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September 9th, 2013
03:29 PM ET

Fox News host: Atheists 'don't have to live here'

By Daniel BurkeCNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
[twitter-follow screen_name='BurkeCNN']

(CNN) - Fox News pundit Dana Perino said she's "tired" of atheists attempting to remove the phrase "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance, adding, "if these people really don't like it, they don't have to live here."

The co-host of Fox's "The Five" was referring to a suit brought by the American Humanist Association in Massachusetts, where the state's Supreme Judicial Court heard a challenge to the pledge on Wednesday.

The group's executive director, Roy Speckhardt, called the suit "the first challenge of its kind," but Perino begged to differ.

Perino, who was White House press secretary for George W. Bush from 2007-2009, said she recalled working at the Justice Department in 2001 "and a lawsuit like this came through."

The former Bush spokeswoman added that "before the day had finished the United States Senate and the House of Representatives had both passed resolutions saying that they were for keeping ‘under God’ in the pledge."

"If these people don't like it, they don't have to live here," Perino added.

David Silverman, president of the American Atheists, called Perino's comments "bigotry."

"I, for one, am tired of those Christians, like Ms. Perino, who think that equality is somehow un-American," Silverman said. "If Ms. Perino doesn't like being only equal, it is she who will have to leave America to some other country that doesn't value religious liberty."

READ MORE: Famous Atheists and Their Beliefs 

In 2002, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with atheist Michael Newdow who argued that the words "under God" in the pledge amounted to an unconstitutional government endorsement of religion. The Supreme Court overturned that ruling.

Congress added the words "under God" in 1954 amid the red scare over the Soviet Union. In November 2002, after the Newdow ruling, Congress passed a law reaffirming "under God" in the pledge.

Greg Gutfeld, another co-host on "The Five," continued the discussion after Perino, saying the Pledge of Allegiance "is not a prayer, it's a patriotic exercise. In a sense, it's basically saying: Thanks for giving us the freedom to be an atheist."

The Massachusetts case, which was brought by an unidentified family of a student at a school in suburban Boston, will be argued on the premise that the pledge violates the Equal Rights Amendment of the Massachusetts Constitution.

READ MORE: Behold, the Six Types of Atheists

It is the first such case to be tried on the state level: All previous attempts have been argued in federal court on the grounds that "under God" was an unconstitutional violation of the separation of church and state.

CNN's Kevin Conlon contributed to this report.

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Atheism • Belief • Church and state • Courts • Culture wars • News media • Schools • TV

soundoff (7,255 Responses)
  1. Ron

    there are trolls on cnn !

    September 10, 2013 at 11:05 am |
    • So Obvi

      Like Babble-verse poster "Ron" perhaps?

      September 10, 2013 at 11:08 am |
  2. B4Cons

    The mouth breathers sure have a difficult time comprehending that Freedom of Religion also covers the freedom not to believe.

    September 10, 2013 at 11:05 am |
  3. Rob

    Originally the pledge didn't carry the phrase "under god" as a Christian I would love nothing more to see the phrase remain. However, there is ideologically a separation between church and state as an American I would support it's removal because we are a melting pot or a salad bowl and the phrase does leave out other religions ideology. The alternative would be that we could add perhaps "under god, Allah, Christyna, Buddha, Osiris, Thor, nothing, I don't know, Thetans etc. so on and so forth. Why not mention everyone so as not to offend anyone it makes as much sense as anything else. Is it practical? Probably not but if people will take off the gloves and focus on real problems we have in the country than I would find the price more than worth it. To have our time devoted to more worth while issues be it homelessness, economy, employment, maybe a think tank for education or a reform of education so that we can compete with other countries. We are in desperate need of a renaissance so that ideas can change and we as a people can be better for it. Maybe gain humanity as a society as a whole. We are to love even those who would do us wrong if you are a christian and sadly I see more judgements being passed and it is shameful when radicals use any form of religion or lack there of as a way to get the end in which they desire. As citizens of this country we should use our knowledge of what we are as a Country of variety a Heinz 57 if you will, and think of the people of all nationalities and religions our decisions do effect. We need to evaluate all pros and cons to make a truly informed decisions. Which requires self evaluation and can lead some to say you're for us or against us and it simply isn't so cut and dry. That being said I'm stepping off the soap box.

