Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Guest Blogger Commentary: The 2011 NYCA Year-End Awards

Jane Everhart
*By Jane Everhart
Last year we began a new annual custom, namely: a tongue-in-cheek skewering of various elements in our society for doing some mighty dim-witted things. This year, we continue our dissidence even though the continued proliferation of dimwittedness shows that we have had no effect whatsoever.
The Bernie Madoff Long-Term Ponzi Scheme Award: To Pope Benedict XVI (otherwise known as Joe Ratzinger) for conducting a bigger, older and better Ponzi scheme than Bernie could ever have imagined: In the pontiff’s game, he gives no interest whatsoever to those who give him money--until they are dead. Then they get their reward in heaven. No one has ever come back to complain that they expected a bigger yield. Meanwhile, Bernie, not so imaginative, languishes in jail.
The Lourdes Award for Best Shrine Find of the Year That Wasn’t on Toast: To the Ground Zero worker who found a piece of steel beam wreckage in the 9/11 debris, stood it upright to resemble a cross, dubbed it a miracle, and triggered a church-load of believers to kneel and pray before it. The award also goes to the Franciscan Friar Rev. Brian Jordan, who subsequently adopted the so-called “Miracle cross” and has said he sees the steel beam as a “message” from god.
The Charlie Sheen Self-Deluded “Winning!” Award: To Rev. Brian Jordan of St. Peter’s Church near Ground Zero in Manhattan for asserting to the New York Times that NYCA and American Atheists Inc. will most certainly lose their suit to have the Miracle Cross removed from the 9/11 Museum because the lawsuit constitutes--we quote exactly--“the bizarre ramblings of angry minds.” In contrast, Jordan’s “blessing” of the piece of the debris he calls a cross, in which he says, “Give praise to our redeemer, god the son, who was fully human and fully divine and died for our sins and rose from death for our salvation...” is, of course, NOT a “bizarre rambling.”
The George Bush Snoozing-Through-College Award: To TV host Bill O’Reilly of the CNN political commentary program The O’Reilly Factor, for his on-camera comment to David Silverman of American Atheists, evidently to prove that there is a god, “The tide goes in, the tide goes out, but who knows what causes it? ” Well, actually, Bill, quite a lot of people know what causes it. And for a guy who attended Marist College, spent his junior year abroad at the University of London, taught school for a while and then got a Masters in journalism from Boston University as well as a Master’s from Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government--and STILL does not know what causes the tides, either BU and Harvard need to rethink their curricula or else it just goes to show that just because you went to college doesn’t mean you know anything.
The Choctaw Code Talker Award: To god, who has apparently chosen to send cryptic messages to believers via rubble from a fallen skyscraper, proving once and for all that He is not all-knowing, or He could have picked a better way to communicate. The question remains, what exactly was god’s message via that rusty piece of junk? “Do not work on the 90th floor of any building?” “Send all donations to St. Peter’s church?”
The Neville Chamberlain Peace at Any Price Award: To Susan Jacoby and TV comedian Jon Stewart for backing placement of the so-called “Miracle cross” in the 9/ll museum so the feelings of the faithful will not be hurt. Chamberlain lived to regret his appeasement of Hitler; will Jon & Susan do the same and live to regret they that they turned their backs on the U.S. Constitution? Meanwhile, the Templeton Foundation, purveyors of money and kudos to those who favor appeasing religious folk (otherwise known as accommodationists) are celebrating that they are getting Jacoby and Stewart for free.
The Alice in Wonderland Mad-Hatter Award: To the U.S. House of Representatives, who voted, 396 to 9, to “reaffirm” that the national motto of the U.S. is, still, “In god we trust.” At a time when our economy is failing, people can’t pay their mortgages, homes are being foreclosed, our Representatives, like the Dormouse in Alice in Wonderland, suddenly wake up from their deep slumber just long enough to cry out “in god we trust!” and then fall back into their Tea Party snooze. Off with their heads!
The Oscar Wilde Unintentional Comedic Twists Award: To American Atheists, whose otherwise exemplary billboards have been successfully shouting our god-free message for more than a year, a cautionary note about the time-sensitive statements on the bottom of these huge billboards: “Reasonable since 1963,” “Telling the truth since 1963,” and “Right since 1963.” What, before 1963, Atheists were NOT reasonable, truthful or right?
The Sometimes-Even-a-Blind-Sow-Finds-an-Acorn Award: To the evangelical fundamentalists who picketed in front of the Embassy Suites Hotel in Downtown Des Moines while American Atheists Inc. was having its 2011 convention there. Among the placard messages the fundies carried were “If Ur [sic] Faith Is Big Enough, Facts Don’t Count” and “There are No Atheists in Hell.” Unlike most Fundie placards, both sentiments are essentially true. Facts are lost on true believers-and, since there is no hell, no Atheists will ever be found there.
The Redneck Boys-Will-Be-Boys Award: To the American Atheist men who bounced around balloons shaped like male genitalia at the final session of the last AA convention. Boys may be boys, guys, but with YouTube, your peccadilloes go down in history for posterity.
The Wizard of Oz You Can’t Fool Everybody All the Time Award: To the state of Utah for declaring that the commemorative crosses it put up by the side of a public highway to honor its fallen state troopers, were really “not religious” but rather---(drum roll, please) “a secular symbol of peace and death.” Luckily, the courts weren’t fooled by that little whopper. The 10th Circuit Court of Appeal said, uh, wait a minute, last we looked, that symbol of peace and death was on top of every Christian church in the state. American Atheists won its suit.
*Paleolibrarian Guest Blogger, Ms. Jane Everhart is Communications Director of New York City Atheists, a non-profit educational organization located in Manhattan which is an affiliate of American Atheists. This article appeared recently in NYCA's monthly newsletter to members. It is reprinted with permission from the author.

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