ReligionSkepticism

Fundie Country Music Grandpa Hates You

I hate to be the one to tell you, but the guy who wrote The Devil Went Down to Georgia is a half-wit. Well, okay, more like a quarter-wit.

Yesterday, popular skeptical blogger and punk rock star Rodney Anonymous sent out an alert that country music star Charlie Daniels was blathering away on his site with anti-rationalist hatred. I see that PZ has beaten me to the punch, but what the hell, Charlie could use some more bad press, don’t you think?

The other day, Charlie posted this rant about atheist activist Michael Newdow, whom we’ve never really discussed in the past on Skepchick (I think because I always felt Newdow usually has a point but also is usually kind of douchey?). Anyway, Newdow is the guy who rightfully would like the phrase “under God” removed from the Pledge of Allegiance (which is completely stupid anyway and shouldn’t be required chanting for any public-schoolchildren), a phrase that was added during the McCarthy era of Communist witch-hunting. Now Newdow is asking that prayer be deleted from the official inauguration of the President of the United States of America. Which, yeah, kind of makes sense.

Charlie, with his wise and worldly prairie rambler ways, had a lot of questions about Newdow and his mission. I’ve taken the time to answer them here, in the order in which they appear:

If you look at this issue using cowboy logic, if atheists don’t believe there is a God, why do they care where his name appears?

First of all, by “cowboy” Charlie means “illiterate” and by “logic” he means “blathering.” Second of all, to answer his question with a question: If fundie Christian morons don’t believe there is a Cthulu, why do they care where His name appears? So why don’t we just print tentacles all over our money and be done with it? Idiot.

Just what in the name of Sam Hill is atheism, if not a religion?

Answer: IT’S NOT A RELIGION. Break it down, Charlie: “A-,” a prefix used to indicate “without,” like “a-moral” (without morals), “a-sexual” (without sex), “a-theism” (without religion), and “a-sshole” (without a doubt Charlie Daniels).

Well if Mr. Newdow has his way and they take the prayer out doesn’t that amount to the government endorsing atheism?

No. Removing all religious references from the ceremony would be the ultimate way to adhere to the First Amendment of the Constitution’s requirement that the government stay completely independent of religion.* If the government were to actively endorse atheism, they’d require all the inauguration attendees to study basic rules of logic and then force them to read every “holy book” ever written.

If we deny God His rightful place in the affairs of this nation should we expect Him to intervene when we need protection?

No. Since he’s never intervened before, there’s no reason to expect him to do so now.

Just what do you think has kept us safe from terrorist attacks since 9/11?

This appears to be a typo, since surely Charlie means that God has been keeping us safe from terrorist attacks since 9/12, since on 9/11 He allowed terrorists to fly airplanes into the World Trade Center in the largest terrorist attack ever to occur on American soil. Also, by “us” I assume Charlie must mean a very specific, as yet undefined subset of the American population, since Americans are regularly killed and injured in terrorist attacks like the recent tragedy in Mumbai. Yep, His ways are mysterious, aren’t they?

Why should the majority of the people in a free society be pushed around by a miserable little man and his cohorts, who don’t have anything better to do than try to make everybody else as miserable as they are?

They shouldn’t, which is why, happily, we don’t have to live in Charlieland, where Jesus is Vice President and Guitar Hero is banned.**

Even if [atheists] don’t believe [in a god], why they would be so intent on taking away everybody else’s right to express their individual belief?

Oh, Charlie. Speaking on behalf of the Evil Atheist Conspiracy, we don’t want to take away anyone’s right to worship whatever and whomever they’d like. That’s the beauty of the First Amendment.*** You can worship Mithras, or whatever, and we can not worship anyone, and the government never, ever says anything about the topic at all. Wouldn’t that be a nice, happy world?

If it’s all a bunch of junk, why should they care?

Again, if Charlie thinks Cthulu is a bunch of junk, why should he care if tentacles are shoved in his face all the time? Or if he has to chant Cthulu’s name in unison with others before homeroom every day?

