Special In Studio Episode: Jamie Kilstein, Ed Brayton, and More

July 02, 2012

Note: You can watch this episode on Youtube.

For this episode of Point of Inquiry, we tried something a little different. At Center for Inquiry headquarters in Amherst, NY, we filmed a special hour long program with multiple in-studio guests, including the famed atheist comedian Jamie Kilstein. As usual, the program is also available as an audio-only podcast.

In either format, here’s what it contains:

When Doubt is a Crime
: Michael De Dora, director of the Center for Inquiry Office of Public Policy in Washington, D.C., discusses the disturbing case of an Indonesian man who was recently sentenced to two and a half years in prison, just for questioning whether God exists.

Fox News Bashing, Redux
: Chris Mooney responds to recent listener comments, some of them complimentary, some… not so much.

From the Culture Wars to… Chuck Norris
: We talk with Ed Brayton, the blogger behind Dispatches from the Culture Wars and owner of the FreethoughtBlogs network, about recent church state issues–and his steady monitoring of everyone’s favorite right wing karate menace.

Gotta Keep ‘em Separated
: We interview Jessica Ahlquist, the high school freethought activist who was recently victorious in her Rhode Island church-state lawsuit over a prayer banner displayed in her high school auditorium.

Jamie Kilstein
: The hilarious atheist comedian and host of Citizen Radio discusses how he became an atheist, the future of the 99 percent, mixed martial arts, and his fighting challenge to conservative pundit Jonah Goldberg.

Hello, point of inquiry, listeners. This is Adam Isaac, the producer of the show. And before we get to today’s show, I just need to say a couple of things. One. This episode of Point of Inquiry contains language that some listeners may find offensive. The views expressed on point of inquiry are not necessarily the views of the Center for Inquiry, nor its affiliated organizations. And third, if you would rather watch this show, then listen to it. We have the entire episode filmed and produced at our website Point of Inquiry Talk. You can also go straight to our YouTube channel at YouTube dot com slash center for inquiry. We think it turned out pretty great and we would love it if you would check it out and let us know what you think. 

This is point of inquiry from Monday, July 2nd, 2012. 

Welcome to Point of Inquiry. I’m Chris Mooney one of inquiry is the radio show and the podcast of the Center for Inquiry, a think tank advancing reason, science and secular values in public affairs and at the grassroots. 

This is a bit of a special episode of one of inquiry because some of you are actually seeing me rather than hearing me as a disembodied voice, which is what you’re probably used to. We’re here at the Center for Inquiry in AMRS, New York, and we are piloting test video version of Point of Inquiry. So for those of you who are listening, if you would like to watch, you should go to YouTube, dot com slash center for inquiry and you will find us there as well. But we’re glad you’re listening to the show or watching. We’re just glad to have you with us. It’s gonna be a great show today. It’s gonna be a little bit different than usual. We have several interviews rather than one, as befits the sort of more video format. So let me roll out what you’re going to what you’re gonna get today. Our first guest is Michael Daura, and he is the director of the Center for Inquiry, Office of Public Policy in Washington, DC, as well as the Center for Inquiries representative to the United Nations. And we’re going to talk with him about a really kind of disturbing case that’s going on in Indonesia right now, in which a man who did nothing more than say he doubted God was arrested and has been prosecuted for it. 

So you’ll hear more about that. 

Our next guest after Michael will be Ed Brayton. You may know him. He is the popular blogger of Dispatches from the Culture Wars, and he also is the owner of the Freethought Blogs Network. But, you know, of all the things on Edds, cool resume. If there’s one that rises to the top for me, he claims that he is the only person, and I’m quoting the only person to have ever made fun of Chuck Norris on C-SPAN. All right. And so, I mean, that’s good for Ed, but I think it’s bad for America. Because I think Chuck Norris should be made fun of on C-SPAN and in many media often. So we’ll talk to him about that and other things then. Here at the Center for Inquiry, a lot is going on right now, including the Center for Inquiry, Student Leadership Conference. We have students from all over the country who are Freethought activists, college level and some high school. And we’re going to talk to one of them. We’re going to talk to Jessica Alquist, who’s a high schooler from Rhode Island. And she has actually been successful in a lawsuit preventing her school from displaying a prayer banner. So she has been really a dramatically successful young Freethought activist. And then finally, to cap it all off. We are going to have the well-known awesome comedian. You might have seen him at the reason rally, Jamie Kilstein. Jamie Quilcene is the co-host of Citizen Radio. He’s been seen doing comedy and political commentary on shows ranging from Conan to up with Chris Hayes. And we’re going to have his really amazing blend of left wing vegan 99 percent humor. 

So we are really looking forward to that. But we will start with public affairs in mid June. An Indonesian judge sentenced a man named Alexander on to two and a half years in prison. What did on do? He posted on Facebook that he wasn’t sure about the existence of God. He also posted on Facebook a couple of cartoons about Islam for this. A mob attacked him and then he was arrested and a judge sentenced him. You know, it’s a really disturbing story of the victim being prosecuted, in my opinion. I think opinion a lot of our listeners. But it’s actually one of many cases where we’re getting more reports of intolerance in Indonesia. This is a country of over 200 million people, predominantly Muslim, but it claims to be a democracy. But minority religious groups, Christians are also having their churches shut down. And get this, Lady Gaga was blocked from performing in Jakarta by Muslim hardliners. So what is going on with Indonesia and what can we learn about this case? For that, we have Michael Todora of CFI Center for Public Policy. Michael, thank you so much for being with us. Thank you for having me, Chris. Yeah. So Indonesia, what is going on here? I mean, it’s a democracy, so presumably it has to be a party to various international agreements about human rights, freedom of speech, freedom of religion. 

Yes. So it’s signed onto obviously many U.N. trees and international treaties that guarantee freedom of belief and expression. And it does have a constitution that supposedly guarantees freedom of religion. However, the Indonesian constitution maintains that you have to belong to one of six religions to qualify for that freedom of religion. So, in effect, being an atheist is illegal in Indonesia. 

So the judges, therefore just actually apply. It’s not like the judges riffing, improvising here. He’s applying the law. Right. 

He’s applying the law. Or, you know, a panel of judges are applying the laws that are already in place in Indonesia. 

Of course, they are skirting, in some sense, their promises to international treaties. 

But this is a law in Indonesia. So what are the treaties that conflict with this? The main treaty that conflicts with that is the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. That document is very explicit and very strong in guaranteeing freedom of thought, belief and expression at the same time. There are some troubling language in what’s known as the ICCPR in the sense that there is language in there in Article 20 that references incitement to religious hostility and hatred. And that’s actually the law that Alexander on was convicted under. So there is a sense that while Indonesia is not keeping its promise to U.N. treaties, international treaties, these treaties actually do include some troubling language that might allow Indonesia to get away with some of the things they’re doing. 

Tell us more about this guy, Alexander. I mean, what do we know about him? 

