Friday, July 25, 2008

Patrick Greene checks in

Patrick Greene, the San Antonio atheist who got all up in Ray Comfort's shit about a stupid bumper sticker, has sent an email to us once again. (He also left a comment here, which I rejected, because it contained his phone number. After the Yomin incident, in which both his and Matt D.'s phone numbers appeared in comments, I have a new policy of no phone numbers on the site at all, even if people wish to post their own. It's too easy a thing people can abuse, whether through the placing of inappropriate calls, or the wild accusations and blame-assignment of same.)

Patrick's letter is as follows:

I read your web site and wish equal time on your show.
I want to tell people the truth about the Walmart experience.
And I want to tell everyone about the bumper sticker thing.
By the way, so far Kirk Cameron hasn't gotten back with me yet.
If I was really screwing up, they would never have taken the sticker off the site.
I have taken all I am going to take from Christians. My wife and I have taken their crap for 30 years.
Call me at XXX-XXX-XXXX any day from noon to 5:00p.m.
Patrick Greene
And you have my written permission to use my full name and e-mail address on everythingyou write about me.
I am not in the closet about anything.

Well, that's great you're willing to stand up for yourself, Patrick, though I suspect that Matt will not be terribly sympathetic to your "equal time" request, you having called him "such an asshole" and all. Seems to me you're just an attention-seeker, quick to fly off the handle not only at any perceived slight to your atheism, but also to anyone who fails to validate your sense of victimhood and join the drill team cheering your fight for justice. And if you really believe that, as you said, "if I was really screwing up, they would never have taken the sticker off the site," you're as naive as you are reactionary. Ray Comfort is already making fun of you, and most absurdly of all, he did so simply by repeating the same insipid creationist non-arguments that he's been using all these years to impress the uneducated. All he had to do was quote you sounding pissed off, which you did, then he simply replied with the stupidest arguments in his arsenal in a calm tone. And he comes out of it looking like a million bucks. Good job, Pat old boy. When you lose the high ground to a clown like Coke Can Man, you're in bad shape.

As for the "crap" you've been put through for so very long by Christians, good grief, what are you talking about? Sounds to me like you're nursing a persecution complex the size of the Alamodome, though I confess I wasn't around all those decades Christians were making your life miserable, denying you jobs and killing your dog and peeing on your shrubs and flicking boogers at your car or whatever it was they were doing.

You'd think you would have, at some point, figured out that the majority of the populace in this country were religious, that that fact was unlikely to change in the near future, that some of those religious people will be normal and easygoing to get along with and that some will be offensive and stupid, and simply chosen to live your life accordingly. What horrible history of injustices have you suffered at their hands for so long, that the camel's back was finally broken by the straw of Comfort and Cameron's dopey bumper sticker? "That's enough, goddamn it! I'm suing!"

Dude, we all find it infuriating, the things Christians get up to in this country. Undermining science education, denying fundamental rights to gays and lesbians, covering it up whenever their priests rape children, filling school boards with unqualified ideologues to promote their superstitions as facts to impressionable students, distributing propaganda movies calling scientists Nazis, what have you. What we do about it is try to come up with some positive pushback, through the efforts of such groups as Texas Citizens for Science and the NCSE, through outreach to other atheists via our media efforts, through getting people active at the polls (the stupidity of Ellen "Don't Vote" Johnson notwithstanding.)

There's a thing about picking your battles wisely. Making a spectacle of yourself over the imagined injustice of a bumper sticker doesn't qualify under the "wise" category. "Petty," "childish," "shallow" and "over-sensitive"? Yeah, those, sure, all day long. Let me repeat this: you gave Ray Comfort, of all people, an opportunity to make himself look good. If that doesn't spell E-P-I-C F-A-I-L, nothing does.

Seriously, man, you're pulling a Yomin big time.

But if you really want to come on the show and undergo the dubious pleasure of being dressed down to your face by Matt Dillahunty...well, as I said, scheduling the guests is no longer my duty on the show. Though I suspect, if you did come on, it would be an experience you'd not forget in a hurry, and would probably become one of the show's most popular downloads ever.