Charlie’s final question is:

What do you think?

. . . which I believe I’ve answered in full. Charlie: if you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to ask!

*Skepchick Phun Phact! Charlie Daniels won the First Amendment Center’s AMA “Spirit of Americana” Free Speech Award in 2006. Free speech is another right granted to the American people by the first amendment – the very same amendment Charlie Daniels just took a giant shit on!

**I’m not kidding. Charlie is anti-Guitar Hero because one of the songs is a duel with Satan on The Devil Went Down to Georgia, and if you’re not good enough, the Devil wins.

***Again.*

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca leads a team of skeptical female activists at Skepchick.org. She travels around the world delivering entertaining talks on science, atheism, feminism, and skepticism. There is currently an asteroid orbiting the sun with her name on it. You can follow her every fascinating move on Twitter or on Google+.

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69 Comments

  1. “Answer: IT’S NOT A RELIGION. Break it down, Charlie: “A-,” a prefix used to indicate “without,” like “a-moral” (without morals), “a-sexual” (without sex), “a-theism” (without religion), and “a-sshole” (without a doubt Charlie Daniels).”

    You made me laugh. I read PZ earlier, he didn’t make me laugh. You win!

  2. “Again, if Charlie thinks Cthulu is a bunch of junk, why should he care if tentacles are shoved in his face all the time?”

    This is the awesomest rebuttal I’ve heard in ages – possibly all year – not least because it’s so practical to enforce. Maybe we should all take to carrying a small squid around in our pockets at all times, just in case we bump into Charlie Daniels and get a chance to make the point more directly. (I’m sure loyal Pharyngulites have already got this angle covered.)

  3. I’ll have to go read PZ on this but it’s amazing how often it comes down to: “You’re not venerating my version of god” is an attack on religious freedom.

    Agree with scott: “a-sshole” (without a doubt Charlie Daniels.

    Laugh out loud funny.

  4. “Break it down, Charlie: “A-,” a prefix used to indicate “without,” like “a-moral” (without morals), “a-sexual” (without sex), “a-theism” (without religion), and “a-sshole” (without a doubt Charlie Daniels).”

    Wit like that would be COTW if it weren’t part of the original post. I love that you tour that apart with reason, and humor. But mostly I just like seeing someone get ripped a new Charlie Daniels.

  5. Ok, I’ll try to understand this thing one more time.

    You can’t criticize religion because it supposedly treads on religious freedom.

    But when someone religious criticizes atheism, one of the first things they use to say is that it is a religion.

    Ouch, my head hurts…

    I’m sure Orwell grins in his grave whenever that happens.

  6. Even my late Father ( I hope it hurt),

    Who was no judge of character or talent, thought Charlie Daniels to be nothing but a cheap, no talent, hack.

    Since I turned 18, I’ve used that fact to show that anybody, even Father, can be right once.

    I’m just sayin’

    rod

    BTW: Quarter wit? I think you over estimate his chances!

  7. Haha. Great post, Rebecca. That guy’s one step away from Larry the Cable guy. But fortunately, since the arguments do have to be adressed (no matter how devoid of any insight they may be) their are awsome skeptics like yourself that can shred the weak claims and entertain their friends in the process. Cheers!

  8. Well if Mr. Newdow has his way and they take the prayer out doesn’t that amount to the government endorsing atheism?

    Well, borrowing a phrase for the SETI people:

    Absence of endorsement is not endorsement of absence, moron.

    (Ok, I might have got carried away a little towards the end. Disregard as needed.)

  9. Just for fun, lets think about all the things the government could/would do if they actually WERE endorsing atheism.
    Extra points for finding things that don’t actually conflict with the 1st amendment …

  10. Thank you all for the further hilarious comments! Just as a heads up, I’ve edited the post because I thought of something funnier/more cogent/angrier for this paragraph:

    Here’s where those basic logic lessons come in handy: if God has been keeping us safe from terrorist since 9/11/01, what the hell was he doing at 9am that day? Was he still getting his coffee? Not quite ready to start the day yet? Or does he think the Muslims are the ones who got it right, and not Charlie Daniels? So many questions, so little patience.

