"You cannot qualify war in harsher terms than I will. War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it; and those who brought war into our country deserve all the curses and maledictions a people can pour out." - William Tecumseh Sherman

Name: The General
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Friday, February 18, 2005
  Bill Maher
Bill Maher was on MSNBC's Scarborough Country on Tuesday. Here's a link to the transcript. While I take issue with many of Maher's liberal positions, he is quite funny, and his attacks on religion are second to none. Here's some choice segments:
SCARBOROUGH: So, anyway, let‘s talk about something that Gary Wills wrote. And I think Maureen Dowd echoed with sentiment.

After the election when we found out that 22 percent of Americans, based on some exit polls, said morality was their top issue, Gary Wills said that any country with evangelicals that voted for George Bush who believe in the virgin birth more than they believe in evolution can‘t be an enlightened nation.

And Gary Wills basically compared America to al Qaeda. That‘s a little harsh, isn‘t it?

MAHER: That is too harsh.

SCARBOROUGH: People of faith can step forward, get involved in the process, believe in Jesus, and still vote for George Bush without being an ignorant peasant, can‘t they?

MAHER: Well, I think comparing them to al Qaeda is too harsh, but that‘s because al Qaeda is a terrorist organization.

But do we have more in common—and I am not the first one to say this. I have read this many times. We have more in common with the people, some of the nations who we are aligned against, when you look at beliefs in such things as, do you go to heaven, is there a devil, we have more in common with Turkey and Iran and Syria than we do with European nations and Canada and nations that, yes, I would consider more enlightened than us.

Yes, we are a nation that is unenlightened because of religion. I do believe that. I think that religion stops people from thinking. I think it justifies crazies. I think flying planes into a building was a faith-based initiative. I think religion is a neurological disorder. If you look at it logically, it‘s something that was drilled into your head when you were a small child. It certainly was drilled into mine at that age. And you really can‘t be responsible when you are a kid for what adults put into your head.

But when you become an adult, you can then have it drilled out. And you should.
Amen! Of course, I don't consider Europe or Canada to be "enlightened" nations.
SCARBOROUGH: So, I believe in Jesus. I believe in heaven. I believe in hell. I believe in good.

MAHER: Right.

SCARBOROUGH: I believe in evil.

Tell me how that neurological—and I am talking about myself. How does that neurological disorder impact me day in and day out? Because some people would argue it actually makes me healthier, makes me a better member of society, makes sure that I respect other people‘s opinions.

MAHER: Are you kidding? Respect other people‘s opinions?


MAHER: Would we be having this debate about whether gay people can lead their lives just like any other people if it wasn‘t for religion? Religion makes people not respect other people‘s lives.
Maher does a good job in this next segment of stepping out of the trap that Scarborough attempts to set for him, equating atheism with Hitler and Nazism:
SCARBOROUGH: I mean, come on. I mean, you look at all of these states. You can look at Missouri. Like, they had a vote on a referendum on gay marriage. My gosh, what, 70 -- I think 70, 75 percent of the people in Missouri voted against gay marriage. That wasn‘t because 75 percent of the people in Missouri are evangelicals.

What about the people that beat Matthew Shepherd to death in Wyoming? You think they were worshipping Jesus before they went out and beat him to death?

MAHER: Well, no, but why are you conflating those two things? It‘s one thing to beat someone to death. That‘s just a crime.

SCARBOROUGH: Because they‘re gay. No, no, it was hatred of him because he was gay.


MAHER: I understand that.

But, first of all, I think the vote in Missouri and a lot of other states is because people are religious. They don‘t have to be evangelical, but they‘re religious. They believe in religion, which as—I think it was Jesse Ventura who had that quote about religion is a crutch for weak-minded people who need strength in numbers.

SCARBOROUGH: Yes. I think Hitler also said that.

MAHER: No, not—well, Jesse...

SCARBOROUGH: No. Hitler said something—I remember when I heard Jesse Ventura saying that, I said, God, that sounds an awful lot like Adolf Hitler, doesn‘t it?

MAHER: Well, you know, even a broken watch is right twice a day.



SCARBOROUGH: So Hitler was right.


MAHER: The point is, well, even Ted Kaczynski was right about a couple of things. It doesn‘t mean I agree that he should be blowing things up. Tim McVeigh had some good points. It doesn‘t mean I agree with his method of putting those points across.

But when people say to me, you hate America, I don‘t hate America. I love America. I am just embarrassed that it has been taken over by people like evangelicals, by people who do not believe in science and rationality. It is the 21st century. And I will tell you, my friend. The future does not belong to the evangelicals. The future does not belong to religion. And I know that...
I share all too well in Maher's embarassment. Unfortunately, I don't think things will change rapidly enough to prevent the future from belonging to religion. The secular left is intellectually and culturally bankrupt, and the conservatives are rushing through the gates...

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