    September 10, 2013 at 11:04 am |
    • What is going on? FREEDOM

      It be easier to just get rid of the law and allow each individual to speak the pledge their own way.

      September 10, 2013 at 11:06 am |
  4. Mopery

    I can't wait for the day when we become one nation, over god.

    September 10, 2013 at 11:04 am |
  5. Fishesquire

    Dana is free to leave the United States also and go to one of the world's wonderful theocracies – Saudi Arabia, Iran? Have fun in one of those great places Dana! (BTW I'm still waiting for all those conservatives who said that they would immigrate if Obama won reelection – need some help packing guys?). Seriously, how many wars and innocent deaths does the world need before we kick religion to the curb and rely on our rationality, instead of our fairly tales.

    September 10, 2013 at 11:03 am |
    • BobPitt

      Dana is the one that did not know what the Cuban missile crisis was, but she was high up in the bush administration. Talking about a useless , ignorant person, what else would you expect from her..?

      September 10, 2013 at 11:07 am |
  6. Ctrygrl

    It is none of this news persons business who lives in the country or what they do if it is not illegal. If she wants to express her opinions and her network agrees she can do an editorial under the heading of editorial and say anything she wants. As for the lawsuit it is silly, the word God only matters if you believe, if you don't wish to say it don't, if you do not wish to say the pledge don't. We do live in America you do have a choice. You can believe in little green pixies for all I care AND for all the government and the news people should care.

    September 10, 2013 at 11:03 am |
    • Just the Facts Ma'am...

      So why don't we change it then, you wouldn't mind right?

      One nation, under little green pixies, indivisible...

      September 10, 2013 at 11:08 am |
  7. Jim

    I can agree with Dana on one issue, ’the phrase under God violates their human rights’? These people, who as far as I’m concerned are only out there looking for their 15 minutes of fame, should quit acting like the jerks they are and stop wasting everyone else’s time. To them I might be willing to say, “Go back where you came from.”
    However, if Dana is referring to anyone who questions the phrase ‘under god’, referring to anyone who doesn’t believe in God (definition of an atheist), and they should be told to leave the country, I say enough is enough. Gee, call them atheists if you want, but remember, probably the more correct term should be ‘realists’ in that they can see outside of the box. Haven't got their brains stuck in the past so far that they can't see there is more out there than what the story book tells us. The same book that says the earth is the center of the universe and the sun and all the planets revolve around us. Those same words that for hundreds of years had the Roman Catholic church label anyone believing otherwise as heretics, of which I suspect many were probably even killed. With both NASA and SETI calculations agreeing that there are in excess of 6.1X1022 planets in our universe (more planets then there are grains of sand on our entire planet), maybe ‘thinking outside the ‘book’ and looking at things realistically isn’t such a bad thing.

    September 10, 2013 at 11:03 am |
    • Jim

      excess of 6.1X10(22 power) planets – 61,000,000,000,000,000,000,000

      September 10, 2013 at 11:08 am |
    • Voice

      She never said people should be forced to leave, she just said they are free to leave if they don't like this country. A law suit against the phrase under God is like a law suit against serving italian food. If you don't like the food quit whining about other people eating itailan food and just don't eat it.

      September 10, 2013 at 11:18 am |
      • doobzz

        "A law suit against the phrase under God is like a law suit against serving italian food."

        Good grief. What kind of lazy thinking is this?

        September 10, 2013 at 11:25 am |
  8. GLP

    Freedom from religious persecution goes BOTH ways.

    September 10, 2013 at 11:03 am |
    • Doug Wilson

      You are absolutely right, freedom of religion goes both ways. Removing "Under God" harms no ones freedom. However, having it there does.

      September 10, 2013 at 11:09 am |
  9. John Nichols

    I say: Religious nuts don't have to live here – I wish they'd all get the hell out of my country and leave me in peace!

    September 10, 2013 at 11:02 am |
    • AtheistFools

      Atheists feeling oppressed much?

      September 10, 2013 at 11:14 am |
      • doobzz

        This whole article is about Christians whining that they are being oppressed.