    Sorry for the edit but my anger returns every time I think of Charlie’s idiocy on that subject.

  11. I once saw a picture of George W. Bush smiling and shaking hands with the members of ZZ Top. So after reading this I had to check ZZ’s website for any illogical ranting about atheism or similar ignorant content. Fortunately, I couldn’t find anything questionable. So ZZ Top is safe… for now.

  12. the Pledge of Allegiance (which is completely stupid anyway and shouldn’t be required chanting for any public-schoolchildren)

    As a foreigner, I have to agree with this. The whole pledge of allegiance thing seems deeply creepy to me, and totally unbecoming of a country that calls itself “the land of the free’.

  13. I’m glad that washed-up, irrelevant, and overrated country musicians are the standard-bearers for the religious right.

    If my heavy metal heroes started sounding like Charlie Daniels, I’d have to go on a killing spree that both started and ended with myself.

  14. Atheists do not care exactly where “god’s name” appears. But, so far as God does not exist, “a nation under God” means “a nation under superstition”, and this is no good for America.

  15. @James K:
    Excellent point. It’s been so long since I had to recite the pledge, and it was such a meaningless gesture at the time, that I hadn’t thought about its creepiness in the “land of the free.”

    I’ve seen the same, possibly worse, drivel come from Charlie Daniels before. I’m lucky enough to have a mother who finds ignorant ramblings somehow thought-provoking, so she forwards them to me. I very much enjoyed seeing Rebecca take this one apart, even though it’s so stupid it sort of disassembles itself without much help.

    Chuck Norris has an equally stupid, and possibly more obnoxious, open letter to Obama on some websites. I’d include a link, but so far all the sites I’ve found are ones I don’t want to promote in any way.
    The lowlight, for me, is when he says the U.S. President is constitutionally obligated to preserve human life, and applies that to the abortion issue…then immediately changes it to “American” life, so that it’s okay to kill as many non-Americans as he feels necessary (as long as they’re out of the womb.)

    I can’t even enjoy those “Chuck Norris is so tough…” jokes anymore.
    Or “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” I wasn’t really enjoying that anyway.

  16. @exarch:

    Just for fun, lets think about all the things the government could/would do if they actually WERE endorsing atheism.
    Extra points for finding things that don’t actually conflict with the 1st amendment …

    Well, if I remember correctly, the 1st amendment is:

    “Thou shalt not make unto thyself any law respecting an establishment of religion…”

    which has been interpreted as banning the U.S. government from endorsing religion in any way, shape or form.

    So, a government trying to endorse atheism would, say, seek a Supreme Court ruling stating that atheism is not a religion. Then, you can print “There is no God” in the money and teach it at schools without fearing any legal retribution.

  17. I saw him at a out door concert a few years ago and he was playing “Long haired Country boy” he changed the words to the line “I don’t want much of nothin’ at all,But I will take another toke” to some non drug reference. I thought it was chicken shit to make a pile of money on a song then change it because he has second thoughts on drug use…… and this devil went down to Georgia song is kinda demeaning to Jesus when this kid from Georgia can kick the devils ass in a subjective fiddle fight. I think if a mortal can do it it takes a little bit of the thunder away from your savior.

  18. Oh this is a great article. You made me laugh and then you made me indignant about it all and I’M NOT EVEN AMERICAN.

    Actually, I was watching one of my favourite films again last night, David Mamet’s State and Maine, and during the scene where Philip Seymour Hoffman testifies, I was thinking about whether, should I ever find myself in court, my use of the atheist swearing in would bias the jury against my testimony? In the USA, I’m guessing that’s a big ‘yes’ (feel free to educate me if it’s not, though), in the UK I’m plain old not sure.

