the church I was raised in.

Posted by: sarah at May 12, 2009 3:06 PM

God/Tao/universal intelligence higher than myself: absolutely.

Religion: absolutely not.

Hate of any kind for any reason towards anyone has nothing to do with god or anything spiritual.

People spewing crap nonsense like that are providing an opportunity for others to not take things personally. Either that or they are just looking for reaction and attention.

Best to just ignore it and feel sorry for them for being so ugly inside.

Posted by: jessica at May 12, 2009 4:09 PM

I'm a Christian, and I think that happened chiefly because my folks sent me to a private, Christian school for K-8. In my later life, people and events have reaffirmed that faith. I am not anti-gay, I vote liberal, Jews are some of my best friends, and I'm married to an atheist. I do not consider the latter to be a badge of merit or anything. He was kind of a deist when we were dating and after the wedding, sproing! he was an atheist. Bummer. But, I believe God can change hearts, so I try to live like Christ lived (and, like others, kind of suck at it, a lot) and maybe set an example for him, although I don't have a lot of hope that things will ever change.

I believe that God hates actions/behaviors, not people. Not Obama, not Jews, not "fags". I believe Jesus would be ashamed that some of these people call themselves Christians and express hate in his name.

I don't think we should put limits on free speech. I don't think that's an America I want to live in. I also don't want to live in a theocracy controlled by Christians.

Posted by: Brooke at May 12, 2009 4:14 PM

I believe in God because it's very comforting to know there is something larger out there. I grew up Lutheran, and I'm proud of this heritage. Since I have lost most of my family, I find that anything of comfort, whether belief in God or the weekly singing of Lutheran liturgy, is needed for my life.

Posted by: Heather at May 12, 2009 4:52 PM

That just sucks. People are so awful sometimes, it breaks my heart.
There are references in the Bible to things God hates, but I can't remember them all right now. (Christian fail. :P ) BUT. I remember they are things like a lying tongue, a prideful heart - things that are action-based...along the lines of the idea, "love the sinner, hate the sin" (which I know some people soapbox on and screw up, but really...) God does not HATE people!!! That's so completely contrary and ridiculous.
And God hates Jews? That's utterly absurd. "Chosen people" anyone? GAH.
And God loves Obama just as much as He loves YOUR sorry protesting butt, but guess who's breaking God's heart today with their craptastic attitude?
Gr.
(Um, hi. This makes me ranty.)

Posted by: Heather at May 12, 2009 7:13 PM

I do in fact believe in God. I do not believe in religion nor do I believe in the bible. I come from the idea that we are are basically assholes with opinions (not facts.) I pray nightly, I have my own style for giving thanks, it is a personal thing that works for me. Key word being personal.

I do not like extremists on either end, and to argue with an ignorance is pointless and a waste of time. Free speech.......Beautiful, but it would be nice to occasionally duct tape some peoples mouth shut.

Posted by: Shannon at May 12, 2009 8:07 PM

Oh I have so much I want to say here, but I need some time to wrap my brain around the HATE that people seem justified in spewing in God's name. I don't get it. But here's a hint as to how I feel: God is not limiting and God does not Hate. In fact, I think that believing God is capable of Hate proves you're missing the point entirely. Not that I claim to understand the point, but I strongly believe that I can believe God does not Hate. "My" God (and by "my" I mean "everyone's") is not Vengeful, whether they realize it or not. And lucky for them, eh?

Posted by: chatty cricket at May 12, 2009 8:38 PM

When I went to medical school and learned about the intricacies of the human body - it washed away all doubts that there might not be a God. We must have a Creator. There are more details making our bodies work than I can even begin to fathom. I spent hundreds of hours studying the intricacies of specific types of cells.

I believe in the God of the Bible. I believe in a God who represents the love of 1 Corinthians 13. You've probably heard it at weddings. (Here's a paraphrased translation of what I mean).

God is patient. God is kind. God does not envy or boast. He is not rude or proud. He is not self-seeking. God does not rejoice in evil but delights in the truth. He always protects, always hopes, always perseveres.

God never fails.

Posted by: citystreams at May 12, 2009 10:00 PM

I apologize up front for the long post.

I believe in God, with a capital “G”. I’ve read the science as much as anybody has, and given how ordered the universe is and the complex mechanisms of life, I find it completely unreasonable that our origins are random. There are so many holes, gaps, and unanswered questions in science that science has become our new religion. Issues such as the cause of the big bang, multiple universes, or the “spark” that caused life cannot be proven, and the naturalist as well as the creationist accepts their own answers based on (dare I say it) faith.

I believe in Jesus Christ and His redemption of mankind on the Cross. God had a dilemma: how do you balance being holy and just against compassion and mercy? We expect God to punish injustice but at the same time be forgiving and love us unconditionally. Enter Jesus Christ, who willingly laid his life down and accepted the justice that was meant for us, because none of us have lived a perfect life, or is capable of living a perfect life.

I do not believe in karma or “living a good life.” Who decides what life is good? What curve does God grade on? What happens when bad things happen to “good” people? Are their lives not “good enough”? Is there any hope for me if I know I haven’t lived a good life? Or maybe no one is really “good” then? For me, this is where the grace of Christ comes in. He provides an answer to all of these questions. I am forgiven for what I have done, and I don’t have to worry about my life being “good enough” because Christ has paid the price for me.

As far as free speech goes, speech should be protected no matter what. The whole point of “free” speech is not to protect speech you agree with, but protect speech you disagree with. If all speech isn’t protected, than who decides what speech is acceptable, and what gives them that right?

I find it interesting (and sad) that everyone here seems to be assuming that this group of protesters was Christian. Chris didn’t mention what group the protesters belonged to, and I found no information about this protest on the web. Given that pretty much all mainstream Christian denominations support Israel, I find it hard to believe these protesters are Christian. If they claim to be “Christian” they are obviously not following the teachings and example of Christ. However, unfortunately there is plenty of intolerance on all sides, not just one.

Posted by: Drew at May 13, 2009 6:41 AM

I believe in God because I find His existence to be undeniable upon close inspection but the 'why' discussion of that is much too long for a comments section. I also believe that God is a God of grace and mercy so I find those signs offensive as well. That isn't God. God hates evil, not people.

I think it was the writer Anne Lamott who said "You can safely assume you have created God in your own image when He hates all the same people you do".

Posted by: Cat at May 13, 2009 2:12 PM

I don't believe in god for a multitude of reasons. Far too many to go into in a comments section.

However, I will say that it is my belief that religions (of any form) have caused far more misunderstanding, hatred and cruelty than they have sparked any good, sympathy or cooperation in the world. And I believe that to be true on a local, national and global level.

Posted by: Mandy at May 15, 2009 2:36 AM

I don't believe in god, but I'm not above smiting an idiot or two.

Posted by: Whit at May 26, 2009 1:54 AM

Following my exploration, billions of people in the world get the home loans at various banks. Thus, there's a good possibility to find a auto loan in every country.

Posted by: MorenoMERLE at May 18, 2010 6:09 AM


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