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they’re people too.

Published November 10th, 2006 by Bobby Henderson

just smaller and sort of scary.

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94 Responses to “they’re people too.”

  1. Jingles says:

    mmm, noticed the post spree…
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    Oh well, can’t be helped.

  2. One Eyed Jack says:

    The only people capable of something this horrible are ninjas. Has to be ninjas. They’re sneaky, evil bastards. Not a lick of honor in them and no appreciation for rum.
    .
    OEJ, sitting at the front of the bus and crying “let my brothers go!”

  3. The Gooeld says:

    I’m pretty sure I’ve seen you put a midget in a cage…and you didn’t seem to disapprove…poor midget…

  4. Anna says:

    Either ninjas or English essay teachers.

  5. J says:

    My English teachers were always so nice. I never once found a midget in a cage in my classroom.
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    Ninjas, on the other hand… (Oh, OEJ, what did they *do* to you?)
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    Lastly: I apologise for the post copy’n'pasting I’m about to commit. FSM forgive me.

  6. J says:

    [Apologies to everyone for whom this is old news. I’m reproducing the OPEN LETTER TO TED HAGGARD post here, with a view to bringing it before a few more people’s eyes. Especially here, because what visitor could fail to be drawn towards the soul-rending spectacle of one of the FSM's most beloved so cruelly incarcerated? Anyway, if you’ve read it, skip it. Cheers]
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    Arrr, ye all!
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    Below follows the OPEN LETTER TO TED HAGGARD
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    If ye be pirate enough to put yer name to it, then email me yer approval. To be sure that ye do, read on!
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    We, the undersigned, wish to offer our sympathies to Ted Haggard in what must be a time of profound personal difficulty.
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    Ted, this letter is addressed to you. It is intended to express our best wishes to you, and also to convey a message of great hope.
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    We must acknowledge that we are speaking from a position of relative ignorance. At the time of writing, the details of your situation are far from entirely clear to the public. Perhaps they will never be – and, given the deeply personal nature of the situation, perhaps they never should be.
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    However, some facts are clear. Your work at the New Life Church and as President of the National Association of Evangelicals have long been clear evidence of your personal convictions and of your influence as a servant of God. The actions of the Church Board in dismissing you on grounds of ‘sexually immoral conduct’ and your own comments on the subject now indicate an apparently long-standing conflict between your faith and your personal sexual inclinations. This is enough to justify this letter.
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    The pain that this conflict has brought to you, to your family and to the many Americans who have been inspired by you is sad to behold. We, the writers of this letter, hope that you will be treated fairly by your peers and that you and your loved ones will support one another and overcome the distress of this period.
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    We write also to offer you an alternative perspective on your situation. It is not something we expect you to accept easily, but we hope that you will at least read it in the spirit in which it is intended. Although it will conflict with your strong beliefs, it is nevertheless an offer of support to a fellow human who is in pain, and it would be callous of us not to extend it to you.
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    We write this letter as, and on behalf of, secular humanists. That’s right: the atheists. Of course, we cannot presume to speak for the millions of atheists worldwide, but we are absolutely certain that countless of them will support us.
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    Please be assured: there is no irony in this letter. We are not writing in order to gloat. We recognise your position as genuinely tragic and wish to help as best we can. What reasonable, rational human being, religious or otherwise, wouldn’t?
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    Ted, the tireless work you have done in the service of your god is clear for all to see. So too, now, is the personal cost to you of preaching his religion. How can we account, then, for the catastrophically painful position you have thereby found yourself in? Were it the work of a sentient god to respond to your dedication in this way, it would be a straightforward act of cruelty.
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    He is not testing you, Ted. He simply does not exist.
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    People exist. We always have. The millions of people among whom you have spread hope and love – they exist. So too do the millions who share hope and love with no belief in a god. The world of humanism is every bit as loving, as supportive and as awe-inspiring as that of Christianity. And it is fairer, less doubt-ridden and more fundamentally honest. It is based on mutual respect between people, for our morality is made for people, by people, based on people.
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    We, as humanists, respect you simply for your humanity, Ted.
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    This is not an opportunistic attempt to recruit. We repeat: we sympathise strongly with you and wish to offer you such support as we can. From our perspective, what is abundantly clear is that the root of your current pains lies in details of your belief. We are compelled to share our perspective as it offers you a clear and simple path to a better life.
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    Within secular humanism, there is no basis for regarding homosexuality or bisexuality as ‘sinful’. Your sexual orientation is simply part of who you are. In itself, it harms no one and should more properly be regarded as a source of joy than of shame. It is only the conflict with certain aspects of your religion that makes it otherwise.