We don’t know very much about him. You know, there haven’t been many news reports out there. We know essentially that he’s a 30 year old civil servant, that he’s pretty meek and softly spoken. There’s been an interview or two with him done by the media, and he seems to have a lot of regret about what’s happened. And he is certainly not the kind of atheist that you think is going out there and, you know, screaming his head off about why religion is a ridiculous idea. He just simply went on Facebook and said, I don’t think God exists. And he posted a couple of cartoons. 

Wow. Also, why does this story fit into what is also going on either in Indonesia or in other countries? 

I mean, it’s not easy to be an atheist in a lot of parts of the world. So maybe put Indonesia in a bit of a global context. 

Yeah, Indonesia is not split off by itself. You know, many, many, many Middle Eastern countries, unfortunately, countries that are dominated by Islamic values in politics have these sorts of laws. And they’re used not actually necessarily just to keep atheists quiet and throw them in jail, but unfortunately quiet, any sort of religious, you know, dissident minority faith. So in a country where she is or the dominant political party, they’re going to potentially use these laws to subject Sunnis and etc. it’s at all all the way down the line. In Indonesia, you’ve seen, unfortunately, Christians being subjected very often to this sort of punishment. So Indonesia’s, you know, not by itself, any country where you’re seeing really radical Islam. Unfortunately, you’re seeing attempts to keep quiet any sort of, you know, atheist or just dissident voices. 

And so what are you what is Senator Inquiry doing about this? You held understand protest. 

Yes. So the first step, obviously, is to bring some attention to this. There’s not been much mass media coverage. There are not many groups talking about it. Amnesty International’s wonderment there has been talking about it. So the first thing we’ve been trying to do is bring some attention to it socially. So we had a protest outside the Indonesian embassy in Washington, D.C. A couple days later, we formally wrote the ambassador for Indonesia to the United States asking him to convey our concerns back to the government in Indonesia. So that’s what we’ve done so far, along with kind of doing Twitter and Facebook sorts of viral, you know, viral posting type things. Our next steps are working at the United Nations and at the State Department, hopefully to get those bodies to put some pressure on Indonesia to respect the commitments they’ve made to these international treaties. We’ve talked about that promise. Freedom of belief. 

I mean, this brought these cases so in a way, outrageous. I mean, I really think this is prosecuting. They took care of it. That’s what I would call it, that you would think that people would get pretty up in arms. And I think probably our listeners or our viewers are going to feel that way. So what can they do? 

Well, you’re right. And that’s one of the most ridiculous things about the cases that went on, was he was beaten, he was arrested and then, you know, brought in front of blasphemy charges, upside down injustice and people actually beating him up, being charged. That’s unfortunate. What happens often, Indonesia. I understand that for many Americans, it’s easy to feel, you know, this attach from this sort of thing. It’s halfway across the world. However, one of the things that we see if I think is important is to let these authorities know that this is not just gonna go unchallenged. So if you go to the Center for injury dot net and look at our news updates, you can see that we have some news updates about on. And within those news updates, we have links that you can use to contact officials in Indonesia and tell them that this is something that really bothers us. They have commitments, international treaties, and they should stick to those commitments. At the same time, it is important to also raise consciousness in the United States itself. So if you can organize a protest in your local community, if there’s any sort of Indonesian consular office there, if you can have any sort of event about it, you know, just to get people aware that this is going on and it’s not just an isolated case, other you know, it’s a history of it, unfortunately. 

Well, Michael, thank you for sharing this. I mean, I think a lot of the. Well, I hope a lot of people are going to be activated by this. And so I want to thank you for letting us know what’s going on here on point of inquiry. Glad I can be here. Thank you. Great to have you. 

A really disturbing case, but I think we were definitely better off knowing about it. And at this point, I want to move on to a different part of the show. 

One thing that we’re going to do here is actually respond to some comments that we got on the last show. And this is something that I want to do a lot more of going forward. The last show was with Chris Hayes. He is an MSNBC host whose show is up with Chris Hayes. And he has a book that’s really getting a lot of discussion just out. It’s called Twilight of the Elites America After Meritocracy. So we did a show with Chris Hayes and these were some of your comments that we received. And I’m going to just sort of answer some of them. Max, commenting on our Web site had this to say. He said, Media Matters, AlterNet, The Huffington Post, MSNBC, The Nation. Chris, you’ve got the bases covered. When can we expect guests from Press, TV and Infowars? They hate Fox News more than anyone reading this. I actually had to figure out what press, TV and Infowars actually are. Press TV is the Iranian state television network, and Infowars is a channel that supports 9/11 conspiracies, which we have had a show that devoted a substantial amount of time to criticizing. So I’m not sure where the common is going. I think with the comment is saying, though, is that too many of our guests are on the left and perhaps were somehow unfairly criticizing Fox News. We had a show with a Media Matters devoted to that. So I want to address actually these points. Fox News, a lot of research that Media Matters is brought to bear and that I have brought to bear shows that people who watch Fox News are more misinformed than the viewers of other television stations. They’re they’re more likely to doubt global warming, for instance. They’re more likely to believe the President Obama was not born in the United States. In a democracy, such a powerful source of misinformation can really skew public policy. So I think it is absolutely fair game for a program like ours that is dedicated to science reason and free thought. And yes, we have had guests, you know, on the political left. It’s partly because you’re critical of the religious right. A lot of your guests will be on the political left. It’s hard to not have that happen. But we’ve also had political conservatives. We had, for instance, David Frum, the prominent political conservative commentator on we’ve had centrists like Jonathan Hite, the moral psychologist, and we are willing to have more. 

And if there’s someone you think we should have, you should get in touch with us. So thank you for the comment, but I don’t agree with it. One more comment. 

We had something from scientist and skeptic. That’s how this person described himself and they wrote about the Chris Hayes show. I was happy to hear Hayes and Mooney discuss the difference between science and other meritocratic systems. In science, you can find snobs, bullies, even a few fabricators. But gratuitous hostility is often viewed as unprofessional. Fraud invites a death blow to one’s career. And yes, despite one’s intellect, clever arguments and planning, the universe always remains smarter than we are. I can’t imagine this being the right profession for those who can’t be wrong. For those who love the puzzle, it is a lifetime of challenge and fascination. Thanks for the great show. Thanks for the comment. And I absolutely agree. 

You are capturing the spirit of science as we hope that it will be conducted and we know that it isn’t perfect, but we hope that the norms of science institutions of science protected in such a way so that we can actually have a working meritocracy in science, even if meritocracies and other sectors of society are starting to fail us. As Chris Hayes argues. Now, I want to move on to our next guest, Ed Braiden. I’ve introduced him already, but let me just do it again briefly. He blogs at Dispatches from the Culture Wars as one of the great science and Freethought blogs out there. And he is the owner of the Freethought Blogs Network. And he is also importantly to me. 

He is our eyes and ears on Chuck Norris so he can figure out what this right wing commentator menace is up to. 

So what is the latest with Chuck Norris? Ed, fill us in. 

You know, just this morning, I saw that he’s now giving out health advice on the World Net daily, which is my favorite crazy how to how to be fit, how to how to be able to beat somebody up like he right. 

To do. And bad movie. 