        September 10, 2013 at 11:34 am |
  10. Dyslexic doG

    If God is powerful enough to create the universe, don't you think he'd have a more foolproof way of getting his exact message across to future generations than this endlessly translated, edited, confused, modified, twisted, corrupted book of stories that is changed by religious power brokers to suit each generation?

    Wouldn't god's word be carved on the moon, unchangeable and for all to see? Wouldn't it be spoken unchanged by a species of animal? Wouldn't it be written microscopically on every stone or every tree? Wouldn't there be some space age material that had god's voice recorded, uncorrupted over the centuries and there for everyone to hear.

    Wouldn't there be parts of God's word that reflect computers or artificial intelligence or DNA or modern medicine or future medicine or electricity or space travel to other parts of this amazing universe he created? Wouldn't there be talk of gender and race equality? Wouldn't there be talk of Asia and Australia and the Americas and Europe and Africa?

    Instead the bible is limited to horses and carts and herbs and grain and swords and shields and misogyny and racism and slavery all set in the deserts of the middle east. The Bible is so obviously a product of bronze age man, you must be in denial to even argue that it is the word of god. There may or may not be a god or gods, but this book of bronze age voodoo and oppression has nothing to do with him, her or them.

    And stop it with this "not the word of god but words inspired by god" cop out. That just means it was written by greedy, evil men who got their way by claiming that god told them to do something. That's a self serving scam that should be scorned, especially by anyone claiming to love an omnipotent god. That scam is an abomination and an insult to your god ... as is the bible!

    September 10, 2013 at 11:02 am |
    • Brian

      That was beautiful.

      September 10, 2013 at 11:05 am |
    • Amir

      Actually he did , the holy Quran is totally unchanged unlike the bible . And it does not contain stuff like god having a son or ...

      September 10, 2013 at 11:07 am |
      • cedar rapids

        but it has been changed. The modern translations have been changed to try to claim how scientifically accurate the quran is.

        September 10, 2013 at 11:53 am |
    • skalamoosh

      SO you're saying faith in God should only depend on clearcut ridiculously obvious unquestionable evidence? Call me crazy, but that is not what faith is.

      When you wake up in the morning, do you need a plumber's certification written on the showerhead every morning clearly stating that the shower will work? Do you need a mechanic's letter on the steering wheel stating clearly that the car will start? NO.. you have faith that they will just work. So you too are living by faith. I have faith that God has taken over my life and changed me for the better. That He has provided a way to salvation from sin and death. That this short time on Earth is just a passing mist of a time compared to the eternal destination. If it were so simple and easy, there would be no faith required. The problem with the translations and issues of argument is that God's Word is handled by men who are imperfect and twist, change, distort, and destroy anything pure and holy.
      If the evolution, science, and mother earth that you worship in place of God were so perfect, then why doesn't it do the same? There are many things that seem so clear, then after years of research are proven to be something completely different. Science is mans interpretation of what we see around us and is limited by our understanding and research, of which we will never fully comprehend for even the simplest of scientific truths.

      September 10, 2013 at 11:13 am |
      • Dyslexic doG

        more hokey, down-home analogies.
        like safety blankets for Christians.
        they can spit them out on demand.
        and somehow think that they proved a point.

        September 10, 2013 at 11:47 am |
      • cedar rapids

        'SO you're saying faith in God should only depend on clearcut ridiculously obvious unquestionable evidence?'

        Oh absolutely it should.

        'When you wake up in the morning, do you need a plumber's certification written on the showerhead every morning clearly stating that the shower will work? Do you need a mechanic's letter on the steering wheel stating clearly that the car will start? NO.. you have faith that they will just work. '

        But I dont tell people that my car or shower has commanded me to follow certains laws or that gays will burn in hell.

        'If the evolution, science, and mother earth that you worship in place of God were so perfect, then why doesn't it do the same? '

        do what the same?

        September 10, 2013 at 11:56 am |
    • Dean

      Obviously you haven't read the Bible. It even talks of the earth being round and "hanging in the sky" while man thought it was flat and held up by large elephants for more than another 1000 years.
      The Bible is not to tell man about wonders that man will discover in the future, but it is to tell him how to live.
      Jesus was sent to earth as proof. Wise men do not have to be reminded of something on a daily basis. Faith does that.
      And if you were a believer and had a relationship with God He might even talk to you.
      I can feel His hand in mine and that's enough for me.

