Florida Mayor Blames Atheists for World’s Problems April 26, 2011

Florida Mayor Blames Atheists for World’s Problems

There’s never a bad time for politicians to say, “To hell with separation of church and state; I wanna rally my Christian base!” That’s why Texas Governor Rick Perry called for people to pray for rain last week.

In Florida, Mayor Sonny Nobles of Live Oak took it one step further. He didn’t just wish his city a Happy Easter. He took the time to pin the world’s problems on atheists:

The main point is that if people around the world truly had God in their lives, there would not be any of the things that atheists point to in order to discredit a belief in the Almighty. God is caring and loving. He is not a mean God. If people were to turn toward God and not away from Him, there would be a heaven on earth. God bless us all.

If I have that right, if all the heathens believed in God, the Japanese earthquake and tsunami would never have happened, there would be no starving children around the world, and Rebecca Black would just disappear.

I could make that letter a whole lot more succinct:

Screw you, atheists, for ruining this planet.

Sincerely,
Your Mayor.

Keep in mind Nobles wrote this letter in his capacity as town mayor, not as a private citizen.

This is the same town, by the way, where a March meeting between local atheists and a school superintendent had to be rescheduled because threats were made against the atheists:

“We received threats of violence against us if we attended the meeting,” [Atheists of North Florida director Randy] Lewis told the Democrat by email. “We have to take these threats very seriously. Because of the violent history of Christianity.”

Lewis had been scheduled to meet with Superintendent of Schools Jerry Scarborough Friday afternoon concerning claims of religious paraphernalia in local public schools.

Jennifer Hancock tried contacting Nobles to find out why he used his title to advance his faith but so far she hasn’t heard back:

Mayor Sonny Nobles has not yet responded to a request for comment as to why he felt it necessary to use his official position as mayor of Live Oak to promote his specific religious beliefs given the current hostile religious climate in Live Oak. He has also not explained why he felt it was necessary to accuse his fellow citizens of being the cause of all suffering on earth as part of his Easter greeting.

We know what he’s going to say, though. Any Christian threatening violence isn’t *really* a Christian. And he didn’t mean to insult atheists — that was just a by-product of him expressing “Christian love.”

Side note: He goes out of his way to blame non-theists for the world’s problems. But I guess everything fine if you’re Jewish or Muslim because you still believe in God? Does anyone really believe he feels that way? Or is it just more politically correct to bash the atheists instead of singling out the Jews?

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  • Gail

    The lack of logic here is basically what made me an atheist to begin with, or at least created the doubt.

    If God is causing bad things to happen because atheists exist, I have to say it’s kind of an asshole move to punish the entire world for it, including those who do believe in God. So, no, I don’t see how God couldn’t possibly be mean or cruel. It’s like punishing the whole class because you don’t know who misbehaved, except you DO know who misbehaved, because you’re omniscient.

    Do Christians really think bad things happen to them (just like they do to everyone else) because atheists exist?

  • marc oberholtzer

    O.K. so just a bit of projection on the mayors part there.I really think the people of his wonderfull town should stay there and let the rest of us continue on into the 21 st century without them, they seem a violent bunch.Just like their religion.

  • Kevin S.

    It’s even funnier when you consider that non-theists don’t violate the “having other gods before me” commandment, while non-Abrahamic theists do. Nope, it’s us god’s pissed off at.

  • ACN

    What a moron.

  • Hypocrisy abounds. The more they open their mouths, the more we see them for what they are.

  • Jeff

    Western Europe, which is far more secular than we are on our best day, yet has far fewer social problems, doesn’t exist for these people. If it ain’t in the United States of Jesus, it don’t matter.

    “Mayor Sonny Nobles has not yet responded to a request for comment as to why he felt it necessary to use his official position as mayor of Live Oak to promote his specific religious beliefs given the current hostile religious climate in Live Oak.”

    Of course – because freedom of speech means that Christians have the right to say whatever the fuck they want to, without discernment, and they don’t have to back any of it up with rational reasons. As for people of other faiths or of no faith – that’s another matter.

    Frakking morons.

  • Lesilu

    The way that I interpreted it is that he faults theists and non-theists alike; That he’s saying that if theists lived their lives how he believes God intends them to live, there wouldn’t be a reason for people to be atheists and we’d all be one big happy family.

    Of course, any way you interpret it, his statement is wrong and naive. There are far too many variables for there to be a “heaven on earth” and religious differences are just one of them. Clearly there’s infighting even within the same religions/philosophies/worldviews (both currently and historically). We can all work to ease the suffering of others, but the human condition does not allow for a place that all would think is perfect–and that’s a good thing if we want to advance.

  • Mr Ed

    I have to agree with him, I’ve often thought that if every one would just agree with me things would go much smoother.

  • GentleGiant

    Just read the short article about the threats made against the atheists before the school meeting. Wow, that is one biased piece of “journalistic” crap.

  • Audge S.

    I believe atheists are more tolerable than Christians… and more open minded. This guy is a headache. Do people not think before they speak??? Who says this world is so awful? The Christians make it that way.