He writes a column for them. Oh, of course. The World at Daily, which, you know, giving a call. They’ve they’ve given columns to Chuck Norris, Victoria Jackson and Pat Boone. Wow. So I think that gives you an idea of about how seriously they ought to be taken. So he’s still on ice, as far as I know, still on the advisory board of the National Council on Bible Curriculum in public schools, which pushes this very theocratic curriculum in for elective courses in public schools. They claim like five hundred schools use it, but it’s a really bad. I’d sort of like that. Would you? And I spoke at the yearly coast conference in 2007 that my talk I talked about that curriculum and some of the just horrible things in it. So Chuck continues to be crazy. 

Yeah. Well, thanks for doing Chuck Watch, because, you know, people need to know. People need to know this. That’s right. This is a board. 

Yeah. No. So you would you want to talk to you about Freethought blogs a little bit because this is, what, about a year old now? August 1st of last year. We’ll call it a 10 month old. It’s been very successful. I understand you’re telling me the traffic is huge. 

Yeah, we get more than 200000 page views a day, and we just had it. We just had a handful of video bloggers, atheist video bloggers, Aaron. Rahaf underfoot, Christina Rad and Zinnia Jones. So we’re excited about kind of a new element to that that we haven’t had before. So that’s going very well so far. We’ve just launched those and we’ve got some more new people to add. But I think we’re up to almost 40 blogs now, and it’s going great. 

The blogosphere for Freethought. Let’s talk about this little that you and I were once together at the Science Blogs Network. There’s massive egress of people. 

Well, something. Yeah, several ways of egress. 

But one of them is over something called PepsiCo, which, you know, I think it in theory. But any case, that’s one reason that now a lot of people are there. But what I want to ask you about are at Freethought blogs or or elsewhere. But what’s happened, I think, is kind of a bifurcation of that community because science blogs. It was a cacophony. You had the people who blog mostly about science. Then you had people who got science. But they also talk about Athie ism. And some people do politics. And that led to some. Let’s be frank, battles now. I mean, now I think it’s more like the people who blog about just science. You’re going to find a bit more of a Scientific American kind of place. And we’ll find more. More. Athie is a more Freethought commentary. Church and state kind of stuff at Freethought blog. I mean, is this a good thing? Is this a bad thing that you don’t think about where you take Peezy Myers, for example? 

He still has his blog at science blogs where he only posts about science and then everything else, the politics and atheist stuff. You post Freethought blogs. And Greg Layton does the same thing. My intention originally was to do the same thing. And I found out, you know, in a few weeks that there was just I couldn’t keep up with them both. I had so much on my plate. So, yeah, I think there has been some of that, although there’s a great deal of diversity about what’s talked about it. Freethought blogs as well, because we have gone out of our way to build that diversity. And we have a couple of transgendered bloggers who are, you know, bringing their experiences to it in the interests that they really interested them. So we have to be able to talk about human sexuality issues. A lot of church and state. Of course, we’re getting ready to redesign the whole site and the front page is going to have 12 categories on it, just like science blogs front page did. So the fact that we could come up with twelve and some of those actually include sort of several subcategories. There’s a lot there, you know, that that’s got to be diverse, but not a lot of pure science. That stuff you’re going to find probably at Scientific American more and the discovery where Carl Zimmer, I think, is still out there. You know, they do the great work on that stuff. And, you know, I hope they keep it up. 

Well, one thing we go to you for your blog in particular is is following church state issues and civil liberties issues. And so I want to actually drill down and talking about some of those. So you’re on the board, if I’m right, CFI, Michigan. Right. And there’s actually just been a lawsuit filed by CFI, Michigan, as I understand, against a country club. And you’ll tell me the details. But it’s a country club that blocked or canceled an event where Richard Dawkins we’re going to speak because they didn’t like Richard Dawkins perspective. What happened? 

The story is kind of interesting. Yeah. Last October, October 12th, we had scheduled Richard Dawkins in appearance there at the Windgate Country Club in Rochester Hills, Michigan, on October 5th. Dawkins was on the Bill O’Reilly show and the owner of the country club saw him on the show, saw him talking about Athie ism and immediately contacted the manager. You know, his manager of the club had said, cancel this. I don’t want to support this group. I don’t want anything to do with these atheists yet. I’m out of here. So the next day, they called Jennifer BEHEADERS, assistant director, who does handles all the logistics for those things and said. Canceling this, we don’t want to be associated with those people. Now, we had a binding contract with them. This was six days before the event, which will take place. Tickets are sold, travel arrangements are made. Everybody is ready to go. You know, so it was a real pain in the butt. We did manage to find an alternate venue that cost us more money and so forth. So just a couple of months ago, we actually filed a federal lawsuit over it. This is illegal discrimination under both the Elliot Larsen Civil Rights Act and Michigan and under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. You can’t discriminate on the basis of religion. It doesn’t just protect religious people. If you discriminate against someone on the basis of religion, you’re violating the law. 

What do you say to someone who says this is a private country club? I mean, don’t they have a right to do what they want to do? 

Well, except that we sort of cross that bridge. Forty years ago, 50 years ago, I mean, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 says if you offer a public accommodation, which means if you make your services available to the public, then you cannot discriminate on the basis of age, religion, race, et cetera. Interestingly enough, sexual orientation is still not covered there, and it certainly ought to be at the federal level. But then we also have a state law that is almost identical in language. So the fact is, we do tell private companies that they have to. You can’t you could never refuse service to a black person. That’s why that law was instituted, because of the Jim Crow laws where you had whites only lunch counters and such. So it’s the same exact principle. It’s been in place for 50 years and it protects atheists as well as everyone else. 

Well, let’s let’s take a broader lens on church state issues. We had a little bit of a conversation about this yesterday, and you surprised me because you said that, you know, Christians are trying to bombard the public sphere with all of their crashes and all of their Ten Commandments commandment, monuments and all the rest. And they’re trying to enforce this majority Aryan religion on everybody. And they’ve been they’ve been somewhat successful anyway. But you’re saying that is undermining that strategy is undermining itself. Tell me tell us more about that. 

There’s a legal strategy that the religious right has used of as fully equal access, that it it falls under the Supreme Court’s precedents, under viewpoint discrimination and public forum policy. Let’s take a courthouse grounds. The courthouse of you know, the county says we’re going to allow people to put monuments in the courthouse grounds. They can’t then discriminate on the basis of viewpoint. It has to be open to everyone. They can’t just say we’re gonna let a Christian group put up a Ten Commandments monument. We’re not gonna let anybody else do it. If they do limit it to only the Christian group, then that becomes government speech as opposed to private speech on public property. And so there’s a couple of several very big Supreme Court precedents on this. Well, in recent years, what has happened is skeptical groups, atheist groups, humanist groups have begun using those same laws to get access as well. Schools are great example. We have the Equal Access Act, which was created for the purpose of getting religious groups into schools, allowing students to form Bible clubs and Christian prayer groups and such. And so it says you cannot if you’re going to allow any non curricular clubs at all. Then you have to allow them all. You can’t say we’re going to let Christians do it early. Well, gay straight alliances, there are now thousands of those around the country. They’ve used the same law, the Secular Student Alliance CFR on campus. 