      September 10, 2013 at 11:14 am |
      • fyi

        1. The Bible does not say that the Earth is a sphere (even though the Hebrews had a word for that). It says, "circle", which is different.

        2. That the Earth is a sphere was postulated by scientists quite far back in time - yes, even as far back as the time when the Hebrews lived. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spherical_Earth

        3. Yes, there are some nice concepts for practical human behavior in that book, also found elsewhere in the ancient writings of other cultures; but the supernatural fantasies in it are quite unverified.

        September 10, 2013 at 11:41 am |
      • doobzz

        You arrogantly assume that non believers haven't read the bible. That is the first of many errors in your post.

        September 10, 2013 at 11:47 am |
      • cedar rapids

        'Dean
        Obviously you haven't read the Bible. It even talks of the earth being round and "hanging in the sky" while man thought it was flat and held up by large elephants for more than another 1000 years.'

        The bible says the earth is round. Thats a circle, not a sphere.
        And the Earth doesnt hang anywhere (it actually says he hangs the Earth on nothing), it orbits the sun and as part of the milky way it revolves around the galactic center.
        The idea of large elephants was in Hindu mythology only. The Ancient Greeks has shown the world was not flat in the 6th century BC.

        September 10, 2013 at 12:04 pm |
  11. Elf Odin

    I ain't 'fraid of no ghost. Or Xtian, or Fox News Talking Head.

    September 10, 2013 at 11:01 am |
  12. Lionly Lamb

    If the "Pledge of Allegiance" did NOT have "Under God" in its wording would it be worthy its recitation..? Would American humanisms recite the Allegiance Pledge with honors and dignities or will Americans be ever "indignasciously" subverted thru hypocrisies uttermost reaches and depths of mutual disparagements..?

    September 10, 2013 at 11:00 am |
    • Savior

      Would be funny if most people knew that the pledge of allegiance was written by an actual, avowed socialist.

      September 10, 2013 at 11:03 am |
    • GLP

      Modern culture hold a person's word in high regard. I am sorry that you need to swear to a man in the sky to mean it when you swear. Instead of "Under God" use "For ALL men."

      September 10, 2013 at 11:05 am |
  13. Chettmix

    There are two classes of people:

    1. Those who live and let live

    2. Those who believe that they know everything and want to speak fro everyone else.

    I personally believe that the first group are true Americans no matter what they believe in. The second group is responsible for most of the problems not only in the country but throughout the world. Pure cancer.

    September 10, 2013 at 11:00 am |
    • Mopery

      Wow your model is so simple it can't possibly be wrong! No, really. I'm totally not being sarcastic here. Seriously.

      September 10, 2013 at 11:03 am |
    • dino

      Sounds very Libertarian to me....which is good.

      September 10, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
  14. Harry Cline

    For the record folks, I'm sick of those hiding behind the word 'equality' and or jumping on the civil rights wagon.

    Now having said that, I want 'under God ' out of the schools and 'In God We Trust' removed from our currency, and I sure as hell don't want Gay diversity and acceptance taught in the schools either.

    Let's say we all compromise eh..

    September 10, 2013 at 10:59 am |
    • Dean

      This is one nation under God. Get over it.

      September 10, 2013 at 11:02 am |
      • Doris

        No it's not. Get over it.

        September 10, 2013 at 11:04 am |
      • GLP

        What ONE nation does your God choose again?

        September 10, 2013 at 11:06 am |
      • ReligionIsBS

        Dean, which god? Zues? Allah? Thor? Vishnu? Let me guess, you think its one nation under your god. amiright?

        September 10, 2013 at 11:06 am |
      • Ben Jordan

        That's funny, our founding fathers didnt see it that way...

        September 10, 2013 at 11:09 am |
      • doobzz

        This is my country, too, and I am not under your god or anyone else's god.

        September 10, 2013 at 11:46 am |
    • Chettmix

      That's fine with me....schools about learning the skills we need to succeed....Gay history and topics of God should be discussed elsewhere.