    Most people here aren’t actively religious, but not actively atheist either, just occupying an ambivalent middle ground. Brits defend Christianity when it is attacked (or when Muslims do something annoying), but other than that it’s all just a bit embarrassing. But when push comes to shove, in a court of law, does an open admittance of atheism bias people, on any level, into thinking that witness (or defendant, perhaps I’ve been framed for Wallace & Gromit libel or something) is more likely to lie, or less likely to be trustworthy, because the repercussions (eternity in a fiery pit of hell) are not present?

    And if it is the case that an atheistic ‘swearing in’ would give a less trustworthy testimony, would I then be tempted to do the ‘god’ swearing in, thereby lying and thereby proving that atheism in my case is more likely to lead to dishonesty. OH NOES!

  19. tkingdoll, a few decades ago when I was a witness in an English court I asked to affirm instead of swearing on the bible. When the judge asked why, I stated that as I was an atheist it would be a lie to swear on the bible. My evidence was critical, i.e, if the jury hadn’t believed me the case would have had the opposite outcome than it did so it made no difference. BTW, everyone else swore on the bible, those on the opposite side ostentatiously so after my affirming :).

  20. @John Phillips: Cool, so you’re saying that if you were honest enough to admit your atheism and declare you would be lying if you swore on a bible, your character was proven. And clearly the jury agreed (or it wasn’t an issue in the first place, that’s the part we don’t know).

    I don’t find trial by peers to be particularly fair because I find most people are crap at evaluating evidence.

    My sister was a juror recently. She said two of the women had been jurors before, one of them three times, and both declared to my sister that the defendant ‘looked guilty’. My sister assumed this to mean the fact that he was black rather than any amazing expression/guilt-reading ability on the part of the stupid women, but either way it’s pretty horrible.

  21. Rebecca and fellow dudes and chicks,

    “You shall not make wrongful use of the name of Cthulhu, for the Lord will not acquit anyone who misuses his name.” :-D

    This being commanded, however, I would also like to point out that I don’t think the Christian god and Lovecraft’s Cthulhu are comparable as beliefs (I don’t see any difference in other regards :-D) from the standpoint of atheists: whereas atheists don’t oppose the belief in Cthulhu (because virtually nobody believes in our Lord wholeheartedly), atheists do oppose the belief in the Christian non-Cthulhu deity. This means that atheists don’t regard both beliefs the same way: only the former is debunked; the latter is not because it needs not.

    Which a) justifies the sociological fact that non-Cthulhu followers are angry at us (we respect Cthulhu more than we respect non-Cthulhu! :-) and b) means that printing tentacles and skulls on our dollars, no matter how fancy it would be, is not the same as printing “in God we trust”, for there are people who believe in the referent of the word “god” in the motto, whereas there are no people, to the best of my knowledge, who believe Cthulhu would accept having His name printed on currency. That’s for multi-purpose ordinary gods.

    Cthulhu Inc. Public Relations Executive Officer

  22. @Kimbo Jones: I know. But would it carry more “weight” if you swore on your child’s life, compared to some dusty ol’ book nobody really knows for sure you believe in
    It certainly would add a touch of drama. I can see it now: a cute little 3 year old girl walking up to the witness stand with a wide-eyed look of confusion and fear, you put your hand on her head, then proceed to exclaim you’ll tell only the truth.

    I’d certainly give that far more credit than a load of people piously swearing on a bible while you know damn well they’ve broken tons of rules that very bible commands them …

  23. In the sense of a general oath though, such specific versions eliminates groups of people (in this case, the childless). Also, why is it not enough to have someone swear to tell the truth? All eyewitness testimony is subject to bias, memory, and self-preservation. I don’t see how adding emotional qualifiers would help the person be more truthful, so why not just cut out that nonsense altogether. Do you swear to tell the truth? Yeah ok well if you’re caught in a lie now you get to be charged. It’s a matter of record. In the end it’s the honour system.

