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comfortable responds to theist friend
Well, just thought I'd share.

This is a secular activism thread, and I just did my part as the following email shows.

Here's an email from a theist 'patriot' friend of mine, and my response (above it).

-----Original Message-----
From: F------- []
Sent: Friday, November 14, 2008 7:18 PM
To: 'Don'
Cc: 'John'; 'Michael'
Subject: RE: Your warm fuzzy for today

Thanks, Don.

I got a lump in my throat too.

I don't care if the story's literally true or not - it represents something beautiful. (All except the God part. Believe it or not, us atheists love family and country too. We believe that some things are worth fighting and maybe dying for, and being true to our ideals. The people who pray are fine people, as long as they don't wear it on their sleeves so much. I just hope they remember that they didn't invent and don't own integrity, honesty, fidelity, nor compassion.)

This beautiful vignette inspires us to remember the best in people. Thanks again.

Your monist friend, (look it up)

-----Original Message-----
From: Don]
Sent: Friday, November 14, 2008 8:45 AM
To: undisclosed-recipients:
Subject: Fwd: Your warm fuzzy for today

Cemetery Escort Duty...!!!

I just wanted to get the day over with and go down to Smokey's. Sneaking a look at my watch, I saw the time, 1655. Five minutes to go before the cemetery gates are closed for the day. Full dress was hot in the August sun. Oklahoma summertime was as bad as ever-the heat and humidity at the same level-------both too high.

I saw the car pull into the drive, '69 or '70 model Cadillac Deville, looked factory-new. It pulled into the parking lot at a snail's pace. An old woman got out so slow I thought she was paralyzed, She had a cane and a sheaf of flowers--about four or five bunches as best I could tell. I couldn't help myself. The thought came unwanted, and left a slightly bitter taste: 'She's going to spend an hour, and for this old soldier, my hip hurts like hell and I'm ready to get out of here right now!' But for this day, my duty was to assist anyone coming in.

Kevin would lock the 'In' gate and if I could hurry the old biddy along, we might make it to Smokey's in time.

I broke post attention. My hip made gritty noises when I took the first step and the pain went up a notch. I must have made a real military sight, middle
aged man with a small pot gut and half a limp, in marine full-dress uniform, which had lost its razor crease about thirty minutes after I began the watch at the cemetery.

I stopped in front of her, halfway up the walk. She looked up at me with an old woman's squint.

'Ma'am, may I assist you in any way?'

She took long enough to answer.

'Yes, son. Can you carry these flowers? I seem to be moving a tad slow these days.'

'My pleasure, ma'am.' Well, it wasn't too much of a lie.

She looked again. 'Marine, where were you stationed?'

' Vietnam, ma'am. Ground-pounder. '69 to '71.'

She looked at me closer. 'Wounded in action, I see. Well done, marine. I'll be as quick as I can.'

I lied a little bigger: 'No hurry, ma'am.'

She smiled and winked at me. 'Son, I'm 85-years-old and I can tell a lie from a long way off. Let's get this done. Might be the last time I can do this. My name's Joanne Wieserman, and I've a few marines I'd like to see just one more time.'

'Yes, ma'am. At your service.'

She headed for the World War I section, stopping at a stone. She picked one of the flowers out of my arm and laid it on top of the stone. She murmured something I couldn't quite make out. The name on the marble was Donald S. Davidson, USMC: France 1918.

She turned away & made a straight line for the World War II section, stopping at one stone. I saw a tear slowly tracking its way down her cheek. She put a bunch on a stone, the name was Stephen X. Davidson, USMC, 1943.

She went up the row a ways and laid another bunch on a stone, Stanley J. Wieserman, USMC, 1944.

She paused for a second. 'Two more, son, and we'll be done.'

I almost didn't say anything, but, 'Yes, ma'am. Take your time.'

She looked confused. 'Where's the Vietnam section, son? I seem to have lost my way.'

I pointed with my chin. 'That way, ma'am.'

'Oh!' she chuckled quietly. 'Son, me and old age ain't too friendly.'