The Christians must be really psyched about this. 

No, that’s the funny thing, is that once, once once we started using the same process to get access to the same resources. All of a sudden it’s well, maybe this isn’t such a good idea. There have been schools when a gay straight alliance club has formed or a secular student alliance club has formed. There’ve been schools that have tried to to to avoid that by saying, all right, we’re gonna get rid of all non curricular clubs. Only clubs that are directly related to curriculum are allowed. Which is sad because that takes opportunities for extracurricular activities away from not just atheists, but everybody. 

So in the public square, then, should we get sort of atheist sculptors to start putting up? I don’t know. What would they be putting up and sort of bombard the square? Right. 

I absolutely think we need to do two things. We need to develop a monument to humanist principles as an alternative to Ten Commandments, monuments and everywhere in the country that there’s a Ten Commandments monument. We should be submitting that to the county and saying we want this monument there, too. Now, they have two choices. They can say, no, we’re going to only allow the Ten Commandments in the Christian stuff, in which case it’s government speech and we have Establishment Clause case against them. Or they have to say, yes, it’s an open forum, in which case they can’t keep us out. So either way, we win dastardly plan. It’s yeah, we’re sorry. We’re hoisting them on their own petard to use it all for it. 

We had actually on the show Sean Faircloth. He’d. He did a book, Attack of the Theocrats. Right. And what he one of the things he argues in his public speeches do, he says that, you know, the traditional genre, so to speak, of church state litigation is kind of a problem because we’re always fighting over symbolic things. We’re fighting over Ten Commandments, prayer in schools under God in the Pledge of Allegiance. And he’s saying that if you want people to care about church state issues, you got to find real cases where human beings have stories of harm and suffering that are inflicted by religion being in the public squares or intervening in someone’s life. So the classic case is. I understand it would be if you’ve got a pharmacist who, because of their religious beliefs, will not give a woman the morning after pill. Who needs it and needs it then? And so, in effect, this pharmacist is forcing that woman to have an unwanted child. When you tell those stories and that’s how you get really the human emotion involved. What do you think about. 

Yeah, I agree with them completely. Look, I. I mean, I was a journalist for four years. Stories that have a human element to them where you can say this isn’t just an abstract point of policy. Real people’s lives are affected by that. Absolutely is effective in getting people to say, OK, now I better take this seriously. So I think he’s absolutely right. I think we do. And I think when it comes to the church state cases, we’ve got great stories to tell about what happens to people who file Establishment Clause cases. I mean, Jessica Alquist, perfect example. 

We’re actually going to talk to Jessica. They are dead. I mean, I’m wearing the shirt sort of as a tribute to her. 

Her case is just the latest example. And this has gone on for almost a century now. Every time someone files a church state case, this goes back to Vashti McCollum, Ellery Schempp, all of those. They are at the very least, they get death threats very often. They’re also met with vandalism, outright violence. Joann Bellen, Oklahoma, had her house firebombed for filing a case against mandatory prayer at her daughter’s school. That was in 1989. That wasn’t ancient history. This stuff really goes on. There is a very dark underbelly there. And those stories, I think, are really compelling. People go, wow, there’s more to this. This isn’t just sort of an abstract fight over some clause in the Constitution. There’s something more going on here. 

So we got to humanize it. Absolutely. Let’s let’s talk about you’ve been blogging. I don’t know how long is your blogs? This is 10 years. November 2003 was when I started getting there, getting there, Sophia, even nine years following the culture war and all of these issues go right down into the middle of the trenches of the culture war. Throughout this time period, the culture war ain’t better. I mean, the culture war is everyone’s talking about how America is uniquely polarized. These are the kinds of issues that are most polarizing. What’s the big picture on where it’s going? 

I don’t know. I mean, yes, certainly I think we are more polarized in almost every way in this country now and in the culture wars. Yeah, that continues to rage. I mean, we sort of joke about the fact that the right seems to care about three things gods, guns and gays, you know, and I think they’re losing these battles. We’re winning in the long run. 

You’re seeing massive illegal censor. 

Well, in terms of public opinion, I think I mean, you look at the equal rights for gays or marriage equality where 2003, when the Goodridge decision comes out, it’s 80 percent opposed. Now we’re about 53, 55 percent in favor. We’re seeing huge shifts here. Younger people are leaving religion and are more likely to be far more likely to be freethinkers than they were before. And I think that’s leading to a counter reaction. They are scared. I think particularly on the gay rights issue, they know they’re going to lose. 

It’s the generation. Exactly. The kids they’re going to be 20 years from now. I think it’s the people against that are going to be fine with that, right? Yeah. Look, I’m 44 years old. 

The I was two years old when the Loving versus Virginia decision came down, overruling overturning state laws against interracial marriage. Hugely controversial. In 1969 when that happened. Find somebody today who thinks that was wrongly decided outside of the KKK. You’re not going to find them. 

That’s only 42 years. 43 years that that’s happened. I think we’re in the middle of that process with gay rights. I think 20 years from now, we’re going to look back on this, just like I look back on what happened when I was a child and go, what were we thinking? Did we really do a majority of people really think it was okay to make blacks have separate drinking fountains? Did we really think we’re going to be baffled by why it was a big deal in the first place? And I think I think the religious right knows that they’re losing these fights and that it’s sort of the counter-revolution. It’s that leads to a more furious, more emotional response. We’re losing this. We have to ramp up the battle even more and become even more adamant about it. And that’s going to be, I think, a smaller and smaller group taking larger and larger tactics, particularly, I think, symbolic tactics to fight that. 

Well, I think there’s definitely going to be more pain in the meantime for the people who are caught up in these. That’s actually, you know, and I want to thank you for giving an optimistic perspective sometimes on Mr. Gloom and Doom. 

So I think, too. But I think we’re winning. People will appreciate that. 

Will, thank you for. And let’s let’s leave it on that note, because it’s a good one. So, Ed Brighton, it’s been great to have you on point of inquiry. 

Great being here. Thanks. Thanks, Chris. 

You bet. So, as I mentioned before, there’s a lot going on here at the Center for Inquiry. While we are doing this show. And so what we actually did was we caught up with you just heard about her, Jessica Alquist, who is a great sort of young hero of the separation of church and state for her successful lawsuit in Rhode Island about the display of a prayer banner at her high school. So let’s now go to the interview with her. 

So we are here now with Jessica Alquist, the Rhode Island high school Freethought activist who successfully sued over the display of a prayer banner in her high school auditorium. And the ruling actually just came down. It was in January in her favor. So, Jessica, first of all, congratulations and welcome the point of inquiry. Thank you. 

So you’re 17. But unlike most 17 year olds, you have 15000 Twitter followers. I checked and The New York Times wrote an editorial in your favor. What is that like? 

It’s different. I think a lot of people assume that it must be overwhelming for me or something. I still feel like the same person. It hasn’t really changed my life that that much. But it’s been a lot of fun. 

But it was must have been difficult at times. I read in the paper that someone called you an evil little thing. So Ed Brayton now wears a T-shirt to support you. He says evil big thing on it. And the florist didn’t deliver to you during this, not just anyone. 