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    You have, we have read, described yourself as ‘a deceiver and a liar’. Well, maybe you are, Ted, but perhaps not in the way you meant. The greatest tragedy of your current position is that it has come about through your deceit of yourself and your denial, through faith, of the person you truly are.
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    Let us be clear. We are not writing to endorse lies, prostitution or drugs. We would simply like to suggest to you that, within a secular humanist worldview, your sexuality would not lead to any of these things. You could simply be honest about your feelings and be supported by your peers.
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    Of course, we’re aware that reconciling your apparent sexuality with your family is another matter. Others have been in similar situations and have emerged with their families intact, loving and supportive. We hope that this is the ultimate result for you, too. We wish you could rely on the understanding of your religion to help you through such a time.
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    We have heard you enjoin others to avoid arrogance in their beliefs. This is an admirable sentiment with which we wholeheartedly agree. Secular humanism is the humblest position a human being can take in relation to their world. No atheist lays claim to personal revelation, or blocks another’s ideas by invoking the inaccessibility of divine wisdom. We simply look at our world without assumptions and work together to understand it better. Inspirational progress takes place daily, as do errors and their ultimate corrections. The sum total of human knowledge is available to anyone who is prepared to look. It is fairness, honesty and humility writ large.
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    (Of course, an individual atheist may at times be unfair, dishonest and arrogant, as may members of every belief system. We are all human.)
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    You might like to know that many of us have been devout Christians, Muslims, Jews or other members of other religions. We have found that, exposed to the clear daylight of reason, the logic of faith melts away. It is an emotionally challenging step, but it is not a step into anarchy, despair or emptiness. It is a step into the full, rich, astonishing, humbling yet empowering, human world of truth. And it is a step into a world full of supportive fellow humanists. You would never have to make it alone.
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    This has all been by way of an offer, Ted, which you are free to accept or decline. There is one thing that we positively ask you, however. Rob Brendle has identified you as, by comparison with your peers, a ‘defender of the rights of homosexuals’. This is to be applauded. Yet, it is your interpretation of Christianity’s view of homosexuals that has led to the recent revelations. Ted, you know first-hand the pain caused by doctrinal interpretations that conflict with humanistically derived rights. Please, even if the step into secular humanism is unthinkable to you, take this chance to look hard at the substance of your beliefs. Please don’t use your influence to propagate suffering and self-loathing. Surely, theists and atheists alike, we can recognise a greater human good?
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    In all honesty, Ted, we don’t expect you to embrace secularism. We expect you to continue to struggle with your Christian beliefs. To us, and to millions of others, this is a terrible tragedy. We wish you happiness, Ted, as we do everyone.
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    The door remains open. The door is always open. If you are brave enough to look through it now, we will very literally rejoice for you. If not, we hope that one day you will find the strength.
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    We suspect that your religious life has been your own quest for truth. As a reasonable man, we believe you will see the sense in taking this situation as an incentive to reflect seriously on your life. Do you still honestly search for the truth – or do you defend a decision long since made and no longer examined?
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    Take up the challenge to resume the quest. Our hopes are with you.
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    With sympathy,
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    [NAMES]
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    Alright, ye all. The weekend has begun, so no physical posting action will be taken until Monday. If ye approve of the letter, let me know.
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    Ye’ll have found the letter to be quite soft and friendly, I expect. That’s because, in spite of me salty abrasiveness, I want to offer landlubber Ted the hand of friendship and support. Three reasons: Most of all, I mean it. Second, I want to show him the welcoming, loving qualities of secular humanism. And lastly, because, if he should decide to take issue with my innocent letter, I don’t want to provide undue opportunities for his congregation to find offence. I have no wish to be offensive to a man in the time of his distress.
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    If ye wish to add yer salty names to the letter, then ye can email me at thepiratej@hotmail.co.uk. I’ll also listen to suggestions if ye *strongly* feel that changes are needed, but I warn ye now: I’ll not let this dither on much longer. If ye broadly agree, that’ll do. Letters by committee take centuries, and I’m not banking on eternity.
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    I’ll allow a little settling time, but I want to be in a position to move with this at the start of the new week. So, the FINAL version, following any *serious* suggestions, which I hope will be virtually identical to the above, will be posted Sunday or Monday at latest, IN THE ‘YOUR GOD IS A HOMO’ THREAD. Anyone who’ll put their name to it will appear at the end of the letter. That’s the deadline, as far as I’m concerned.
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    Arrr, ye all, and RAmen!

  7. J says:

    That’s enough, now. Normal service resumes…

  8. Alchemist says:

    Dear FSM – cocaine is not good for you

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