She headed down the walk I'd pointed at. She stopped at a couple of stones before she found the ones she wanted. She placed a bunch on Larry Wieserman, USMC, 1968, and the last on Darrel Wieserman, USMC, 1970. She stood there and murmured a few words I still couldn't make out.

'OK, son, I'm finished. Get me back to my car and you can go home.'

'Yes, ma'am.' If I may ask, were those your kinfolk?'

She paused.

'Yes, Donald Davidson was my father, Stephen was my uncle, Stanley was my husband, Larry and Darrel were our sons. All killed in action, all marines.'

She stopped. Whether she had finished, or couldn't finish, I don't know. She made her way to her car, slowly and painfully.

I waited for a polite distance to come between us and then double----timed it over to Kevin, waiting by the car.

'Get to the 'Out' gate quick. I have something I've got to do.'

Kevin started to say something, but saw the look I gave him. He broke the rules to get us there down the service road. We beat her. She hadn't made it around the rotunda yet.

'Kevin, stand at attention next to the gatepost. Follow my lead.' I humped it across the drive to the other post.

When the Cadillac came puttering around from the hedges and began the short straight traverse to the gate, I called in my best gunny's voice: 'TehenHut! Present Haaaarms!'

I have to hand it to Kevin; he never blinked an eye--full dress attention and a salute that would make his DI proud.

She drove through that gate with two old worn-out soldiers giving her a send off she deserved, for service rendered to her country, and for knowing duty, honor and sacrifice.

I am not sure, but I think I saw a salute returned from that Cadillac.

Instead of 'The End,' just think of 'Taps.'

As a final thought on my part, let me share a favorite prayer: 'Lord, keep our servicemen and women safe, whether they serve at home or overseas. Hold them in your loving hands and protect them as they protect us.'

Let's all keep those currently serving and those who have gone before in our thoughts. They are the reason for the many freedoms we enjoy today.
'In God We Trust.'

Sorry about your monitor; it made mine blurry too!

If we ever forget that we're one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under!

Checked by AVG -
Version: 8.0.175 / Virus Database: 270.9.2/1784 - Release Date: 11/12/2008 7:01 PM

The fewer the facts, the stronger the opinion.
Men are sheep in credulity, but wolves for conformity.
Comfortable I agree with you it is beautiful and the meaning behind what the guy did for the old woman was and did represent compassion he felt for the old woman. I especially agree with you here:

The people who pray are fine people, as long as they don't wear it on their sleeves so much. I just hope they remember that they didn't invent and don't own integrity, honesty, fidelity, nor compassion.)

They seem to think they do because they believe in a christian god. That's one of the reasons they send these out. To get people to think they have integrity, honesty, fidelity, compassion, empathy and love of Country and family and anyone else doesn't. They don't have to come right out and say non christians don't...just the fact that they send these e-mail christian stories out about their god is enough to make it appear they are the people who are this it's kind of psychological thinking, almost like saying it indirectly. I' not sure if I'm making sense here or how to say what I mean I hope I'm getting my point across.

What gets me about these e-mails and the god part about protecting their soldiers is that I think they got it all wrong. I will never understand why they ask people to pray for their soldiers. Aside from not even needing to implore a god for protection, which is basically asking not to die and/or win a war. What they are actually supposed to pray for is the soul of the soldiers not winning a war or protection from death. I'm not saying they should want to martyr themselves but if they really thought it was their gods will for them to go to war or that this nation was under god then they wouldn't ask such a thing. If these christians who send out these e-mail really believed they would ask for forgiveness because to murder is a sin. Especially when, if, the christian soldier is at war for reasons that have nothing to do with self defense or at war in the wrong Country. It's one thing to kill, murder, go to war when your Country is being invaded but quite another when you go into another Country to cause a war. Retaliation is one thing, capturing those responsible is one thing but murdering the innocent (casualties) is not justifiable.