  • Hemant, you are the reason my facepalming leaves bruises. I for one think we should have the next big atheist conference in this guy’s town.

  • Ray M

    And you knew, without having to look, that this maroon would be sporting ‘patriotic’ lapel pins.

  • Jonas

    I guess everything fine if you’re Jewish or Muslim because you still believe in God?

    My first doubt to the existence of God came from the differences between Judaism, and Christianity. — ie. As if a God up there would be saying Ok Catholics: – No divorce for you, if you want to be a church leader (Priest, Bishop) remain celibate. While Jews: Divorce is OK, Rabbis Cantors marriage is OK etc.

  • Kari

    Well… IF (and that’s a big IF) everyone was his particular brand of xtianity (and if everyone was also an old white guy like him), there wouldn’t be bigotry in the world… but it would be quite boring, no? We would also have to be idiots with jelly for brains.

  • So… if we all work to create heaven on Earth… then we will have heaven on Earth.

    Now how does religion figure in that again?

    Orthodox Christianity is merely about an earthly faith-based test for admittance into an assumed afterlife… nothing really about a heaven here on Earth. That is unless the true intentions of Jesus got twisted and perverted by Paul, John, and other early writers about what Jesus was all about.

  • Maverick

    I guess Jews and Muslims are okay for now, and most theistic religions probably are too. This isn’t so much pluralism as a buffer against a critical test. This way, if, theoretically, they managed to “save” all the atheists and the world didn’t become perfect, they could blame it on the non-Abrahamic religions.

    The steps are probably like this: Atheists->Polytheists->Non-Abrahamic Monotheists->Muslims->Jews->Other Major sects of Christianity (eg. Protestant vs. Catholic)->Other minor divisions within sect->THOSE HERETICS WHO DARE SUGGEST THE WORLD ISN’T PERFECT.

  • Tim

    Let’s make our own news item. The headline will read:

    “Atheists Blame Florida Mayor for World’s Problems.”

  • Blacksheep

    Do Christians really think bad things happen to them (just like they do to everyone else) because atheists exist?

    Not if they read the Bible.

  • Jeebus

    This ass wipe is taking a beating in the paper that posted the article. I don’t think there is one person that hasn’t called him a fool, bigot or hypocrit yet. I wonder if he’ll get re-elected?
    Atleast he’s old and he’ll be dead soon and when he does die there will be one less bigoted douche bag on our planet. I’m pretty sure heaven will still have the same population though…0.

  • Jamie

    @Kari: Here’s an interesting quote by Howard Aiken: “If we were to wake up some morning and find that everyone was the same race, creed and color, we would find some other causes for prejudice by noon.”

  • BlackRose

    Wow this is actaully incredibly sad. It is amazing that people could actually say that a lack of faith is cause for the problems we face. the fact that he is still sitting as the mayor is amazing how did he get there? I wonder what the next state will be that has religous comments by its mayor or politicians? and if it can get worse than Florida?

  • Sure, just blame us for everything and don’t take responsibility for any of your own shit. He seems to forget all the devastation and horrors that have been inflicted on mankind in the name of his god since the beginning of time.

  • Mike G

    The mayor is right! People have been following religion for millenia, and we’ve had nothing but peace it the world, until now. Its those damn Athiests, picking fights and pressing influence on other cultures that keep the world in a constant state of turmoil…
    …oh, wait…

  • TiltedHorizon

    “If we were to wake up some morning and find that everyone was the same race, creed and color, we would find some other causes for prejudice by noon.”

    I can’t stand those evil, baby eating, left-handers, always buttering their bread on the wrong side, it’s UNNATURAL! If we were all right-handed there would be heaven on earth. DOWN WITH LEFT-HANDERS!

    Oh, and metro-sexuals, no man should use that much product and have fashion sense. EVIL!

    And, um, people who a double jointed. Yeah! Them too, cause its just creepy and EVIL!!

    So to recap…

    If we were all right-handed, non-metrosexuals, and ‘normal’ jointed there would be heaven on earth. At least until something else offends to my religious ‘virtues’.

  • TiltedHorizon

    I don’t think there is one person that hasn’t called him a fool, bigot or hypocrit yet.

    Seems like all those comments on that article, including my own, have mysteriously vanished.

  • Craig

    The mayor’s e-mail was listed on the city’s website: gnobles@cityofliveoak.org

    I just wrote a message to him letting him know that his comments were offensive and uncalled for and asking him to not say such things in the future. I pointed out that he would not stand up and tell Hindus, Muslims, or Jews that their souls were in mortal danger, and that the errancy of their beliefs and lifestyles were the cause of the world’s problems, and that such comments should not get a pass when directed toward non-believers.

  • Alex

    I imagine a majority of city’s voters agree with him! And thats the scary part!

  • Adam

    If (I’ll leave it at “if”) they have poor logical thinking skills and are still considering believing this idiot, a Christian need only look at the first two sinners. They not only believed in God, but they had a direct relationship with him…and they still disobeyed him. If that argument doesn’t dispute the point enough for someone then unfortunately they’re hopeless.

