Atheists come to the Tea Party … 31

… and are snubbed by Godists. 

Walter Hudson writes an article about this, telling the religious members who object to atheists joining them, why they are wrong:

It began without controversy. At a routine board meeting of the North Star Tea Party Patriots (NSTPP), a coalition of activist groups in Minnesota which this author chairs, a vote was taken to admit a new member organization. The new group was the Minnesota Objectivist Association (MOA) which advocates the philosophy of Ayn Rand …  Though not a Tea Party organization in name, MOA was nonetheless supportive of the movement’s mission and principles. Signs reading “Who is John Galt?” in reference to Rand’s novel [Atlas Shrugged] had been a staple at Tea Party rallies since the movement began.

Within days, word got around to the broader NSTPP membership that MOA had been admitted. Pushback began. Some complained that MOA did not have “Tea Party” in their name. Others noted that MOA was not listed on Tea Party Patriots’ national directory. The concern over these relatively minor points seemed disproportionate. Provision had been made in the NSTPP constitution to include organizations which predated the Tea Party movement yet sought the same ends. A group without “Tea Party” in its name had been admitted before.

After some beating around the bush, the crux of the matter emerged. Ayn Rand was an atheist, and her philosophy of Objectivism did not acknowledge the existence of God. Thus was alleged an irreconcilable difference between the Tea Party and Ayn Rand.

As the controversy progressed, MOA ultimately withdrew from the coalition, citing the episode as a needless distraction to all parties concerned. Precluding debate left some important questions unresolved. What role does religion play within the Tea Party? Must one be a theist in order to be philosophically aligned with the movement?

These questions are important because their answers define what the movement is really about. Is it solely an effort to affect fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government, and free markets? Or is it something more which goes unsaid? Is the movement on a mission from God? Or are its principles applicable to the religious and the non-religious alike? The answers to those questions could affect the integrity of the movement. …

Unfortunately, attacks upon religious expression by a relentless secular minority have placed many religious people on the defensive.

While we appreciate Walter Hudson’s intention, we interrupt him here to murmur  that complaints about crosses in public places and “the ten commandments” being displayed on the walls of government and judicial buildings, or grumbles about public prayer, are not “relentless” as the Inquisition and Witch Trials of the religious once were, or the jihad is now.

The result is an inherent suspicion of anyone without faith, the assumption that atheists are necessarily antagonistic toward religion, or worse – inherently anti-American.

Speaking for ourselves, we are antagonistic towards religion, though not aggressive towards religious people – unless in self-defense.

But inherently anti-American, atheism is not. Patriotism and atheism do not have any bearing on each other. There is nothing about atheism that makes it necessarily anti anything except religion.

As Hudson rightly says –

Nothing could be further from the truth. Ayn Rand is perhaps the best example of an atheist whose unrelenting Americanism has been established beyond question. Rand was an anti-communist long before it was cool. More than that, she escaped the Soviet Union and took great effort under blistering criticism to warn Americans about the horrors behind the Iron Curtain. Her first book, We the Living, was panned by critics who claimed she didn’t understand the noble Soviet experiment. Aversion to Objectivism among religious conservatives seems to ignore this history, along with Rand’s fundamental arguments.

It is popular among theists to assert that belief in God is an essential prerequisite to a morality which recognizes natural law and the rights of the individual. The Soviet Union is cited among other tyrannical regimes as an example of atheistic thought manifest in government. However, if atheism leads inexorably to progressivism and communism, why did the atheist Rand spend her entire life decrying collectivism and advocating individual rights more aggressively than most of her American contemporaries? The answer is worth pursuing, and can be found in her work. …

And he concludes:

The line which divides friend from foe within the Tea Party ought not be belief in God, but recognition of individual rights. In a world where government acted only to secure those rights, religious freedom would be assured for the theist and atheist alike.

Agreeing with an atheist like Rand about individual rights, and working in tandem to affect their protection, in no way compromises religious conviction. Atheism is not contagious. Why then vet political relationships with a religous test? What end does that serve? We don’t expect religious cohesion with our mechanics, co-workers, grocers, or in other incidential relationships. Why expect it in our political coalitions?