  24. @tk: wouldn’t it more likely make people think (putting myself into the mindset of people I fail to understand) that you were avoiding swearing on the bible so you wouldn’t go to hell? In some kind of twisted logic?

  25. Hey, I’m not saying everyone should swear on their children. In any event that would still put me in a bind.

    I’m just saying that if you’re going for credibility, a bible just doesn’t seem to cut it. On the contrary, it only affirms that you’re willing to make empty promises on a book you can’t possibly follow, even though you claim to do so.

  26. Let’s use some more cowboy logic (I):

    “if atheists don’t believe there is a God, why do they care where his name appears?”

    COWBOY: If Christians don’t care about atheism, why do they care where the name of God is deleted for atheist reasons?

    “It’s a belief, a choice concerning the deity, whether pro or con”

    COWBOY: What’s law, if not crime? It’s an execrable act, a choice regarding crime, whether pro or con

    “(…) so what atheists are doing is trying to force their religion on everybody else.”

    COWBOY: “(…) so what judges are doing is trying to force their law on everybody else.”

    “and I’m sure he’ll find a bunch of heathen lawyers to go along with him”

    COWBOY: Yes, sure, but heathens as to PRO or CON? Because, after applying cowboy logic, you can no longer be heathen “only” as regards religion: religion now encompasses both being pro and against religion (they’re all religious beliefs, supposedly), so being a heathen as to these would mean being a heathen as to either and, therefore, as to both, which means that your brain would explode.

  27. Let’s use some more cowboy logic (II):

    “Well if Mr. Newdow has his way and they take the prayer out doesn’t that amount to the government endorsing atheism”

    COWBOY: I wish. An atheist government would make religions illegal; it would not merely refrain from doing religious statements itself. (By the way, in Spain, according to our Constitution, the government is “aconfessional”, which means that it is not atheist, but acknowledges the existence of religion and (supposedly) doesn’t officially endorse any in particular. Obviously, it all turns out to be false.)

    “Just what do you think has kept us safe from terrorist attacks since 9/11?”

    COWBOY: You could only conclude “something” has kept you safe from terrorist attacks if you had some reason to belief attacks were being launched. Any proof of that? I suppose as much as for the existence of gods.

    “The last I heard something like 80% of Americans believe in God in one-way or another.”

    COWBOY: Yes, but since the “ways of believing”, it was said before, include both “pro” and “con” the existence of god, therefore “believing in one way or other” could actually mean 80% of “religious believers” are atheists (using cowboy logic). Plus, I also believe in god in “some way”: I’ve seen there’s a mental force which lures masses of people to kill each other for pieces of text, and I can definitely believe in that. Plus, before the economic crisis started, 80% of the people didn’t think there was going to be a crisis. Did that turn out to be true? And I’m sure nearly 100% of last year’s homicide victims were convinced they were not going to be killed when leaving home (otherwise, they wouldn’t have). Did that turn out to be true? In cowboy logic, it is “pro or con” true, but it’s all true all the same, I guess.

  28. Let’s use some more cowboy logic (III):

    “Even if they don’t believe, why they would be so intent on taking away everybody else’s right to express their individual belief?”

    COWBOY: Because unless you claim all dollars to be “personal” of yours, by printing bull***** on them you’re degrading us all.

    “Obama professes Christianity”

    COWBOY: Curiously enough, during the election he was told to be, among a lot of other things, a muslim (which for the Republicans seemed to be the worst). If he was, would he be allowed to swear on the Quran? If not, then it’s not about “personal” beliefs. Plus, what Obama will be swearing has nothing to do with “personal” matters; the president of USA is not so for himself, but for all. Swearing on the bible made sense when USA was still a “white anglo-saxon Christian” country, shortly after its foundation: back then, most people, if not all, were Christians. Now, however, given that there’re huge population groups who profess other religions, the president should either swear on all their sacred texts (so as to be fair), or swear on none.