PS: Right before I posted this, Patrick replied to my reply to his original email, with examples of all the horrible injustice he's endured at the hands of Christians. Seriously, I don't know how the man has survived.

Try being denied an apartment because we are atheists.

So find a better apartment complex. There has to be more than one in your town. And why would your atheism need to come up while apartment hunting at all?

Try being given death threats because we are atheists.

I used to host the TV show, fer cripessake. I probably got 20 death threats for your every one.

Try being denied payment for a taxi trip, because I am an atheist.

Hardly compares to the rack or the stake, but I probably would find that annoying. So were you the cab driver in question here? Again, why would your atheism have come up? How many cabbies get ripped off every year by ride jumpers for reasons having nothing to do with religion?

Those are only the beginning.

Remember that scene in Reservoir Dogs with Steve Buscemi and the World's Smallest Violin?

Addendum, Sunday: Patrick says he'll call the show today, and sent us a lengthy letter explaining why he was turned down for an apartment (which, to hear his description, is one incident 20 years ago), and assuring us that he is shocked — SHOCKED! — that other atheists would dare criticize him! Which, obviously, means that we are ashamed to be atheists and afraid to defend ourselves. Which should be plain as day to anyone who's watched the TV show and read this blog, right?

He also added:

My lawsuit was going to be based on the fact that they [Comfort and Cameron] were taking an opinion [on the bumper stickers], and making it a fact to all believers.
Dumbshits believe that.

Yes, Patrick, you're absolutely right.


  1. I'm an atheist, and drove a taxi for 2 years. I got heaps of tips, and never had anyone try to under-pay me. I'm just saying.

  2. It seems like Patrick's problem is not his atheism but his personality. If you behave badly, people will treat you badly. If you behave nicely, people will treat you nicely. It's just that simple. Not always easy, but always simple.

    I don't think he should be on the AETV show. The show presents positive atheism.

  3. Well, as I said. People who want to be guests on the show are advised that calling the host an asshole before you ask isn't the most helpful way to land you a guest slot. Our experience of Patrick up to now raises real questions as to whether or not he was denied an apartment lease because he's an atheist, or an obnoxious atheist who chose to get all up in the manager's face about it.

  4. Patrick can call in, he's got the number...and he's going to be part of a special edition of AE, whether he calls in or not. I won't promise equal time, that depends on what he has to say and how much time it takes me to respond.

    Russell and I will be doing an episode on "Atheists who got it wrong..." or maybe "Stupid Atheist Tricks" or something similar.

    It's only fair. After pointing out stupidity in other groups, it'd be a bit hypocritical not to turn that eye on ourselves.

    It's not like I haven't done stupid things myself.

  5. Yeah, like you said, why would atheism even come up at all in situations like that?

    "Here's my lease application and references. Oh, and I think your God is a lie. But your apartments are beautiful! Too bad Jesus is dead!"

    "You're going to the airport, right? Cool. Hey, did you know that if you're Christian, you're a deluded asshole?"

    Seriously. Atheism never comes up unless I'm carrying on a conversation with someone I know and we start talking about religion. And sometimes not even then.

    If you do X, knowing X might have some negative fallout with the people around you, and then they meltdown, you can't completely abdicate all responsibility. Yes, people should be more tolerant, but when you know they're not, you don't try to pretend the world's a different way and then get indignant when the expected happens.

    Pat should take a cue from our third president:

    "Nothing gives a person so much advantage over another as to remain always cool and unruffled under all circumstances."
    --Thomas Jefferson

  6. Should make for an interesting show. I would love to hear Patrick explain how atheism came up in all those instances like finding an apartment, driving a cab, or paying for your stuff at Walmart. Is he covered in scarlet "A"s? "Jesus sucks" tattooed on his forehead?

  7. I have to wonder how the hell this guy gets into all of these situations.

    "Hi, I'd like to order the steak and eggs. Medium rare for the steak and over easy on the eggs, please.

    And just so you know, I'm an atheist and think the bible is full of bullshit.