      September 10, 2013 at 11:03 am |
  15. bostontola

    People like Dana Perino play to the audience. They have weak character. They are educated, they know that this country has a consti;tution that protects minorities (like atheists) and that is the backbone of our system. Much of their audience is ignorant and is taught to fear minorities. They play to them for ratings. You can argue that is their job. I guess you have to put food on the table, but if you had any confidence in your talent you could get a job where you didn't have to make up a persona.

    September 10, 2013 at 10:59 am |
  16. Dave

    Obviously has not passed her American History class or maybe she just hasn't read it!

    September 10, 2013 at 10:59 am |
  17. Veritas Lavinga

    Freedom of Religion means FREEDOM from tyrannical government imposing atheistic and lgbtbbq agendas above that of the Christian man, woman, and child.

    Send the atheists to Canada, there's certainly enough of them up there today, thanks to the Internet.

    September 10, 2013 at 10:58 am |
    • Doris

      Thanks to our founders we also have a degree of freedom from religion by way of the Establishment Clause. If you're unhappy living with atheists, then you're welcome to relocate to the nearest theocracy.

      September 10, 2013 at 11:01 am |
      • Steve

        That would be Iran, I beleive. Could be wrong, but am sure they would love it there....religion is everything. Maybe thats why they are so backwards and so much less advanced than most developed nations.

        September 10, 2013 at 11:19 am |
    • Just the Facts Ma'am...

      "imposing atheistic and lgbtbbq agendas above that of the Christian man, woman, and child."

      What you don't seem to grasp is the fact that no atheist or lgbt person is asking for rights "above" any one else, they just want EQUAL rights. Is that so hard to understand? They are not asking to replace "One nation, under God" with "One nation, under a disco ball singing YMCA" or "One nation, under No God because God doesn't exist!" No, they are only asking that the pledge be for everyone, just like this great Nation. Not a Nation for the few, but a Nation for all, the rich, the tired and the poor. Removing "Under God" does not diminish it in the least and is not forcing the religious to say anything against their religion.

      September 10, 2013 at 11:21 am |
  18. mil.mike

    The words"under god" weren't in the original pledge. They were added to the pledge in 1948 or something. The word god wasn't intended to be in the pledge and it shouldn't be in the pledge. Having said that, who cares, say it don't say it, whatever. Just stop whining about it.

    September 10, 2013 at 10:58 am |
    • Just the Facts Ma'am...

      I wonder how all the Christians would whine if the pledge was changed to "One Nation, under Allah" which is just another word for God, but I can't imagine the Christians in America just saying "whatever, it doesn't matter, as long as God is mentioned it can be any religions God, right?"

      September 10, 2013 at 11:24 am |
  19. Bwana Salama

    THIS is the reason why other people out there, mock the US, because of the stupidity of some. If you don't believe in God, just don't say that phrase. The litigious nature of some of these people, that includes gays, atheists, minorities, etc, etc. is overwhelming. Nobody now can discuss things and get to an understanding of what is good for everyone, without having to be so damn selfish and try and get their "day in court". No wonder those damn sharks are out there ready to deal and wheel to make a buck. Now, please don't come back and say, well, we suit because of inequality, blah, blah, blah. You don't have to tell me about inequality, what I'm saying is what about common sense? what about some decency? how about consideration for those who have been here before us? what about respecting others without being offended by everything they do or say? It goes both ways, but NOBODY wants to make an effort to work things out. We have a president, who happens to be black, no less, who has pitched us, one against the other, just to keep himself in power. Has he done anything to benefit the US? Not a damn thing, all he does is blame someone else, he's never responsible for anything he says or does, and we are left to continue the in-fighting just so he can get his point across, of "injustice". Screw that train of thought. We are better than that. We are all Americans, let's work together to change this in-fighting. If you're an atheist, just don't say the word or phrase that contains the word "God", and get over it. It doesn't hurt anybody, and it doesn't really make any different to you, except that you would have the bragging rights to say you won, if you do, or it may get a religious nut all riled up and hunt you down, when all you have to do is, skip the word. Where's common sense anymore in our country(my adopted country), what the hell happened to us?

    September 10, 2013 at 10:57 am |
    • AtheistFools

      @Bawna Salama

      Well said.