  • elricthemad

    I live in Arizona, a fair distance from Florida so my personally boycotting any and all businesses in the town of Live Oak will not have a significant impact. I hope, however that other non-believers and even believers who were offended by the mayor’s bigotry will not shop or spend money in the town until the mayor apologizes or is recalled. This is a very small town so there cannot be many businesses in the city limits. Yet in a weak economy such as we have now, any slight down turn can be the difference between staying open and closing for good.

    PS: The phone number listed for the mayor on the city website is 386-362-2276. I do not personally condone or advise prank calls of any sort, do with the information as you see fit.

    PPS: Suwannee County Chamber of Commerce: 386-362-3071

  • Parse

    To be fair, I read the mayor’s comment as “If people who claim to believe in God actually acted like they believe in God, then atheists couldn’t point at anything and say ‘that’s why I don’t believe in God.'” I mean, it’s still incorrect – even if all Christians acted perfectly, I still wouldn’t believe – but I can see how it could be meant as an admonishment to believers, instead of blaming the problems of the world on nonbelievers.

    That being said, he’s still grossly ignorant, but I don’t think he’s trying to insult all nonbelievers. I sorta see what he did as similar to using ‘gypped’ – that once they realize the racist roots behind it, most people stop using it. He needs education, not abuse.

    If nothing else, I appreciate being given the benefit of the doubt when I something ambiguous. The mayor has given us no reason to not extend the same to him.

  • Edmond

    No doubt Mayor Nobles believes that if everyone turned to god, the world would become HIS version of “heaven”, specifically designed to make HIM happy. If someone else has a contradictory idea of “heaven”, even another Christian, they’re screwed.

  • Richard P.

    I saw this comment on a different site and thought it was a reasonable reinterpretation that better explains this whole problem Mr. Nobles sees.

    To me it’s appearing as though Jesus and his dad got in way over their heads with this whole “Let’s make a Universe and be gods of it” project. They’re constantly disappointed with the performance of their creations. They cry for us because they love us too much, yet we keep messing up and eventually end up going to hell, and it makes them so sad! They’ve clearly bitten off more than they can chew and they’re blaming everybody but themselves.

    Blaming the thing you created for its flaws and punishing it in retaliation is a clear signal that the Great Leader has checked out and we’re going to have to figure this one out on our own. That’s what I’m doing.

    So, screw you Mr. Nobles.

  • ckitching

    He’s right, you know. If it weren’t for the fact that atheists feel secure enough to publicly lambaste religion, there would be a whole lot fewer disasters blamed on God. The only solution to this terrible problem is for the Good Christians to go out and violently beat anyone who dares criticize their God. If people knew that criticising God means your life and the lives of your family becomes forfeit, who would publicly deny God?

    So, go Christian Soldiers and carry out your Holy Duty. Show us all your true colours.

    Or did I read him completely wrong, and this isn’t what he is suggesting?

  • This is just another little depressing drop in the bucket. And close to home, for me. Our new Alabama governor also shares these views and was quoted as saying, “Anybody here today who has not accepted Jesus Christ as their savior, I’m telling you, you’re not my brother and you’re not my sister, and I want to be your brother.” Wait, Pastor Terry Jones lives just down the road from here! Road Trip!!! *brain explodes*

  • Nobles said:

    God is caring and loving. He is not a mean God. If people were to turn toward God and not away from Him, there would be a heaven on earth.

    Then what do you call punishing the whole world because some atheists aren’t worshipping him enough, if not “mean”? Petty? Sadistic? Evil?

    Hemant said:

    Side note: He goes out of his way to blame non-theists for the world’s problems. But I guess everything fine if you’re Jewish or Muslim because you still believe in God? Does anyone really believe he feels that way? Or is it just more politically correct to bash the atheists instead of singling out the Jews?

    Meh, I don’t think we need to cultivate a Fatwa envy of our own.

  • Steve

    “Anybody here today who has not accepted Jesus Christ as their savior, I’m telling you, you’re not my brother and you’re not my sister, and I want to be your brother.”

    That’s just paraphrasing what Jesus said in the Bible.

    Interestingly, the Bible also says that anyone who hates his brother is a murderer and that murderers go to hell.

  • The main point is that if people around the world truly had God in their lives, there would not be any of the things that atheists point to in order to discredit a belief in the Almighty.

    This is so tiresome. I think we need a billboard to point out that we are not atheists because Christians behave badly. I don’t need to point to anything bad in order to “discredit a belief in the Almighty.” There’s simply no reason to assume that such a thing exists in the first place. There wouldn’t be a reason to believe in that god even if all its followers were perfectly well behaved.

    God is caring and loving. He is not a mean God.

    Not this again. His god’s purported actions and personality are completely irrelevant. I don’t lack belief in their god because their god is “mean.” I lack belief in it because I haven’t seen even a shred of evidence to indicate that it exists!

  • Heidi

    If their god is on their side, then why did he send those tornadoes to Alabama? That’s part of Jesusland. No tornadoes in Massachusetts today. He must like us better because of the whole pro-gay marriage thing we’ve got going on here.

  • Sean

    Bye Bye re-election.