  29. Let’s use some more cowboy logic (IV):

    “I can’t imagine living in a dark world of believing that there is no Heaven”

    COWBOY: You get a dark world if you fail to believe in the Sun. The Heaven doesn’t emit light (if it did, we would have proof of it and no faith would be necessary). Cowboy logic again, I guess.

    “prayers are never answered because there’s no divine being to answer them.”

    COWBOY: Prayers are answered by other atheists, so we skip intermediaries :-D

    “I can’t help but believe that at night when the lights are out and these atheists are alone in bed”

    COWBOY: Since atheists have no “religious morality”, they’re never alone in bed ;-)

    “panic sets in when they realize that there are only two places to go after death and the good one is controlled by that God they have been trying to convince the world doesn’t exist.”

    COWBOY: So, in the case we’re wrong we still go to Hell which, given our behavior, would be the right place for us to go (partying every night, flames everywhere, rock and roll -I’m sure-, lots of buddies -virtually everybody, since there’s been no single saint in the human history-), and, no matter how much pain, eternal endurance). And in case we’re right, just imagine believers having lived only a 5% of their lives waiting for something that will NEVER come. That’s really scary. That’s like paying most of your salary everyday for something you’re never going to get. Money, as lifetime, IS FOR SPENDING!

    Charlie is an “a-atheist”, he doesn’t believe in atheism! :-D

    So now the true question is: when did Charlie’s brain stop thinking, BEFORE or AFTER believing in god?

  30. @Rebecca: Another awesome column! Two paws up!

    @StevenGould: “You’re not venerating my version of god” is an attack on religious freedom.”
    After having lived in and among the Bible Belt Tribes, you are exactly right. That is what they think.

    “One of the first things they say it (atheism) is that it is a religion.” I have been told by Bible students that they actually teach this in Bible colleges. They claim that it takes more faith to be an atheist than it does to be a Christian.

    “If we deny God His rightful place in the affairs of this nation should we expect Him to intervene when we need protection? ”
    and
    “Just what do you think has kept us safe from terrorist attacks since 9/11?”
    Classic confirmation bias. Too many possibilities to enumerate here about why we haven’t been attacked again. Who is to say that the terrorists didn’t get exactly what they wanted the first time?

    UpChuck Norris has written a book: “Black Belt Patriotism.” I can wait to read it. Like until the heat death of the Universe.

    @exarch: I want to swear to the truth of my testimony as the old Romans did: with my hand on my testes. Let them make of it what they may – it’s the oldest form of swearing to truth that I know of… :-D Ladies, you’re on your own for where you put your hand(s).

  31. @exarch:

    I’d certainly give that far more credit than a load of people piously swearing on a bible while you know damn well they’ve broken tons of rules that very bible commands them …

    Especially the very command that says:

    Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but keep the oaths you have made to the Lord.’ But I tell you, Do not swear at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.

    (Matthew 5: 33-37)

    Yep, that’s right. People are taking truthfulness oaths on a book that explicitly condemns truthfulness oaths. Isn’t that beautiful?

  32. Ultimately, as awesome as Rebecca’s rebuttal is, it’s futile.

    People that believe as Charlie does are as brainwashed as the most broken prisoner of war is after extreme torture, when their head is filled with whatever BS the torturers want them to spout. I believe that they literally can’t understand, because they have an entirely different paradigm of how the world is and operates.

    The only way out for people like that is for something(s) to happen to them that leads them to the inescapible conclusion that what they have been told all their lives is bunk, and for them to have the intellectual and emotional courage to stand up and shout, “IT’S ALL BULLSHIT!”

    Don’t underestimate how hard it is to break free of this kind of programming. I sincerely believe that my life-long reading of science fact and s/f was the key to my realization that I had been both inadvertantly (by some) and deliberately (by others) mislead all my life. It carries a heavy penalty, because the rest of the tribe (your world) will turn on you in anger and hate.