      September 10, 2013 at 11:02 am |
    • Jason

      Yeah. Now go back and read that with "God" replaced by the "N" word. Maybe then you'll get a small idea of how grating the "G" word is to atheists. Well... maybe some will...

      September 10, 2013 at 11:06 am |
    • Doris

      The stupidity occurred when they altered the original.

      September 10, 2013 at 11:06 am |
    • Scott

      How can you write so much, yet SAY so little? Under god was never originally there, it should never have been put there. Just because a wrong was done a long time ago, doesn't mean we should just tolerate it. That line of thinking is what kept women from voting for so long, what kept slavery in place so long, and afterwards what kept segregation in place for so long. Your line of thinking has done tremendous damage over the life of our country that has held us back by many years.

      September 10, 2013 at 11:08 am |
    • Logic N LA

      Using your own logic, The phrase one nation under God should be left to the individual to add- not for someone to remove from the pledge's official version. the same holds true of money- the phrase "In God We Trust" should not be on our legal tender. I am sure one of the reasons you came to the U.S. was for the liberties and freedoms we enjoy as individuals. These are the cornerstones of the country. As any religion or group tries to influence our leadership or basic freedoms, it is the duty of Americans to call them on in. You may live in an area of the country where just eliminating the phrase would work without retaliation. But there are religious/conservative strongholds in part of this great country that will actually punish a child or adult for that sort of thing. the proof is the article we are responding to. I am religious and older. but I do not have the right to tell someone else how to believe by pushing my feelings down their throat.

      September 10, 2013 at 11:13 am |
    • Bwana Salama

      ...It's a word, people. To the guy who wrote "you say so little", that's my point, there's no much to say about it. Why get riled up because of a word? You want to use the "N" with me? go ahead, does it define me? does it represent who I am? would I give you the benefit of my attention or emotion because you want to insult me? NO WAY. Now, try and put a finger on me to hurt me, and I'll make my 234 lbs count, otherwise, it doesn't make any difference. Should people be insulting others, of course not, but there are worse things than words. Live by the strength of your character, and don't let other people or temper tantrums define you.

      September 10, 2013 at 11:52 am |
    • cedar rapids

      'what I'm saying is what about common sense? what about some decency? how about consideration for those who have been here before us? what about respecting others without being offended by everything they do or say?'

      Quite right, which is why we say revert it back to what it was before people were forced to make a choice as to wha thry say during the pledge.

      'We have a president, who happens to be black, no less, who has pitched us, one against the other, just to keep himself in power. Has he done anything to benefit the US? Not a damn thing, all he does is blame someone else, he's never responsible for anything he says or does, and we are left to continue the in-fighting just so he can get his point across, of "injustice". '

      You spout that nonsense after just now calling for common sense, decency and consideration? Talk about hypocrite.

      September 10, 2013 at 12:08 pm |
  20. Dyslexic doG

    Yesterday morning there was a knock at my door. A pleasant and enthusiastic young couple were there.

    John: "Hi! I'm John, and this is Mary."

    Mary: "Hi! We're here to invite you to come kiss Hank's ass with us."

    Me: "Pardon me?! What are you talking about? Who's Hank, and why would I want to kiss His ass?"

    John: "If you kiss Hank's ass, He'll give you a million dollars; and if you don't, He'll kick the guts out of you."

    Me: "What? Is this some sort of bizarre mob shake-down?"

    John: "Hank is a billionaire philanthropist. Hank built this town. Hank owns this town. He can do whatever He wants, and what He wants is to give you a million dollars, but He can't until you kiss His ass."

    Me: "That doesn't make any sense. Why..."

    Mary: "Who are you to question Hank's gift? Don't you want a million dollars? Isn't it worth a little kiss on the ass?"

    Me: "Well maybe, if it's legit, but..."

    John: "Then come kiss Hank's ass with us."

    Me: "Do you kiss Hank's ass often?"

    Mary: "Oh yes, all the time..."

    Me: "And has He given you a million dollars?"

    John: "Well no. You don't actually get the money until you leave town."

    Me: "So why don't you just leave town now?"

    Mary: "You can't leave until Hank tells you to, or you don't get the money, and He kicks the guts out of you."

    Me: "Do you know anyone who kissed Hank's ass, left town, and got the million dollars?"

