Tuesday, May 29, 2007


Well, today I spent most of the day editing with Tony. This is very enjoyable. I mean, I have to say I really, really love it. The film is coming together and even though there will be a few possibly jarring cuts from this to that – necessitated by my own flubbing a line, or a camera operator’s camera becoming momentarily out of focus (mostly my fault since I often jump up and move without notice) I think the film is going to be professional and representative and maybe, even possibly GOOD. I am relieved. I will be proud… I think. I mean, I still haven’t finished the editing and I still haven’t mixed the sound and music and there’s so far to go before it’s really what it needs to be. But I am optimistic. My jaw line may not be as sharp as it once was, but this film will be as sharp as – well as is possible under the circumstances, and that is good enough for me.

I don’t have much to say tonight except I wanted to respond to a post by a Mule Skinner on my blogspot. (I copy my blog onto the blogspot and the forum and I read every single response.) Anyway, Mule Skinner is not a fan of mine, and that is TOTALLY FINE. I am happy this person wrote. She/he or whoever wrote rather nastily. Later, another poster noted that this person did not really identify himself or herself and chastised them for it. Personally I think it’s good that someone can write to me without identifying themselves. That makes it more honest, I think. Anyway, I just wanted to respond. But first let me repost what Mule says and answer as I see fit.

Anyway, he mule skinner said...
I saw "God said Ha!" live, in Los Angeles, in 1996. In that, Julia makes several loving references to a nun for whom she reserves no small amount of admiration, and says lots of nasty things about Pope John Paul II as well as the Catholic Church._

My response: I do, in that monologue, make a few references to Sister Antonella, a nun who taught me at Mary Cliff High School and who taught English Literature. I liked her a lot and she became a sort of friend. I mention her in “Letting Go of God” as well. I don’t say a lot of nasty things about Pope John Paul II as I recall. I do say I didn’t like him and that when I bought his book I was embarrassed and felt I had to get a book to put on top of it and underneath it when I was buying it, as if it were pornography. I say (in that monologue) that I need to keep up on what the Pope is saying so I can refute him. My thoughts about this now are: who would have thought that John Paul II was going to be the liberal Pope compared with who followed him!!!?!!! Ha. That makes me laugh. Cardinal Ratzinger is SO much worse, in my opinion than John Paul II. I don’t remember saying lots of nasty things about the Catholic Church in that monologue. I have a lot more nasty things to say now. But I do remember telling the story of going to see “Nunsense” and being offended at how nuns were portrayed like cartoons in that show. And that this is not my experience of nuns. I don’t know, I think that’s defending Catholicism. But maybe for you, Mule, defending nuns does not equal defending Catholicism. In any case, it’s all moot because I have so many more beefs with the Catholic church now than I had then. Anyhoo – let’s read Mule’s post further:

Mule writes:

The essential problem with this schtick is the fact that God looms large in the life of every atheist. God means more to Julia than to the average believer, and is constantly on her mind._

My response:

Yes, this may be true. And that – as I believe another poster pointed out, is because I was hoodwinked for so many years. When you take on a worldview the way religion has you believe it, and then discard it, it’s hard NOT to have it dominate your thoughts for some time. And that is true for me. Also, even if this wasn’t the case, because our current President is so religious and so much has been legislated and done in the name of religion in the last six or seven years, it makes me livid as a citizen. I wouldn’t say that God looms large, but me seeing the negative effects of belief in God looms large for me. It’s impossible for it not to. On the other hand, I feel I am over God. If I weren’t doing this show and I weren’t living in a country where religion dominates and contributes to so much catastrophe and stupidity, I don’t think I would be thinking about God at all.

Mule writes:

_Another problem is the fact that it is just not funny. God Said Ha! wasn't funny. Pat wasn't funny. It was excrutiating.__

My response: Well, humor is definitely in the mind of the beholder. I don’t know how to respond to that except to say that enough people were laughing to keep the show open and ticket sales were steady enough that it encouraged me to keep doing it. On the other hand – it’s true, in a city as big as Los Angeles, if there were a monologue about cat mutilation, there might be enough people around who wanted to see that, and it may have a long run. So, a long run is probably not a good indicator of funny. In any case, I accept that you didn’t think my shows were funny. In the case of the Pat movie, you have a large group of people on your side. I thought Pat was funny, but the movie was a big bomb. So, touché.