    Rejecting your society’s recieved wisdom is not easy. It’s the “path less travelled” in our world. You have to be tough and stubborn to succeed. You have to be extremely intelligent. You have to have a strong belief in your own intelligence and your ability to think logically and critically, things that are not encouraged in many societies because logical, critical thinkers become questioners. Those that ask too many questions in society are pegged as “malcontents,” “radicals,” etc.

    Supertramp was exactly right:
    “Now watch what you say or they’ll be calling you a radical, a liberal, fanatical, criminal.
    Won’t you sign up your name, we’d like to feel you’re acceptable, respectable, presentable, a vegetable!”

  33. Wow! I think we need to take this seriously, after all Charlie Daniels knows there is a devil, because he faced him in a fiddlin’ contest. So, I know that some of you hard skeptics may not take evidence from experience seriously, but in this case we need to listen. Because if we don’t Jesus won’t protect us from another terrorist attack, and okay…okay…I’m done.

  34. If Jeezez protects us from terrorism then why did they fly planes into buildings in the name of his father?

    AND the best part of “Devil Went Down to Georgia” was when the band of demons joined in and “it sounded something like this…” . Even as a kid I thought that part rocked.

  35. @Ken Hahn: I was going to mention ole Chucky. My husband regularly reads World Net Daily where Chuck posts. I tend not to read those sites because my blood pressure gets dangerously high.

    And being from GA, I think I’m obligated to like that song.

  36. @ “a-sshole” (without a doubt Charlie Daniels).”

    ha ha.

    Also, I’m sure this will qualify me for wet blanket comment of the week but CDaniels doesn’t actually call for the game to be banned. He just goes on and on with indignation and concern FOR TEH CHILDREN.

  37. @Rebecca: “Charlie is anti-Guitar Hero because … if you’re not good enough, the Devil wins.”

    Hmm I always thought of ‘The Devil Went Down to Georgia’ as saying the character was really good at playing, not that the devil was really bad. According to Charlie’s anti-GH post, the devil is supposed to lose to everyone.

    Contradicts his own lyrics: ” ‘You’re pretty good’ I said”

    Seriously, did he miss out on the concept of video games?

  38. @Andrés Diplotti: “Yep, that’s right. People are taking truthfulness oaths on a book that explicitly condemns truthfulness oaths. Isn’t that beautiful?”

    This is why the vast majority of people in the U.S. who choose to affirm rather than swear on the Bible are religious. Most notably, Quakers will not swear an oath.

  39. @ James K: >>The whole pledge of allegiance thing seems deeply creepy to me, and totally unbecoming of a country that calls itself “the land of the free’.<<

    I was sent to the principal for refusing to say the Pledge in high school; luckily she upheld my right to refuse the recitation. I’ve told my kids they can refuse to say it.

    … Or if they want to be less confrontational they can say, “One nation, under laws” instead of “under God.” This is what they’ve chosen to do. I think we got the idea from Julia Sweeney.

  40. The conservative radio show host, Laura Ingraham, wrote a book called “Shut Up and Sing” presumably to address her frustration with entertainers like Barbara Streisand and “The Dixie Chicks” making political statements which she found objectionable. In the interest of fairness, her retort should also apply to Charlie.

    I must confess that I still like Charlie’s music. I consider the “Long Haired Country Boy” to be my anthem, but not for the reasons you might think. For the most part, I find Charlie’s music fun. It almost always lightens my mood as I don’t take the lyrics too seriously. I would prefer it, however, if he would “shut up and sing” (or fiddle as the case may be) as I cringe everytime I hear him making political or social commentary (imagine Maureen Dowd or Paul Krugman up on stage trying to sing the “The Devil Went Down to Georgia”). Stick to what your good at, dude.

    BCT (enlightened redneck)

  41. http://www.mcsweeneys.net/2005/8/16moe.html

    THIRTY-NINE
    QUESTIONS FOR
    CHARLIE DANIELS
    UPON HEARING
    “The Devil Went
    Down to Georgia”
    for the First Time
    in 25 Years.
    BY JOHN MOE

    – – – –

    1. The Devil won that fiddling contest, right?

    2. Because isn’t that totally amazing fiddle feedback thing the Devil plays (which sounds like Hendrix gone bluegrass) a hundred times better than that high-school-band piece-of-crap tune Johnny plays?

