Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Who is Ben Carson?

I've been seeing a fair number of bumper stickers in my home state of Maryland that read 'Ben Carson 2016'. I have never heard of him and I finally remembered to look him up online. It turns out he's a neurosurgeon and has a website where he posts political opinion pieces (he's also appeared on Fox News...).

The very first thing I saw on his website left me shaking my head. There is a banner advertising his book that reads, "We each need to take an active role in changing the course or our nation if we are to live up to the motto 'one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.'"

Wait... so people want him to run for president and he doesn't get the motto right? That's not the motto, or even a motto at all. It's just the end portion of the most recent version of the Pledge of Allegiance.

Then I saw a story he wrote about the Navy/hotel Bible issue...
Many people in this country were shocked when the U.S. Navy recently announced the removal of all Bibles from military hotels under their control. This was in response to pressure from the Freedom From Religion Foundation, a well-known atheist group.
I know I was shocked. The Navy agreed to follow the law without too much of a fight? *gasp* Usually when it comes to Christian privilege, the status quo has been Constitution be damned.
The surprise is not the hypocritical stance of the Freedom From Religion Foundation,
Hypocritical? How?
but rather the fact that an established bulwark of American strength and patriotism caved to a self-serving group of religious fanatics.
Religious fanatics? Ben knows he's talking about atheists, right?
This last sentence may seem out of place if you don’t realize that atheism is actually a religion. Like traditional religions, atheism requires strong conviction. In the case of atheists, it’s the belief that there is no God and that all things can be proven by science.
Sigh... So people want this guy to run for president when he doesn't even know what the hell an atheist actually is. Atheism is not a religion. 
Religion (noun) the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods.
Maybe Ben missed this point, but atheists have no gods! Also, conviction doesn't matter. People have strong convictions about all kinds of things that aren't religions.

Also, atheism isn't necessarily the belief that there is no God, but the lack of belief in God. That means that you can either believe there is no God, not be sure about God, or not even be aware of  the concept of God and still be an atheist.

Finally, atheists don't have to believe all things can be proven by science. While it is true that many atheists are scientifically minded, a reliance on science is not a requirement of atheism.
It is extremely hypocritical of the foundation to request the removal of Bibles from hotel rooms on the basis of their contention that the presence of Bibles indicates that the government is choosing one religion over another.
How exactly? Because I'm not seeing it.
If they really thought about it, they would realize that removal of religious materials imposes their religion on everyone else.
No... No, it's not. The lack of Bibles does not equate to promoting atheism. What it equates to is not playing favorites. What would be hypocritical is if the FFRF was demanding that the Bibles all be replaced with books promoting atheism. So it seems that Ben also doesn't realize what hypocrisy is...
Some atheists argue that there should be a library or cachet of religious material at the check-in desk of a hotel from which any guest could order a Bible, Torah or Koran for their reading pleasure. No favoritism would be shown through such a system, and those who reject the idea of God would not have to be offended.
That would actually be a pretty great idea. Though Ben is missing the point when he mentions people being offended. He does realize this has nothing to do with offense and everything to do with the
Constitution, right?
This is like saying there shouldn’t be certain brands of bottled water in hotel rooms because there may be guests who prefer a different type of water or who are offended by bottled water and think that everybody should be drinking tap water. The logical answer to such absurdity would, of course, be that the offended individual could bring his own water or simply ignore the brand of water that he does not care for.
I seriously had to shake my head after reading that terrible attempt at an analogy. He throws in more of the same 'offense' BS as he continues to seem oblivious to the main issue here. Last time I checked, the Constitution didn't have a clause or amendment declaring that the United States government shall not establish a preference for one bottled water above all others. It does however promise not to promote one religion above all others.

So if Ben really is planning to run for president, I sure hope he bothers to try and learn the basics on issues before he goes and opens his mouth...


-Brain Hulk

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