The Tea Party’s wise focus on economic and legal concerns ought to exclude religious affiliation as it excludes social issues.  The goal of affecting public policy consistent with the principles of fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government, and free markets is explicitly secular. … In the face of statist opponents who are strengthened by division in the movement, Tea Partiers ought to unite on principles of civil government and leave religious distinction to religious forums.

We like to think most Tea Party members would agree with that.

Ayn Rand: recruiting sergeant 5

Of extraordinary interest, we think, is an essay by Anthony Daniels in The New Criterion, titled Ayn Rand: engineer of souls. (We cannot link to it, but it’s easy to find.)

We are admirers of Ayn Rand, but not uncritically. We believe, as she does, that capitalism is the only creator and sustainer of prosperity. We despise religion as she does. Like her we value reason. Her enormous novels Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead have probably won more believers in capitalism and devotees of personal liberty than any other book in any language, even surpassing Hayek’s essential text The Road to Serfdom; and for that she deserves lasting honor.

But her vision of humanity has a comic-book hyperbole about it which keeps her out of the rank of great writers. Her heroes are too big, too superior to us and everyone we’ll ever meet, to be likable. They inspire awe but not affection. We can be sure they’d look down on us if they knew us. We cannot emulate them, we can only wonder at them. They are like gods. They are intensely romantic, and romanticism is the enemy of reason.

Anthony Daniels lists her virtues and vices:

Rand’s virtues were as follows: she was highly intelligent; she was brave and uncompromising in defense of her ideas; she had a kind of iron integrity; and, though a fierce defender of capitalism, she was by no means avid for money herself. The propagation of truth as she saw it was far more important to her than her own material ease. Her vices, of course, were the mirror-image of her virtues, but, in my opinion, the mirror was a magnifying one. Her intelligence was narrow rather than broad. Though in theory a defender of freedom of thought and action, she was dogmatic, inflexible, and intolerant, not only in opinion but in behavior, and it led her to personal cruelty. In the name of her ideas, she was prepared to be deeply unpleasant. She hardened her ideas into ideology. Her integrity led to a lack of self-criticism; she frequently wrote twenty thousand words where one would do. …

A passionate hater of religion, Rand founded a cult around her own person, complete with rituals of excommunication; a passionate believer in rationality and logic, she was incapable of seeing the contradictions in her own work. She was a rationalist who was not entirely rational …

He goes on to paragraphs of stronger condemnation. He finds “horrible” cruelty in her. He perceives that though she was fanatically anti-collectivist, and though she had fled from Soviet Russia to the freedom of America, Stalin’s Russia remained within her.

Her unequivocal admiration bordering on worship of industrialization and the size of human construction as a mark of progress is profoundly Stalinist. Where Stalinist iconography would plant a giant chimney belching black smoke, Randian iconography would plant a skyscraper. (At the end of The Fountainhead, Roark receives a commission to build the tallest skyscraper in New York, its height being the guarantor of its moral grandeur. According to this scale of values, the Burj Dubai would be man’s crowning achievement so far.) Industrialists are to Rand what Stakhanovites were to Stalin: Both saw nature as an enemy, something to be beaten into submission. One doesn’t have to be an adherent of the Gaia hypothesis to know where this hatred of nature led.

Finally, Rand’s treasured theory of literature, what she called Romantic Realism, is virtually indistinguishable from Socialist Realism …

Rand’s heroes are not American but Soviet. The fact that they supposedly embody capitalist values makes no difference. Rand fulfilled Stalin’s criterion for the ideal writer: she tried to be an engineer of souls.

The analysis is not unjust.

But the recruiting sergeant to the Army of Light does not have to be the best exponent of the cause for which it fights.

While acknowledging and regretting all her faults, we keep, for her success as a dedicated recruiting sergeant, an abstract monument to Ayn Rand in our personal Hall of the Defenders of Individual Freedom.

Jillian Becker   June 19, 2010

A victory for freedom in Miami 2

Good news. CAIR had these ads on Miami buses removed. Now they’re to be put back. Here’s a report on how justice prevailed.

APRIL12-2010011

The SIOA [Stop the Islamization of America] legal complaint against Miami-Dade Transit has been settled. Not only will our FDI [Freedom Defense Initiative] and SIOA religious liberty bus ads be going back up, but another twenty will be added and will soon be on the streets of Miami.