    3. I mean, come on, right?

    4. And since the Devil is so clearly better, why does he lay the golden fiddle on the ground at Johnny’s feet?

    5. What kind of one-sided bet was that anyway, your eternal soul for a fiddle?

    6. Shouldn’t it have been something like Johnny’s soul or the eradication of Evil?

    7. Or maybe a golden fiddle against some object Johnny placed great value upon?

    8. If the Devil went down to Georgia ’cause he was looking for a soul to steal, why does he arrange what appears to be an honest competition?

    9. Was there actually some hidden theft or scam going on here on the part of the Devil?

    10. Then why not explain that, Mr. Daniels?

    11. And who was judging that contest?

    12. Was it an honor-system kind of thing?

    13. With the Devil?

    14. Honor system with the Devil. How did Johnny get sucked into that one?

    15. Does Johnny suffer from some—I’m trying to be delicate here—cognitive disabilities?

    16. Was there some sort of arbitration board in place in the event that the outcome was not obvious?

    17. If so, who served on this board?

    18. It wasn’t the demons, was it?

    19. ‘Cause even though they’re the only characters in the song, they’re kind of biased since they’re in the Devil’s band and they’re demons, right?

    20. So why—why—does the Devil take the dive and throw the contest?!

    21. I mean, the Devil can’t be hurting for cash. How much is it going to cost him to buy a new golden fiddle?

    22. I’m thinking maybe $18,000. Does that sound right to you?

    23. If you’re Johnny, what do you even want with a golden fiddle?

    24. Doesn’t the metallic surface of a golden fiddle create an unpalatably tinny sound as opposed to the nice resonant sound on a wooden instrument?

    25. Does he think he’s going to display it in his home and tell people the story of how he beat the Devil?

    26. Who’s going to believe that?

    27. Or does he try to sell the fiddle?

    28. If so, how does he go about getting something like that appraised?

    29. Or does he just melt it all down for the gold?

    30. That sounds awfully hard, don’t you think?

    31. And is Johnny haunted by the question of why the Devil let him win like that?

    32. Was there some catch in the contest that Johnny wasn’t aware of where the Devil really does get his soul anyway and Johnny didn’t notice it because he’s not all that smart?

    33. And even if he didn’t get Johnny’s soul, what is Johnny going to say to God in heaven when he has to explain that he bet his soul, the essence of life, God’s one true gift, on a fiddle contest?

    34. Johnny knows deep down that he’s not really the best that’s ever been and that’s the source of his insecure boasting, right?

    35. Was it really necessary or wise to invite the Devil to come on back if he ever wants to try again?

    36. ‘Cause what does Johnny need, a second golden fiddle?

    37. Or maybe a golden viola the next time?

    38. Why would the Devil need an invitation?

    39. Are you implying, Mr. Daniels, that Johnny actually wants to get hustled?

  42. I was coaxed into going to CountryFest years ago by an ex-bf and I remember when the Charlie Daniels Band were playing I started throwing up a burrito I ate earlier. I think this is another reason to throw up because of Charlie…

  43. Today (for whatever reason) words that Charlie Daniels wrote MANY years ago popped into my head.

    Preacher man talkin’ on the TV,
    He’s a-puttin’ down the rock ‘n’ roll.
    He wants me to send a donation,’Cos he’s worried about my soul.
    He said: “Jesus walked on the water,”And I know that is true,
    But sometimes I think that preacher man,
    Would like to do a little walkin’, too.

    But I ain’t askin’ nobody for nothin’,
    If I can’t get it on my own.
    You don’t like the way I’m livin’,
    You just leave this long-haired country boy alone.

    I just hope that my mind is expanding as I get older, and not contracting.

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