There are so many of these made up stories I wonder how can anyone believe in their god when they have to make up stories in order to preach about it. Also since they all died in the story then how can they ask anyone to pray for protection when in the story the god didn't protect the dead soldiers of the old woman.

Did you ever get the one where the little kids were trapped in the car and their Dad came to them and got them out. At the end of the story the Dad was dead some months or when ever ago. Then it goes on how the god protected them and sent the angel (dad) to help the kids. So much for going straight to heaven when you die. So much for the bible saying do not practice witchcraft, sorcery or believe in ghosts and spirits of the dead coming back.
Edited by Sinny on 11/15/2008 00:48
Bob of QF
Nice story, except for the edit at the end.

The FIRST time I saw this one, it ended at the "taps" line.

Xianists feel compelled to edit a fine, fine non-(whatever) story into religious bullshit, which is annoying to no end.

I used to get quite a bit of religious-forwards, from various family & such.

Once I got a similar story to this one, I forget which it was.

I grew curious, so I googled it's origins, and found it's author, and the original text.

I re-sent the mass-emailings, complete with the author's name, the reference, and the corrected ORIGINAL text.

With a gentle reminder that false witness is generally seen as a Bad Thing, as is stealing.

I don't get much of that crap anymore.... (I'm apt to use SNOPES to de-bunk the urban legends, too...)
Quantum Junction: Use both lanes

Reality is that which is left, after you stop believing.
That was a very fine response you made, comfortable. And it was a moving story. The end part wasn't enough to spoil it for me.
"If I owned both Hell and Texas, I'd live in Hell and rent out Texas." - General Sheridan
I rarely get those kinds of emails these days because I let people know that I view them as a form of abuse. I find it very offensive that religious people send spam emails to try to persuade others that only religious people have moral integrity or know how to love. My responses were not as nice as yours was.
Bob, I use snopes too. They are mostly 99% reliable. They were wrong about the pepsi bottles a few years ago. I only know because I saw the pepsi bottles on the shelf at the supermarket when they were being recalled. The store manager wouldn't allow me to purchase any with the flag and statement on them. I forget exactly what it was back in like 2000 now. Something to do with the war or going to war.

Snopes said the pepsi liters were never maid with the advertisement on them and I know for a fact that was wrong. They were made just recalled in time to keep the proof from the public.

I still get a lot of them from my sister and sometimes my cousin. Since it's family I have to be careful for now. But someday I won't have to be.
Edited by Sinny on 11/15/2008 11:08
Bob of QF
Sinny, it's a pity you didn't get to purchase one or all of those.

Today, they would be worth a fortune!

I once had a non-tampered, but completely empty can of Pepsi or Dr Pepper (I forget which). Clearly, it had not been filled at the bottling plant, and those are rare enough.

I don't know what happened to it, I used to keep it on my desk, but I suspect that one of my cooperative "cleaning cycles" with my family, it got tossed into the recycle bin along with the rest.

I had purchased it deliberately, at a grocery store I worked at for awhile. It'd be worth a bit, nowadays, to a collector of such stuff.


I agree, Snopes is not 100%, but it's a darn sight more reliable than spam-e-mails. Grin
Quantum Junction: Use both lanes

Reality is that which is left, after you stop believing.
So, who else gets emails from theist acquaintances? Any to share?

Evolution teaches us that nervous-systems built so as to cling to belief in ghosts and gods must have survival value - but maybe not for those reasons directly. Maybe such superstitions are merely a "side effect" of some other survival trait...I dunno.

All I know is it doesn't pay to get mad at fools any more than you'd get angry with a baby for crying when hungry or a bee when it stings you.

That's just what they're built to do. It's their job.

So share some of your own stories?
The fewer the facts, the stronger the opinion.
Men are sheep in credulity, but wolves for conformity.
Interesting that so many of you bring up Snopes....

It just so happens that this sweet older friend of mine (he of the email that started this thread) is always (twice a week) sending all of us (his friends) amazing stories that are hoaxes, exposed with a little careful thought and/or a visit to

Same type of mind, I guess.
Believes all the other hoaxes too (at least the ones that reinforce his world-view)
Edited by comfortable on 11/15/2008 15:35
The fewer the facts, the stronger the opinion.
Men are sheep in credulity, but wolves for conformity.
Bob of QF
I found this:


On the Associated Press website.