My my representative called me an evil little thing on a radio talk show. And that’s kind of why it turned into a big deal. And yes, about five or six different flower shops in my state wouldn’t send flowers to me because they didn’t want to send flowers to that atheist girl. And so we actually had to look outside the state for flower shops. 

Was there ever a moment where you thought, maybe I don’t want to go through with this? No. 

From the beginning, I knew that it was something I was going to follow through with. I didn’t know it was going to be a lawsuit for the first seven months or so. But once it came into the conversation, I wasn’t opposed to it. And I’m glad I did it. 

Now, you gave a talk here the other night. It was entitled We Are Young. Let’s Set the World on Fire. So besides getting that song even more stuck in my head. What what did you say? 

You can credit Debbie Goddard with that. Like, I wanted to talk about activism, obviously. Last year was the first time I ever spoke at this conference and I just told my story. And this year I wanted a chance to talk about why the details of my story were that made it effective. That made that made this activism in not just another lawsuit. 

Well, share one of those with us. 

I found it very important to be doing as much media as I could locally and nationally, so that the average person would be kind of exposed to this new concept. 

Now, what do you think the significance of this event is for high schoolers who are free thinkers, college students or free thinkers? What does it mean for them? 

I think things like this are a sense of community that most people who identify as atheist, humanist, freethinker lack when they’re in their own school. And I think things like this I know the first time I ever came here, I was overwhelmed, just feeling like I finally fit in somewhere. 

Well, that’s that’s really good to hear. So now what is what is next for you? You’ve established yourself as a spokesperson, basically. So when are we next going to hear from you? 

SSA conference in a couple of weeks. What is next for me? I want to keep being an activist. I don’t know what that will bring. I don’t know what exactly will happen with that, but I can’t imagine not doing it now that I’ve started. 

Well, again, congratulations on your courage and your victory. And thanks for being on point of inquiry. Thank you. 

So a seriously inspiring story we got there from Jessica Alquist. And, you know, it’s good to hear about the Freethought activists around America and what they are achieving, especially someone as young as her. 

And so now we move on to our last interview of the show and a man who needs no introduction, Jamie kills to him. 

The co-host of Citizen Radio and much else as well. Jamie, thank you so much for being here. 

Oh, I don’t know. I was following fucking Jessica, like one of the most inspirational kids ever, ever. Who you are. I have a bottle of whiskey here, like had old man alcoholic. And like, she was like, I’m 16 and just she’s awesome. I love her. She’s great. 

Well, listen, I want to ask you first chair Jonah Goldberg. Right. What is up with you and Jonah Goldberg? 

Jonah Goldberg is sort of like a microcosm of everything I’ve fought against in my career. 

Guess where, you know, he’s just like another right wing pundit who goes around and bullies people and he bullies people for the same reason most people bully people, which is no one calls them on their shit. Right. So, you know, you have these conservative pundits who can go on TV and advocate for these wars, advocate for LGBT kids to not have equal rights, and no one will call them on it because that would be partizan. And so Jonah Goldberg, one of those guys where, you know, I first discovered him when he was advocating for the Iraq war, very adamant, adamantly, you know, bet another writer, one call, I think, like a thousand dollars or something. That and two years after the Iraq war, people would be celebrating it in the streets and all this stuff. Not true, you’re right. It didn’t go well. Here we are in 2012. We still have contractors there and. What is he doing now? Well, if I went on TV and I advocated a war or for multiple wars that killed more people than fucking Osama bin Laden dead on September 11th or more Americans even. And, you know, let alone the millions of Iraqis who were killed or displaced. I would say, you know, I’m to take a break for advocating wars on television. Like, maybe I’m a.. Like, reflect. Like go to like a meditation retreat or like whatever. Or drink myself to death. I don’t know. But I’m not going go on TV and advocate another fucking war. And he is on TV advocating that for the same reasons you advocate interact them. Now we have to go in to Iran or wherever. And you know, he’s not the only person. He’s the same with John Bolton, with all these guys who, again, if you advocate for a war that has killed hundreds of thousands of people. You think the TV stations would be like, take a year off, take five years off. But these are the experts, right? And they never really get called on it. So, you know, fine, like my partner and I like what hack them, wants to some radio and on Twitter and you do what you can do. 

But then Jonah Goldberg started railing after the youth and he was being interviewed and he said that, you know, the voting age should be raised and young kids really stupid, that scientifically it’s scientifically proven that young people are stupid, bulbar, scientifically. Raso Sure. Yeah. 

And so. So pretty much so. So first of all. So that pissed me off before he got to sort of the big punchline and pissed me off because, you know, sure, a lot of young people are still, but. 

My audiences, a lot of young people and I’ve met a lot of older people who have given up and I’ve met a lot of older people who have become apathetic or a lot of older people who say we have to play into the system. 

And, you know, you take what you’re given whenever. And I’ve met a lot of young people who have been arrested defending people, defending homes. You know, there are people whose homes have been foreclosed on in New York by these banks that, you know, we bailed out. And these kids have said, that’s bullshit. You’re not going to foreclose on them. We’re going to sit on this lawn and get arrested if we have to, to defend this home. I’ve seen kids who have put their bodies on the line against the war, is for gay marriage, for whatever, and they should be able to vote. I mean, these kids are braver than a lot of the older people who I’ve seen on TV who have given up. Right. Set me mad. And then he said, you know, we talk about socialism. And he said something like, you know, I think that these kids should have the socialism be to have beaten out of them. I mean, he very quickly covered his, like, metaphorically or know realistically or whatever. 

Literally, a conservative is much more than liberals actually like corporal punishment. I mean, that’s one of the biggest differences. 

I want to see a red state. It’s a state where you have more corporate partners. You have you have the death penalty. 

And so which arguably enough matches up to all the countries that want a bomb, that they pretend to be better than words like we’re the only industrialized country that still has the death penalty. I mean, all the countries you want to attack, but you’re saying we’re better than a more and import American freedom to them. They use the same kind of corporal punishment we do. But. Right. 

So he said that. And I’m like, I don’t know why that just pushed me over the edge. I think it’s just because I’ve just seen, you know, I meet all these kids after shows and they’re just so fucking inspiring to me that I was like, oh, so you want to beat up these kids? I know you’re not going to do it because I know you’re not a brave person, but you’re gonna say it in front of a bunch of other cowardly Republicans and you’re gonna get a laugh out of it. I think it’s kind of bullshit. And so pretty much what I did was I tweeted him first and I said, hey, man, you know, you’re about four weight classes bigger than me. I fight. I can hold my own, but I’m one hundred and forty five pound Vienne democratic socialist, but close enough. You know, I’m from Brooklyn. I’m pretty much everything. Right. Let’s do it if you want to beat this. So I didn’t threaten him by any means. I said, but if you say you want to beat the socialism out of someone, I’m volunteering to be that person. But I’m someone that has a very fair chance of fighting back aggressively and for not to end the way you want it to end. And so he ignores me and you know, the website Wonkette, which is a great political cooks. 