This is a major victory for the freedom of speech and a disastrous defeat for the thuggish Islamic supremacists of CAIR. It is also a major victory for SIOA. …

The bus ad, which appears above, began running on Tuesday, April 13th. Just two days later, on Thursday, after pressure from CAIR, the bus ads had already been pulled down …

CAIR [Council on American-Islamic Relations], as it typically does, issued nationwide press releases and blasted emails to tens of thousands of outlets on Friday crowing over its “victory” of suppressing free speech on the grounds that the ads promoted “bigotry”. Newspaper and other media stories in the Miami Herald, the Orlando Sentinel, Fox Business News, and NBC ran blindly with the CAIR-generated story on Friday with headlines like: “Miami-Dade Transit Throws Islamic Ad Under the Bus.”

Ironically, CAIR, which has been named by the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI as a Muslim Brotherhood-Hamas front group and unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation terror fund raising trial – a trial which culminated in guilty verdicts for all of the Muslim Brotherhood defendants – claims it is “the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights organization.”

The Center for Security Policy, a leading Washington D.C. national security think tank run by former Reagan administration official Frank Gaffney, has documented that CAIR is an illegal, unregistered foreign agent of the OIC [Organisation of the Islamic Conference], receiving millions of dollars from Islamic countries in order to pursue their political goals in the U.S.

The day after the bus ads had been pulled … a teleconference was arranged …  with the Miami-Dade County Attorney’s office, which took place [the following] Monday afternoon… The county attorneys conceded the ads should not have been pulled. By Tuesday [it was agreed that ] not only would the original 10 king-sized ads go back up on the Transit Authority buses, but CBS would run an additional 20 king-sized bus ads for no additional charge.

The new agreement was inked and signed by Wednesday, April 21. The ads are expected to go back up by early next week.

Congratulations to Pamela Geller of Atlas Shrugged and Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch who caused this to happen.

To our great detriment 3

Great speeches were made at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) this February 2010. We particularly liked John Bolton‘s address, and Dick Cheney’s, and George Will’s [see our post A prescription for pleasure, February 20.]

We questioned the wisdom of conservatives accepting the co-sponsorship of the John Birch Society [More harm than help, February 20.] But that is far less objectionable than the convening of a CPAC panel by terrorist sympathizers.

Pamela Geller of Atlas Shrugged, who convened an anti-terrorist event,  tells what happened in an interview with Jamie Glazov at Front Page:

Geller: Last Friday, Robert Spencer and I hosted a standing-room-only event at CPAC. …

Our conference was designed to speak the truths that others will not speak. First to speak was Wafa Sultan, the ex-Muslim who shot to international fame after she stood up for human rights against Sharia on Al-Jazeera in a debate with an Islamic cleric on a famous viral video, and the author of A God Who Hates. She spoke of Islam’s war against the West. Then Steve Coughlin, the former Pentagon Islamic law specialist who was making his first public appearance after being fired from the Defense Department after pressure from those who didn’t like his truth-of-the-matter stance on jihad. He gave a bit of his controversial presentation to the Pentagon, showing how the Defense Department is ignoring the true nature of the jihad threat, to our great detriment – which is the title of his lengthy thesis on this problem.

Then in the second hour our speakers showed the next phases of the advance of jihad and Sharia. While Coughlin was fired for telling the truth about Islam and jihad, human rights activist Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff is being prosecuted for “hate speech” in Austria for the same truth telling. After her came Anders Gravers of Stop the Islamisation of Europe, who has been physically assaulted for standing up for freedom in Denmark. Then Simon Deng, a former slave in Sudan and a leading human rights activist against jihad and Islamic supremacism, showed what life is like for the subjugated, enslaved Christians of southern Sudan – the fourth phase of Sharia encroachment. Finally, the war hero and Congressional candidate Lt. Colonel Allen West gave a stirring speech calling us all to the defense of freedom.

FP: It’s a great sign that CPAC hosted an event like this, right?

Geller: Well Jamie, it’s not really what happened. The truth of the matter is that our event was at CPAC, but it was an independent event, not a CPAC event. And the truths that our speakers told were not aired at any other event at CPAC.

FP: Ok, just a second, let me get something straight: we are facing a deadly enemy in this current terror war, and that enemy is Islamic jihad — based on Islamic theology. CPAC had how many panels about it?