And this on USA Today:

And this on Reuters:

Apparently, it's true.
Quantum Junction: Use both lanes

Reality is that which is left, after you stop believing.
Bob of QF
comfortable wrote:
So, who else gets emails from theist acquaintances? Any to share?


So share some of your own stories?

(thoughtful observation, btw)

I get a fair number from my business partner.

I get less, because a couple of times, I got right-wing political LIES, and I replied all with a credible rebuttal to the LIE.

That cut down some of it.... but I still get some very silly "touchy-feelly" religious-motivated CRAP.

I mostly ignore it... don't even read it, as soon as I see it's a forward.
Quantum Junction: Use both lanes

Reality is that which is left, after you stop believing.
Bob of QF wrote:
I found this:


On the Associated Press website.

And this on USA Today:

And this on Reuters:

Apparently, it's true.

Sorry to have removed the references to the GM plant.....
Since it turned out to be true (I found out) I pulled it from my post...

But you're too quick !

Okay, folks. What Bob was referring to with the news links was my delusional friend's most recent email (which I'd posted and then deleted when I discovered that it didn't add to the thread, cuz it was true. Hey, even a stopped watch is right twice a day)

Thanks for the reply, BOQF. Our posts crossed in the ether. I refreshed the page, didn't see any replies yet, edited my post, but upon returning to the page - you had posted. Aaaaaagh! Sorry.
Edited by comfortable on 11/15/2008 15:47
The fewer the facts, the stronger the opinion.
Men are sheep in credulity, but wolves for conformity.
Bob of QF
No big dealio Comfortable.

SOME of those hateful right-wing e-mails are actually based on a glimmer of truth...

For those, I usually edit out the fluff, cite my sources, and re-email the corrected story as "what REALLY happened" or similar.

Probably why I don't get much of it anymore...
Quantum Junction: Use both lanes

Reality is that which is left, after you stop believing.
I got this the other day from my daughters stepmom with the heading "betcha you'll send it" in the subject line and a picture of a man in a leather vest that said "freedom isn't free" looking at the graves at Arlington.






I was asked to send on if I agree, or delete if I don't.
It is said that 86% of Americans believe in God.

Therefore I have a very hard time understanding why there is such a problem in having 'In God! We Trust' on our money and having 'God' in the Pledge of Allegiance.

I believe it's time we stand up for what we believe!

If you agree, pass this on, if not, delete.


To which I replied, somewhat tartly-

Bet I won
I can only reply back with facts and rebuttal when it's not from family. When I do get to reply I make sure I click on reply all that way everyone else who forwarded gets to read my say. Funny thing is I bet most people don't always read them..they just simply forward because it's the christian thing to do in their minds.

Your friend says she believes in God.

Ask her which god?

The one that was hearing the prayers of those in the cockpit of United's Flight 175 on the morning of 9/11, or the prayers of those in the passenger seats.

After all, both groups were as sincere as possible. Heck, both groups believed that they were praying to the very self-same "God of Abraham".

schmoo wrote:
It's a sad state the world is in when people actually BELIEVE this horseshit.
...but that's the problem, isn't it. Stating that one believes in something they cannot define is not belief. It's merely a mis-named emotion. (but such are the minds of sheeple *sigh*)
Edited by comfortable on 11/16/2008 00:52
The fewer the facts, the stronger the opinion.
Men are sheep in credulity, but wolves for conformity.
I am of the opinion that, like our current President, most religious folks don't have very long attention spans and avoid any kind of extended reading. They rely on their friends and their opinions to form their own. That is why you see the phenomena of red states in rural backwards parts of the country. Their positions are just part of the status quo and they have no interest in pursuing truth and intelligent discourse.
Edited by derF on 11/16/2008 01:00
I'll drink to that. Or anything else for that matter.
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