Yeah. They worked with her. Yeah. Carnation, they wrote to me and they were like, you want to write about it? 

And I was like, yep. And I wrote about it. I made him I laid it out. And more than 140 characters where I said, you know, again, laid out all my reasons. I’m sick of bullies, blah, blah, blah. And then I said, I’m not saying I’m under attack. You on the street. I’m calling you out on your challenge. It’ll be a regulator fight. You can wear headgear, you can wear protective equipment. I’m not going to because I feel fine about the situation. You are much larger than me. And it will be refereed. It’ll be time limits. And the winner gets to donate to whatever charity you want. And we created a hashtag on Twitter called Jonah Fights for Charity. 

And so this just went everywhere where we talked about on citizen radio. 

And like, our listeners are so fucking funny and we’re like, don’t be threatening, don’t be aggressive. And they were like, come on, man. Like, don’t you have a favorite charity? Like, you know? And they just started doing it and doing it and just hammering him until finally he he stayed off Twitter for two days. 

My friend checked his records and like apparently he averages he posts like twenty five times a day, stayed off Twitter for two days. The two days we started and then came back, freaked out, blocked me. He blocked my partner, started yelling at my some of our followers, wrote about it in the National Review Online, had a tweet like, here’s a response to the idiocy on my Twitter timeline, which like I favorite Ed immediately and like it just made me laugh so hard. And of course, he turned it down and he turned it down because that’s what happens when you call bullies out on their shit. And, you know, I remember like. 

My wife and I started citizen radio, and the point was to be like essentially radio for like outcaste, right? 

Right around the Obama inauguration, a bunch of TV stations kind of brought us in for meetings because they’re like, oh, bama, young people like him. You’re young. We’re idiots. And I haven’t listen to your show like take a meeting. And I remember we were in a meeting with MTV. 

And they were great. They agreed with us on, like, almost everything. Then we went to like the next level when we got to. I think was like the V.P. or whatever. And they essentially said, I’ve never talked about this before. But they essentially said. You know, while you’re gonna show the other side, right? And we were like, no. And they were like. But you have to more like put me down because you get the other side on every other TV station. 

Right. So obviously, you have your Fox News’s. But MSNBC still owned by G. Still profit from the war, right? Still there. Their longest show is Joe Scarborough, who is a conservative. Even the video average, Rachel Maddow and Chris Hayes and so on. 

No, everybody has their limits in terms of central, you know, exact ending the same. 

Right. I mean, we know you look at the fencing in the center, you know, and writing other things. 

Well, I mean, the Sunday morning talk shows, which everyone I used to think before I became like, really political, that like David Gregory was like a liberal Mike Meet the Press and all these shows were balanced because you see the D under their names or you see the hours. But it’s like they don’t have women that have them out. I mean, there are so many weekends I go by. There’s no women, no people of color on these shows are moderate Democrats. And, you know, and the left is rarely represented except for when they occasionally have Rachel Maddow, only because Matto makes their ratings go up again, off, off, off the chain. And so. So they said that. And we were like, no, man, if you want to see the other side, go to any other fucking station. We’re like, MTV was built on this sort of like rebellious spirit. Right. I mean, that’s what it was. It was just like, what the fuck is MTV like? It’s like punk rock is the music your parents want to hear, etc.. And and they were like, yeah. On. Okay, OK. 

But you’re going to show both sides, right? We’re like, no. And I remember my wife had this killer line which ended up being where she goes. Look, you know, when it comes to LGBT rights, there’s no other fuckin side where it’s like during the civil rights movement, you wouldn’t be like now to defend civil rights used Martin Luther King and the balance that like a member of the Klu Klux Klan. Like you’re not gonna have that. They were like, yeah. Read on. Anyway, it was nice meeting you guys. 

And they do that and then balances by as balance is the most insidious kind of bias. Centrists are just as ideological as everybody else, although they pretend not to be. 

I agree. Well, I want to talk about. I want to know about Athie ism. You know, you were well-received, to put it mildly. Performer speaker at the reason, surprisingly well. Yes. Well, and that’s actually what I want to talk about, because, you know, if you watch your your rap performance comedy is awesome, but you actually have some digs at eigth. He’s doing plenty digs at religion, digs at ageism. So how do you feel about, you know, mobilized Athie ism? Sure. What we’re trying to get across. 

I think it’s really important. And I would never want to, you know, would ever want to come down on what groups like Center for Any Career or Whatever are trying to do, because, you know, being part of a community is like being part of a family where you get more mad at your family than you get mad at strangers because you care about them and you care about the message. 

Right. So when atheists do something horrendous, something sexist and racist, obviously I become more vocal about it because I’m like, you’re supposed to be better than that. Whereas f you know, Mike Huckabee says, I mean, homophobic. If Jonah Goldberg says some embraces the mike. Got it. That’s kind of your thing. You know, I mean, that’s what you do. So so every so when stuff like that happens, when you know, Richard Dawkins, you know, breaks his form silence to be like, you know, I have to defend the sexual harassment. Or when Sam Harris advocates for profiling Muslims at the airport or Arabs at the airport, any percent Muslims, Arab people at the airport. I feel like I have to speak up as an atheist. And but at the same time, when that stuff happens, I become so mad. I want to lash out at this community. I want to just go fuck it. I just want to be a progressive. I just want to be a good person. These atheist groups are. I don’t care anymore. But then I remember what it was like when I was a agnostic. I think about the e-mails I’ve gotten from kids who listen to this from radio, who we’ve turned onto authors like Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris or Peezy Myers or Rebecca Watson, who, you know, maybe grew up gay and father, were going to burn in hell. 

And then, you know, it’s one thing for people to be like, I accept you as being gay. It’s another thing to be like there’s no hell. And I realize that community is really important to these people. And it’s really important to know that there are groups and I hate to compare ageism to a support group because we would like to believe that a good or bad role, among others, it is swearing we are a minority and like and it is, you know, so I mean, people don’t really talk about. 

So, I mean, it sort of is something is really important and I support it. And I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t support it. With that said, I think that. You know, because I do care about he has them and take him on. I care about Athie ism, not just in the sense of, you know, it’s easy to go after the Westboro Baptist Church is easy to go after bigots. But I also care about Athie isn’t because I’ve had members in my family who are alcoholics, so I have a gigantic bottle of whiskey next to me. It’s for my voice. But who have you know, I had a lot of problems. And even though they’re very liberal and they’re cool with gay marriage and all this stuff, I’ve seen them, you know, relapse with drugs and be like God has a plan or that whole AA thing. Raddest is my higher power. And here’s a bigger plan for me. Or I’ve seen people not follow their dreams because they think they think everything happens for a reason and it’ll all work out. And and that breaks my heart, you know, I mean, not you. I don’t want to say just as much than, like, human rights being violated, but, like, it breaks my heart, too. And so I definitely believe that my life got much better. Ever since I became an atheist. So because I care about it that much, because I believe in it that much, I hate to see it become this disgusting, misogynistic boys club, especially because, like Israel, Palestine is a really good example where when you criticize any war crime that Israel is committed, which has been well-documented by human rights groups, by the U.N., etc., a lot of even liberal, you know, Zionists or or whoever. I mean, Obama, whatever will accuse you of being anti-Israel. I’m a Jewish person. I do not want any innocent civilians being Israeli, Palestinian to be hurt, etc.. But you know, Alan Dershowitz, this week, for example, professor at Harvard said Alice Walker is a supporter of terrorism because Alice Walker, the Pulitzer Prize winner of the, you know, The Color Purple, spoke out against Israeli war crimes and. And they’ve called supporters of Palestinian rights like Holocaust deniers and stuff like that, crazy stuff, and Athie ism is I mean, it’s certainly after 9/11. 

