Speaking from experience, it’s a bit weird to be a Conservative Atheist.  I can’t say I’ve always gotten the warmest of responses when it’s come up, but I also can’t blame people for not reacting to that bit of personal information in the most positive way, especially with all of the Atheist jerks out there like the Freedom From Religion Foundation, who pretty much get off on making religious people miserable.

That’s why it was so nice to have somebody like Penn Jillete to look up to.  The dude is an Atheist, a Capitalist, Libertarian, and and all-around nice guy- and the exact opposite of the zealous FFRF stereotype.  Penn has been the pinnacle of religious tolerance and brotherhood, and has done a lot to change people’s minds on Atheists.

And then the RFRA happened.  Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act has caused lots of consternation all over the place, escaping from the political sphere and finding itself on ESPN, in the Boardroom, and on the minds of all of the Left’s favorite celebs.  But it was on CNN where Penn Jillette was tapped to talk about it.  And talk about it he did:


In the clip, Penn remarks “I don’t like the government involved and telling people what to do.  I certainly want people to have religious freedom, because the only way people who don’t have religion can have freedom is if people who do have religion have freedom.”

Awesome!  Perfect!  Let’s cut and print!

But, alas, that was not the end of Mr. Jillette’s comments:

“But all in the same way, we have to make sure that we don’t get too crazy in the hypotheticals, and we are not talking about forcing people to engage in gay sex or even endorse gay sex.  We are asking them that maybe they can treat people the same as other people, and that does not seem unreasonable.”

Sigh.  Not to get too far into the weeds here, but WHO is the arbiter of what is “reasonable”?  And no, you are not “asking” people anything, you are using the force of government to TELL them.  Because any “reasonable” person would hold the same beliefs as you and I do when it comes to baking wedding cakes & anyone who disagrees is a heretic, and must be converted.  I mean, it’s only “reasonable”.

Penn, you were SO close to getting to the root of the issue, to the fact that people have the RIGHT to practice their religious beliefs, and to associate with whom they choose.  That means that it is, and should be, their right to turn down a business proposal, be it Christian being asked to bake a cake for gay wedding, a Halal butcher being asked to special order a whole hog, or a Kosher deli being asked to serve a cheeseburger.

And, in fact, Penn even KNOWS what the RIGHT solution to bigotry is- The Free Market: “I mean the free market should take care of this faster than anything.”

You’re right, Penn, it should.  And would.  And HAS.

So why exactly do you think government should intervene?