    Oh, and coffee too."

  8. hi guys!
    Has anyone heard of the Italian suing the Church (the Big One) for claiming to present factual knowledge of Jesus? He said they were promising people benefits without evidence that their claims were based on truth. The case was accepted (marvelous enough), and is afaik now at the European Court for Human Rights. The last time I checked months ago, it was still incue to be heard.

    p.s. matt, tracie, I'm the Felix who sent you the emails on the Batman show, so here's who I am. I recently put my picture up to my account. Communication feels much better when you know how someone actually looks like. Yeah, I know that I look like you-know-who.

  9. I have to echo this article's sentiments here. How does atheism come up in these scenarios? I spent a few decades in apartment dwellings, both as a believer and as an atheist (after I'd deconverted). My religious opinions were never questioned. In fact, if I understand correctly, it's illegal for that question to even exist on an application for renting housing. Same with work. It's illegal to ask about an applicant's religion. These rules are put in place _specifically_ to avoid prejudice and discrimination in these areas--to provide equal opporutnity to all.

    I'm not saying it's right that groups exist who would be treated prejudicially if they opened their mouths. "Don't ask, don't tell," is a crap policy, in my opinion. I'm guessing, for example. heterosexuals in the military aren't "not telling" after their Saturday night dates. So, it's hardly a way to promote true equality. But what it does do, in the case of equal opportunity housing and hiring, is allow people who may have to make a living in less than progressive areas of the country, find it easier to do so until their region "catches up" with the more civilized areas.

    Meanwhile, HOW does atheism keep coming up in all these weirdly non-religious situations? I'm not trying to be judgmental. I've certainly read about real prejudice aimed at atheists (sometimes at atheist children--which is despicable). But I have to wonder if "atheism" is an excuse here and if Patrick isn't actually being discriminated because he obnoxiously shoves his ideology down people's throats.

    It's like the Xian self-fulfilling persecution: Shove your religion down everyone's throat--and anytime someone tells you to take a flying f*ck--then you know you're on the right track, because the Bible says people will despise you for your beliefs.

    Really? For your beliefs? Not for your obnoxious behavior?

    Again, I can't say for sure, but this is what appears, to me, to be happening.

  10. There's a better way to get back at apartment managers who discriminate, the local, state, and federal departments of housing and urban development. They even run sting operations for things like this, thanks to egregious racial and anti-Semitic practices in the past. Believe me, they take these things very seriously, although I'm assuming that they haven't slackened off in the last eight years...

  11. I'm (hopefully) approaching the end of what's been 14 years of various rental living. Never has it ever come up that I'm an atheist, nor do I know the religious opinions of my landlords, their staff, maintenance guys, or anyone else. Currently I don't know the religious opinions of my realtor or the people selling the home I want to buy.

    Now I am a large, loud and never shy to talk guy from Philly with a blog, a podcast (not mine, I'm part of a Herd) and who spends entirely too much time arguing issues of politics and religion online. If I'm not getting into shit, what the hell is Patrick doing, and/or what kind of people is he having the misfortune of running into so frequently?

  12. Patrick's story is that his wife had written a letter to the local paper over some matter, and the apartment manager got incensed when she realized she was dealing with those people. I pointed out to Patrick there are any number of ways he could have handled that (I don't know about 20 years ago, but today it would certainly be illegal, and he'd have had real grounds for a suit), but to nurse a grudge over something like that for 20 years is probably not the best way.

  13. Patrick is acting just like churchgoers who picket, say, a PFLAG speaker at some public venue.

    Refute speech with which you disagree, don't suppress it.
    I'm glad to see that you AE guys aren't jumping on this moronic bandwagon.

  14. As for me and my family we will always worship God. I have peace in my heart and comfort knowing I am never alone. I have had so many wonderful things happen through prayer. But I always remember to thank him for all the beautiful things he has given us and done for us first. If this Patrick person could feel this peace he would not feel he needed to attack those who choose to love God. I will pray for him . Maybe he needs to stop and smell a beautiful flower once in awhile.


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