And I think because of 9/11, there’s a strain of Athie ism. It’s called new ageism that is really, really into at least criticizing Islam, but also it bleeds into conservative foreign policy approach where you actually end up being supportive of the right. 

So I was forced to abandon my Israel analogy and go into what you’re saying is really interesting. 

So when I first became an atheist, my wife and I were on the road together before I was making a living doing comedy, and she was making the renumerated. We’re just like struggling artists. 

And she was an atheist and I was an agnostic. And it was funny because I considered myself a liberal. My standup I talked about gay rights. I even made fun of religion. And I met my wife and everyone I knew was agnostic. I met my wife. And you know where you’re having that, you know, kind of first date conversation was like, oh, me too. Me too. Me too. And I go, yeah, fuck religion. And she’s like, yeah, me too. And then she goes, I’m an atheist. And I swear to God, as someone who was at the time bashing religion on stage in my head, I go, but can I go to hell? 

Really? Yeah. Because I was so brainwashed, even though I was an agnostic, I was saying, fuck religion. There is no part of me that I’m like, yes, like that’s too far. So we went on the road and we get to Niagara Falls, which is interesting enough because we’re in Buffalo right now. We’re at an Agora Falls. 

And I do the classic agnostic argument. Right. We’re looking at Agric House and I go look at this, Alison, like how can something this beautiful I have just come about. And yeah, she did. She told me. She told me this is how Niagara Falls just grabbed it. And I go, oh, fuck. Right. 

She knew the answer right there. It would just took me over to the fucking. Oh, OK. And I was like, you know, you had a job with you. It was like, oh, right. 

Yeah, awesome. And I was like, oh, my God, that’s amazing. And that was on the Niagara Falls. That’s why I became an atheist and suddenly became like a kid when you’re on the road. I was like, how is that mountain created? Like, it was just like an idiot. I was just a slow child. But like, she was explaining to me. I’m like, that’s awesome. That’s like more magical than thinking there was a God. So so we’re on the road. 

We do the Niagara Falls thing. I’m like, oh, my God, am I an atheist? It was like literally right around the time the God Delusion came out. And and so I read it and we actually were on the road. 

We’re living out of our car. So my wife is reading it to me. I’m like, this is this amazing read Sam Harris. This is amazing. Watch him online. And I’m like, fuck, man. He’s like this. Like new, like young, funnier. Like he’s gonna be the guy. And so then I’m here, I get online and I start Googling him because I’m like, I want to see everything Sam Harris is done. And so all this Fox News stuff, and I’m like, awesome. Like, he went on Fox News and like probably like tä Bill O’Reilly up and all this stuff. And then I’m like, well why are they agreeing? Because I’m like I’m a liberal. I disagree with the wars. And that’s when I realized what you were saying where I’m like, oh, a lot of these atheists are also about like bombing the fuck out these Muslim countries. 

And I’m got to make a confession. I, as a liberal atheist, was in 2003 pro-war, and I am embarrassed by it. I bought the Colin Powell line. 

Yeah. You know, and I later wrote a piece for Columbia Journalism Review in which I analyzed what all of the editorial pages, the major editorial pages had said about the war and how there had been such jingoism. And I said, this is my attempt to do penance, basically. But yeah, I mean, my brother my brother is still to this day, if it comes up, he’s like, Chris, you just be quiet because you were pro-war and you know it. 

Now, what was it? I mean, I was I was young. I was so, you know, 21, 22. And and I remember just being so confused. And this is before I read up on anything, foreign policy or whatever. And it’s like they told me it was this how much it was this. And I was, you know, half living in New York. So I was like super scared and upset. And, you know, then you watch the TV of the bombings and they’re like, we are bombing the people who did this. And they make it look like a video game. Right. It’s all neon green. You’re not seeing the pregnant women in the hospital. You’re not seeing the dead children. Just looks like a video game. And you’re like and you would watch, like, the smoke cloud go up and you like, fuck, yeah, I like that smoke. 

That was the guy. That was the guy who did 9/11. 

And Jamie, how do we get a pacifist guy who is also a mixed martial arts? I mean, I don’t know if you’d call yourself a pacifist, but like it know, I mean, I only make sense of it. I mean, it’s just two separate things. 

I mean, to me, mixed martial arts to me is like the most honest sport. You know, my buddy Joe Rogan has a whole bit about you watch soccer, you watch football and, you know, football especially. It’s super violent. And it’s like all these guys want to punch each other, but they doubt it’s masked around throwing a ball. Right. And if you look at every animal ivory, you know, we’ve all fought at some point and. 

You know, I think that there’s no sort of better way to challenge yourself. 

I mean, not only has. I mean, you know, if you were always like I’ve had people on Facebook like, oh, you’re vegan, would you support this bloodsport? I’m like, do the fucking chickens don’t sign like five fight contracts and get, like, fight of the night bonus? They’re like, it doesn’t really have to. You know, they don’t really have a say in it. You know, to me, it’s just this it’s this great challenge where it’s really scary and it’s really hard. And, you know, me and my brother, my brother’s a division one wrestler. And you really smart kid is really progressive. And we have this conversation a lot where it’s like, yeah, how are these past events attracted to this sort of violent sport? And I think it’s because I mean, first of all, if you look at the statistics, there’s never been a death in professional mixed martial arts. There’s more serious injuries and cheerleading, especially football, especially boxing. I mean, boxing. It’s all headshots. Not only is it all headshots, but then when you get knocked out, they fucking give you time to get back up. Whereas mixed martial arts, you tap someone out, you can take it to the ground, you can some better. A guy can give up the second there’s a knock out, the ref jumps in and stops it. And so, you know, I do it because it’s just sort of ultimate fight or flight where it’s like lots of guys, you know, we’re sort of a tough shit talkers. And, you know, even though a bunch of hacky comics always talk about like guys always think about sex, like maybe but guys also think about, you know, being in a restaurant or a bank or whatever, and what happened of that place got robbed. And how would defeat the robber with ninja skills we don’t have. 

And you actually maybe would you want to challenge yourself? 