    John: "My mother kissed Hank's ass for years. She left town last year, and I'm sure she got the money."

    Me: "Haven't you talked to her since then?"

    John: "Of course not, Hank doesn't allow it."

    Me: "So what makes you think He'll actually give you the money if you've never talked to anyone who got the money?"

    Mary: "Well, maybe you'll get a raise, maybe you'll win a small lotto, maybe you'll just find a twenty-dollar bill on the street."

    Me: "What's that got to do with Hank?"

    John: "In this town, Hank is the same as good luck. All good things are attributed to Hank'"

    Me: "I'm sorry, but this sounds like some sort of bizarre con game."

    John: "But it's a million dollars, can you really take the chance? And remember, if you don't kiss Hank's ass He'll kick the guts out of you."

    Me: "Maybe if I could see Hank, talk to Him, get the details straight from Him..."

    Mary: "No one sees Hank, no one talks to Hank."

    Me: "Then how do you kiss His ass?"

    John: "Sometimes we just blow Him a kiss, and think of His ass. Other times we kiss Karl's ass, and he passes it on."

    Me: "Who's Karl?"

    Mary: "A friend of ours. He's the one who taught us all about kissing Hank's ass. All we had to do was take him out to dinner a few times."

    Me: "And you just took his word for it when he said there was a Hank, that Hank wanted you to kiss His ass, and that Hank would reward you?"

    John: "Oh no! Karl has a letter he got from Hank years ago explaining the whole thing. Here's a copy; see for yourself."

    From the Desk of Karl
    1. Kiss Hank's ass and He'll give you a million dollars when you leave town.
    2. Use alcohol in moderation.
    3. Kick the guts out of people who aren't like you.
    4. Eat right.
    5. Hank dictated this list Himself.
    6. The moon is made of green cheese.
    7. Everything Hank says is right.
    8. Wash your hands after going to the bathroom.
    9. Don't use alcohol.
    10. Eat your wieners on buns, no condiments.
    11. Kiss Hank's ass or He'll kick the guts out of you.

    Me: "This appears to be written on Karl's letterhead."

    Mary: "Hank didn't have any paper."

    Me: "I have a hunch that if we checked we'd find this is Karl's handwriting."

    John: "Of course, Hank dictated it."

    Me: "I thought you said no one gets to see Hank?"

    Mary: "Not now, but years ago He would talk to some people."

    Me: "I thought you said He was a philanthropist. What sort of philanthropist kicks the guts out of people just because they're different?"

    Mary: "It's what Hank wants, and Hank's always right."

    Me: "How do you figure that?"

    Mary: "Item 7 says 'Everything Hank says is right.' That's good enough for me!"

    Me: "Maybe your friend Karl just made the whole thing up."

    John: "No way! Item 5 says 'Hank dictated this list himself.' Besides, item 2 says 'Use alcohol in moderation,' Item 4 says 'Eat right,' and item 8 says 'Wash your hands after going to the bathroom.' Everyone knows those things are right, so the rest must be true, too."

    Me: "But 9 says 'Don't use alcohol.' which doesn't quite go with item 2, and 6 says 'The moon is made of green cheese,' which is just plain wrong."

    John: "There's no contradiction between 9 and 2, 9 just clarifies 2. As far as 6 goes, you've never been to the moon, so you can't say for sure."

    Me: "Scientists have pretty firmly established that the moon is made of rock..."

    Mary: "But they don't know if the rock came from the Earth, or from out of space, so it could just as easily be green cheese."

    Me: "I'm not really an expert, but not knowing where the rock came from doesn't make it plausible that it might be made of cheese."

    John: "Ha! You just admitted that scientists don’t know everything, but we know Hank is always right!"

    Me: "We do?"

    Mary: "Of course we do, Item 7 says so."

    Me: "You're saying Hank's always right because the list says so, the list is right because Hank dictated it, and we know that Hank dictated it because the list says so. That's circular logic, no different than saying 'Hank's right because He says He's right.'"

    John: "Now you're getting it! It's so rewarding to see someone come around to Hank's way of thinking."

    Me: "But...oh, never mind.

    from Jhuger.com

    September 10, 2013 at 10:57 am |
    • btechno

      too funny!

      September 10, 2013 at 11:14 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.