Monday, March 3, 2008

Bill Maher on Religion

I've been meaning to post this for a while now. Last month, comedian Bill Maher appeared on Larry King live to promote his new movie "Religulous". I only caught the last few minutes (I can't stand Larry King - it's clear he usually has no idea who he's talking to or what he's talking about - time to retire Larry!!), but have looked for the video clip ever since. Well, here it is:



In the clip, Bill responds to Catholic League president William Donohue's criticism of him. Now, I've blogged about Donohue before - here and here, and it's clear he's as nutty as a fruitcake, but I was impressed by Maher's response - he articluates what a lot of us have been saying about faith - why put it on a pedestal? Why can't we criticize faith? Here's the transcript:
KING: Back with Bill Maher. Catholic League President William Donahue says that you really have it out against Christians and he would love to duke it out with you in the ring. He's a very, very passionate Catholic, as you know.

MAHER: Oh, yes. Aren't they all? I used to be a Catholic. I saw that on Keith Olbermann's show, and I thought he had the right response after the man threatened to beat me up, just as Jesus would handle it. I hope we can avoid a fight. If I'm attacked, I will defend myself.

KING: Do you suspect when "Religulous" comes out to get a lot of flak?

MAHER: Yes, but I get a lot of flak anyway. That's been their trick for hundreds of years. They say the word faith and somehow we all have to back off and pretend that what they believe is not destructive, and I won't do that. And there are millions of people who won't do that. The minority that is what I would call rationalists, that is people who don't believe in something supernatural, something that was obviously fables that were written by men before men knew what a germ or an atom was. OK?

Yes, we're rationalists. That's like 20 percent of people under 30. That's a bigger minority than lots of minorities. They just don't speak up. I'm hoping this movie and this movement will encourage people to speak up about this. They accuse me of being a Catholic bigot. First of all, I don't have it out especially for the Catholics. I think all religions are coo-coo. OK? It's not just the Catholics.

I'm not a bigot. Just because I wish for the demise of an organization that I think is entirely destructive to the human race, that doesn't make me a bigot. I also wish for demise of Hamas and the KKK. Not that on every score the Catholic Church is the same as those two organizations. But to me they are destructive organizations. I'm not a bigot because I root for their downfall.

KING: But you can offend them?

MAHER: I have been doing it for 15 years. They're perfectly within their rights to be offended. But they're not going to shut me up. They're not going to do it by saying the magic word, faith. This is what I believe. Yes, you believe it. I'm going to say why it's dumb. (emphasis mine)
I think this is critical - we need to start to speak up and let everyone know that faith in God is just as crazy as faith in pink unicorns, or, praise his noodly appendages, the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

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