And it’s like when you have a guy on top of you throwing punches, a bigger guy, you have see fighter on top of you throwing punches. It’s like you can quit or you can try to fight back. And I don’t know. I just think it makes you a better person. Like we’ve we’ve had a bunch of our listeners on some radio, like they’ve started jujitsu or they started more. And it just like they’ve I mean, not only gotten healthier and lost a ton of weight, but like they’re just I’m just more confident in everything I do because we do think about it. It’s like getting in the ring with gloves and then fighting someone. Is it really scary? I mean, it’s something that a lot of people would be really scared to do and it’s like if you can do that, you can give a speech at work. If you can do that, you can do a lot of stuff. And you know what? So what pisses me off is whenever people talk about this bloodsport aspect, you know, there are fights on last night, which, by the way, the Vigen won the main event in the UFC fight on ethics. 

Shout out to I did not know about the vegan action on AVC about I said, no, it’s a lot now. 

But when you watch these guys fight after the fight, it’s like they embrace like brothers. I mean, there’s something about like when you fight someone, you know, there’s so much respect there. I mean, it’s not it’s not like a street fight if a guy tries to start a fight. The thing is, professional fighters will be the last people to fight in a bar because when someone tries to fight in a bar, literally, I will be like, you know, you don’t do this at all because I get to fight train guys who are fucking excellent at what they do every day. I don’t need to prove myself to you, whereas it’s the people with the ego who have never been in a fight or have never been punished. You have never tapped out who feel like they constantly have this kind of machismo or something to prove. And and I feel like fighting and actually sort of like put your ego in place cause like, no matter how good you are, you will always get punched in the face. No matter how good you are, you always tap out. And so when you go on the street, it’s like you’re never improve. And there’s some of the smartest fuckin, you know, chinless guys I know. 

Well, let me let me take us back to Paul. Politics said we’re gonna have to actually wrap this up. But this all day. Yeah. Let’s some let’s just conclude by let me ask you, you know, where do you see, you know, as as advocate on the left. You know, secular person. I mean, how do you how do you and someone who supported occupy the 99 percent of the earth? I mean, how do you feel about where we are now? I mean, do you think that we are getting somewhere progressively or do you think that America is just like people or people are down in the dumps? Yeah. I give us a feel. 

Sure. I think I think it’s both. I think I think it’s really tough because, you know. 

I know a lot of people who listen to our show and who talk to me, you know, voted for Obama are very excited for this big change. 

And, you know, Obama as much as I want to love them. And I love the stance you just took on gay marriage. I love the stance you just took on immigration. You know, still has like were civil liberty policies. And George Bush, when it comes to the drone strikes, when it comes to assassinating American citizens without trial, and they don’t want to vote for him and they feel like the whole system’s corrupt and the whole system is corrupt. You know, you can’t say Obama is the same as Romney, obviously, because, like, Romney is worse. You know, Obama didn’t say he wants to get rid of planet Earth. But they’re too close for comfort. Right. But if you want to vote for Barack Obama because he’s better than Mitt Romney. Great. But Occupy Wall Street, as much as they start to become ignored or marginalized by the media, really do something important, just like the Wisconsin occupation. Do something important, just like the revolution in Egypt is something important, which is even though the media will make it seem like he didn’t do anything, it was the first time Barack Obama mentioned the word class. Andrew Cuomo, the mayor, the governor of New York, you know, had a millionaire’s tax. Now there’s a whole. I think it’s a Tumblr called like, what the fuck that Occupy do? Or something that just lists all the things that have happened or the accomplishments that have happened since Occupy Wall. 

It changed the message and had the best soundbite ever with 99 percent rappers that I mean, not that it’s more it’s more the soundbite in this media age, I think. 

One hundred percent. And the problem is lots of people who are small business owners think that they are the one percent. They’re not the fucking one percent. Alice, you are a billionaire. Yeah. You’re not the fucking one percent. 

And the problem is a lot of these small business owners are getting fucked over by Democrats and by Republicans. But I think if you want to vote for Obama. Great. But I think you definitely have to get in the street. And I think that, you know, atheist groups, Daphnia have to organize. And I think that all this organization, I mean, it’s starting to really come together and we do have a broken system. But if there are enough people in the streets, you know, I mean, I’m reading about the Egyptian revolution right now, and they just accepted they’re going to have Mubarak forever. They just fucking accepted it until one day things got so bad that they just stood up and were like, we’re done. And, you know, a really similar thing is happening here. And, you know, I don’t want riots in the street or anything like that. 

But I feel like if people like Barack Obama, who does seem like a much obviously better person than a Mitt Romney if. 

People are holding him accountable as opposed to just blindly sort of worshiping him. He’ll do the right thing. But if he doesn’t have that mandate, he doesn’t have hundreds of thousands of people in the street being like these fucking moors make gay marriage legal and protect a woman’s right to choose, etc. then he’s gonna be like, I got to go with the people who are giving me money right now. But again, if atheist groups don’t just sit around, you know, beating off Dawkins books and they do just get out in the streets. I think we can do so much good. And it’s happened already. It really, really has. And it seems ridiculous because, you know, I mean, atheists, you look at the polls that I’m sure you’ve talked about are like one of the most hated groups in the world. 

Yes. Nobody. Most. Yeah. You saw it. You’re on up with Chris Hayes. And he showed the figure. 

Right. But on a one on one basis, I’ve had conversations with Christians. I’ve had conversations with Republicans where they’re just being fed the same bullshit. All of us are being fed and some of them are bigots and some of them are idiots. But some of them are poor. And some of them are scared. And some of them believe the news because the news is called the fucking news. And why would you distrust it? You know me and you have time to read blogs all day. Right. Like, so we can, like, read that. We can read international newspapers or whatever. But when, you know, Brian Williams ran MSNBC tells them something. Why are they going to be like, you know, over their line? They’re just going to believe it. But I mean, I do think that there are members of the Tea Party, not the racist or homophobic ones, who are being shit on me, the same people that members of Occupy Wall Street are being shit on by that. If they just talked about it and had a conversation, they would be like, oh, yeah, we’re all being fucked by the same billionaires. 

And on and on that note, we’re going to actually ruffle feathers Wolf. This is an awesome. Yeah. But thank you so much for being with us, Jamie, on the show. That’s awesome. I have you. 

And that is our show today, folks. And I want to thank you for listening. We actually and I want to ask you to tune in next week as well. We have a great guest, Tina Dupuy and other comedian, and she is very funny. She does something called the Sarah Palin Enemies List, which you definitely want to know more about if you don’t already. And she’s also got an amazing story because as she tells it, she grew up in a in her words, a cult. She got out of it. She became a defender of rational thinking and free thought. So it’s kind of an inspiring story. So definitely tune in for that next week. And we also want to hear your comments on this show so you can send e-mail to feedback at point of inquiry DOT, or you can leave comments on our Web site at point of inquiry DOT or we’re on Twitter at point of inquiry and on Facebook at slash point of inquiry. And if you’re watching us on YouTube, then YouTube dot com slash center for inquiry. So there’s a lot of places where you can leave comments. We hope that you will do so. And I do need to say that the views expressed on this program are not necessarily the views of the Center for Inquiry or of its affiliated organizations. So get that out of the way. A point of inquiry is produced by Adam Isaac in Amherst, New York. And its music is composed by Emmy Award winning Michael Waler. I’m your host signing off Chris Mooney. 

Chris Mooney