Geller: One. And it was an exercise in misinformation.

FP: Are you kidding me?

Geller: Not at all. The single panel was:

“You’ve Been Lied To: Why Real Conservatives are Against the War on Terror

Sponsored by Campaign for Liberty

Speakers: Retired U.S. Air Force Lt. Karen Kwiatkowski and Jacob Hornberger, President of FFF [The Future of Freedom Foundation]

The message there was that “real conservatives” don’t support the war on terror because it is a creation of the “Israeli lobby” — which coalesces with the left-wing’s new anti-Semitism against neoconservatives. Karen Kwiatkowski is a darling of both the leftist Huffington Post and the anti-Semitic paleocon site Antiwar.com.

FP: Tell us some more about Kwiatkowski.

Geller: Well, let’s put it this way: in a 2006 article, she described John Bolton as “that blubbering bundle of self-righteousness.” She also wrote:

“Many in America oppose the U.S. knee-jerk, unquestioning support for Israel. Many more worry that the Israeli lobby is unusually influential in Washington, while remaining hidden and unaccountable to average Americans. Still others are alarmed that Israel’s constant war mentality has become our new American model, and that Iraq and our own borders have become our own occupied territories, teeming with terror and constituting a never-ending threat to our lives, prosperity and value system.” …

That panel was, of course, a reflection of Ron Paul’s perspective. There were no counter-jihadists, no Robert Spencer, no Ibn Warraq on any CPAC panel, but they had room for this well-funded “Campaign for Liberty” presentation. …

Nothing was said about the Islamic doctrine that shows that jihadists would be waging war against the U.S. even if we did end all actions in Afghanistan and Iraq. The panel agreed with Obama, that Muslims are angry with us because of our actions, and will stop being angry with us if we change our foreign policy. This view is naïve and reflects ignorance of Islamic doctrine…

FP: This is mind-boggling. This is a conservative conference and one would think conservatives are interested in national security and protecting our liberties and American lives. Why do you think this happened?

Geller: I think CPAC’s agenda in 2010, as well as 2009 and before that, reflects the influence of Grover Norquist, the conservative powerhouse and kingmaker. He is a board member of the ACU [American Conservative Union]. … Norquist and his ally Suhail Khan seem to be in charge at CPAC

FP: Expand a bit on what perspective Norquist represents.

Geller:  Grover Norquist’s troubling ties to Islamic supremacists and jihadists have been known for years. He and his Palestinian wife, Samah Alrayyes … are very active in “Muslim outreach.”

Geller: In December 2003, David Horowitz wrote that Norquist “has formed alliances with prominent Islamic radicals who have ties to the Saudis and to Libya and to Palestine Islamic Jihad, who are now under indictment by U.S. authorities….

Frank Gaffney here in Frontpage [wrote] how Norquist had given Muslims with jihad terror links access to the highest levels of the U.S. government.

Grover Norquist was on the jihad payroll before and after the carnage and death of September 11. Gaffney revealed Norquist’s close ties to Abdurahman Alamoudi, who is now serving twenty-three years in prison for financing jihad activity. In 2000, Alamoudi said at a rally, “I have been labeled by the media in New York to be a supporter of Hamas. Anybody support Hamas here?…Hear that, Bill Clinton? We are all supporters of Hamas. I wished they added that I am also a supporter of Hizballah.” …

Norquist also introduced Nihad Awad, cofounder and executive director of Council on American-Islamic Relations, to President Bush. CAIR is one of the foremost Islamic supremacist hate sponsors in the U.S. Terror expert Steve Emerson wrote that “CAIR, which touts itself as America’s premier Muslim civil rights organization, was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land [Foundation] terror trial.” …

Emerson also reveals that according to the testimony of an FBI agent, “CAIR was listed as a member of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestine Committee.” The Palestine Committee is dedicated to jihad for the destruction of Israel

Robert Spencer added this about CAIR: “CAIR operatives have repeatedly refused to denounce Hamas and Hizballah as terrorist groups. Several former CAIR officials have been convicted of various crimes related to jihad terror…”

These are Grover Norquist’s bedfellows. Abusing his power and access, he introduced Islamic supremacists who advocate the overthrow of the government to those who have an oath to protect and defend the Constitution…