Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Dead Milkmen Versus Roy Moore

While this isn't exactly a big or particularly important news story, I'm posting it because I happen to be a huge Dead Milkmen fan. The band broke up in 1995, reunited in 2008, and is currently touring. Their satirical songs are brilliantly hilarious, and in recent comments made at a show in Alabama they mocked "Ten Commandments Judge" Roy Moore with a very Augoeides-like pronouncement.

The conservative judge was previously removed from the same position for refusing to move a Ten Commandments monument from a government building, and he has recently attempted to dodge federal law ordering the state to allow same-sex marriages to proceed.

“Now Judge Roy Moore, he doesn’t like gays, but he sure does like Ten Commandment displays,” sang frontman Rodney Linderman. “But there’s one thing Judge Roy don’t know: The 11th commandment is, ‘Don’t be an asshole.’”

Well, it's not, but it sure should be. In the ongoing debate between believers and non-believers, and between members of majority and minority religions, this is really the main principle that all sides should follow. There's nothing wrong with questioning religion or questioning atheism, or criticizing aspects of particular beliefs, so long as you refrain from being a dick. That's really all there is to it.

The trouble is that particularly with extreme fundamentalists like Moore, it's pretty difficult to evangelize without being dickish - basically, the point you have to make is that you're right and whoever you're engaging is at best wrong and at worst unspeakably evil. "New Atheists" may come off as jerks a lot of the time, but much of what they're really doing is just turning that tactic on its head to emphasize how annoying it is.

Moore is particularly obnoxious because he's a Poor Oppressed Christian with actual political power - he currently serves as Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. And like the rest of his Poor Oppressed brethren, he seems to lack the cognitive capacity to distinguish between exercising his own religious rights and preventing others from doing the same. None of his religion's alleged opponents want to prevent him from exercising his faith, they just want equal space to live as they see fit.

As often seems to be the case, the world would be a much better place if everyone, especially fundamentalists of every stripe, could follow a principle even more basic than the Dead Milkmen's eleventh commandment - "Mind your own business!"

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I. A. E. said...

I'm extremely fortunate that most of the people I deal with on a regular basis - mainly various family members and friends - tend to follow a 'mind your own business' policy. Whether this is because of wildly varying religious and/or political beliefs, or the use of slightly-illegal substances among certain of my friends, it's a policy that makes everyone happy; the only problem is that the occasional fundamentalist I do run into seems that much more annoying in comparison.

Scott Stenwick said...

With me and my friends that tends to be the rule as well. It just makes the most sense, especially with things that have no effect on you. I just wish more people out there would see the world that way.