Who Is Watching?

What happens when the fear that a bearded man in the sky is watching your every move disappears?

When the constant fear that a mysterious and bearded man in the sky is watching your every move disappears, what happens next? Will you still be a nice person, or do you need a prison guard without a gun making sure you're not harming anyone? You'd think, seeing as helping other human beings is a basic tenet of any major religion, that the believer would be leading the pack against the heathen atheists. But according to a study released last week from UC Berkeley that examines a potential link between compassion and religion: “[A]lthough less religious people tend to be less trusted in the U.S., when feeling compassionate, they may actually be more inclined to help their fellow citizens than more religious people."

Doing good for others is a matter of conditioning, having the good fortune to not have to cheat others to survive, and/or simply because the DNA worked out well and you ended up with good bones in your body. But it is not, and cannot, be simply because you're scared of God.

In a speech that Kurt Vonnegut gave in 2007, he quoted his son Mark on what very well may be essentially the true meaning of life: “We are here to help each other get through this thing, whatever it is.” A mindset like that works well enough on its own. 

Onto the roundiest of roundups!

- In Somalia, a suicide bomber (spoiler: most likely part of Islamist terrorist group Al shabab) detonated himself outside of a cafe and took a handful with him.

- After Barack Obama's awesomely secretive visit to Afghanistan, ostensibly to spike bin Laden's head in the end zone on the one-year anniversary of his death, a few Taliban suicide bombers blew themselves up and killed at least seven.

- Of course J.T. Ready, the neo-Nazi anti-immigrant activist founder of the U.S. Border Guard who killed his girlfriend and three others before offing himself in a Arizona last week, took to the Internets recently to rant a whole bunch against Jewish folk.

- So, there's a new law in Ireland that requires priests hearing confessions about sexual abuse of children to report said confessions to the cops. This is a good thing, as it will obviously help catch people who sexually abuse children. However, putting a kink in that plan is that fact that the priests are just going to go ahead and defy that nasty law, because of the Bible and stuff.

- That Orange County “spiritual healer” who was caught weirdly healing with raw eggs (thumbs up!) and his penis (thumbs probably down?) without permission (yeah, thumbs way down!)? Apparently you can add “serial” to the front of his moniker from now on, as he's been accused of playing that game before.

- Getting retribution for a fallen armed robber who was attacked and burned alive by a mob, a group of gunmen opened fire on a Nigerian cattle market and killed at least 34. It's still unclear whether these gunmen were part of the Islamist militant sect Boko Harem (whom the government blames) or were Christian (seeing as the previously mentioned fallen robber was pleading for his life in Christian-ish language), but it was one or the other.

- A suicide bomber in Pakistan blew himself up in a crowded street market and killed at least 11.

- Also in Pakistan, a U.S. drone took out eight suspected militants from their bombing perch high above.

- Here's a fun, not-very-Christ-like, and extremely convoluted campaign by anti-abortion crazies in Maryland: Todd Stave is the landlord of a doctor who provides abortion services in the building. So, instead of going after actual abortionists, which is kind of boring at this point, the insane activists have (1) littered his wife's parents' neighborhood with graphic “shame” flyers full of graphic depictions of abortions; and (2) started protesting outside of his 12-year-old daughter's middle school. New lows every week with this bunch.

- This woman in Ohio who was accused of stalking one of her former correctional officers—which is a very specific kind of batshit crazy—has the word “God” tattooed in about 48-point font right there on her forehead.

- It is a known scientifically proven fact that if everyone were to go about living their lives doing the opposite things, and holding the opposite viewpoints, as Kim Kardashian, that the world would be an infinitely more wonderful place. Case in point: She's a big fan of Rick Santorum.

- A pastor in North Carolina, supporting the asinine Amendment 1 that's all the rage in gay-hating circles these days, literally encouraged parents to punch their children if they start acting gay-like.

- The Tennessee House of Representatives passed the Gateway Sexual Activity Bill—the actual legitimate name and, shockingly, not some Mr. Show sketch—that will discipline kids in school if they're caught kissing on cheeks or holding hands because, apparently, that leads to banging. Because life is precious, and God, and the Bible.

- One Million Moms are back, and this time they got JC Penney in their eyesights because … and … you know what? Enough with these one million (in actuality: 38, probably) mothers with nothing to do but pick on gay folk. Fuck them. Until they do something more interesting than mass-forwarding an email calling for a half-assed protest, they are hereby banned from this column.

- And our Hero of the Week Award goes to: Every1Against1.com, the group that put together this perfect, and highly effective, ad campaign that ultimately sums up the horror going on in the state of North Carolina with the likely passing of Amendment 1, which defines marriage only being between one man and one woman. Ads aren't going to change anyone's minds on something like this—only education and normalizing can do the trick, both of which can be expedited if religious institutions cease being the bastion of bigotry—but it's a nice start.

Previously - Math Is Not Right