Once more, PZ Myers has his diapers in a bunch. It's perfectly legitimate: an illiterate columnist, after calling atheists to task for being boring (never a good way to begin a column, as PZ points out), proceeds to babble on about the usual nonsense that passes for "religion" in the media, and that PZ has such fun deconstructing. As usual, of course, he limits himself to shooting fish in a barrel, which is why he can brag about such a great kill ratio.
This line made me sit up and take notice, though:
My usual theme instead is to show what a botch theists have made of the country, and how hypocritical they are, and how absurd their beliefs are.Holy shit, PZ; are you really that naive?
Of course politicians are hypocrites, and of course many of them use religion as an excuse for their hypocrisy. But if you really think that it is the sincerity of their beliefs in God that are the root cause of the mess they've made, think again. News flash: atheism offers no protection from corruption. Look at communist Russia. Surely those "godless commies" did just as good a job, if not better, at fucking up a country.
Corruption/integrity and theism/atheism are completely separate axes, with all four quadrants very well populated indeed, with hypocrisy liberally sprinkled throughout.
Atheism is no talisman against corruption, nor does it preclude hypocrisy. Exhibit A, of course, is PZ Myers' cry for tolerance of atheist beliefs while mercilessly ridiculing the beliefs of others who dare to find strength and solace in difficult times from a social support system grounded in what they call "religion." This, by the way, is the only proper function of religion, and I agree wholeheartedly that billions of people mis-use it every day. I also share PZ's contempt for them.
As I've said before, though, ridicule is a most pernicious form of intolerance. The hypocrisy of disrespectfully blasting all religion as "superstitious nonsense" while demanding respect for atheist views is mind-bendingly hypocritical, with PZ Myers the Hypocrite-in-Chief.