Mule writes: All of the 'jokes' are crafted to appeal to a microscopic segment of America, that being the Hyperion Avenue, 90026, 90027 zip codes. And no one else. __

My response: Wow! Why didn’t I open my show in that zip code? I had no idea! I don’t even know those zip codes, but I feel should be advertising my film there.

Mule writes:

Without politicking this demographic, Julia would likely still be stealing money from the bar she was working at, rather than from network television.__Like "It's Pat!" this latest effort wil fall as flat as a tarantula on a baby's face.

My response: Well, I seriously doubt I would still be bartending like I was twenty five years ago, but… I don’t know. Wait, so what you are saying is that I have been politicking this demographic for success? Does that include SNL? What about the other TV work? Voice overs? If you are talking about a larger city indie-type demographic, I have earned diddly from that. Most of the money I’ve earned has come from much more mainstream endeavors that you, Mule, would probably approve of. And as far as stealing money from the bar goes, Mule is speaking of a story I told on This American Life where I talked about skimming money from the bar when I was 22 and 23. I regret doing that. It was completely wrong. I told the story because I was interested in how I, as a person who considered myself to be very upstanding and moral, could have let myself justify such behavior. It’s embarrassing and still embarrasses me. But that’s why I wanted to talk about it. Not only that, in that time of my life, the Catholic church played a small part in it. I do not blame my Catholicism for this behavior, I assure you. But I had a twisted view of what opportunity meant – as I discuss in more detail in the This American Life episode. So you could say that Catholicism, in a way, was a character in that story. This is a longer discussion, but I do not think I would still be skimming dollars off at a bar 25 years later. I really don’t.

And now for Mule’s analogy that my film’s reception will be like that of a tarantula falling flat on a baby’s face. Where did you get that? I have not heard this before. Did you make that up? It’s kind of good. Is my film the tarantula? Is the movie-consuming public the baby’s face? I don’t see that this means: bomb.

But aside from that. Yes, maybe this film will fall flat. I have no idea. I feel just so glad that it’s finally a film at all, after all this time. And now I can begin to stop performing it, because I am getting so tired.

And on that note, I retire for the night….


Sheldon said...

Miss Julia,

I would not have had the guts to take on Mule Skinner like that. Kudos, my dear.

Were I to get such harsh criticism, I doubt I'd be able to keep my cool long enough to offer a coherent response.

-- Sheldon
P.S. I still believe that a person should identify him/herself in some way before launching such a detailed personal attack. It's easy to hide behind the Internet and be hateful and mean. Just look on YouTube or MySpace for evidence of that.

melazond said...

Did Mule Skinner actually respond in third person when referencing you and your work? After the initial comment and your response?
That's very odd.
As if you, the person MS is criticizing, hadn't actually responded... maybe the abstraction helps to keep the ire up.
And what is great to me is how you don't fall into the "internet argument" trap. MS is posting cruelly, in order to get a rise out of you, and you dissolve it by agreeing with some points and actually being amused by others.
Oddly I think I've seen the name "the mule skinner" somewhere else on the web before. I wonder if they just troll around....

Overwhelmed by the tribe said...

"I wouldn’t say that God looms large, but me seeing the negative effects of belief in God looms large for me."

Just remember that for many people, such as myself, belief in god has done tremendous good in my life. And like many of my friends i am able to maintain a belief in god without getting wrapped up in institutional religion, without falling prey to fundamentalist thought or politics, and without buying into the cultural bigotries taught by ancient scriptures.
and when it comes to institutional religion and the harm done by it, i would attribute that to human greed and corruption, the same force that does just as much harm without a belief in god. there enough examples of secular political forces that cause human suffering to make this clear.

ShellyD said...

God, you're classy, Julia.

Petra said...

The essential problem with this schtick is the fact that God looms large in the life of every atheist.

Hmmm. There are several debatable things in this ONE sentence.

First of all, how does muleskinner KNOW about the life of EVERY atheist. Wow. That is a power *I* would like to have. Seriously. Imagine the kind of improvements we could make in this world if I knew everything about every atheist. 'Cause, you know, there are a LOT of us out here!

Secondly, and more importantly, muleskinner, whatever powers you have (that make you *think* you know what goes on in the minds of every atheist,) are just a little bit off. Because, you see, your god just doesn't loom large in my life at all. Oh, I do think about your god, Thor, Zeus, Autten, Buddha, Isis, Geb, Jupiter, and Kivati on occasion, but I promise they do not loom large. In fact, the only time your god even enters my mind is when people like you insist on dragging him into the conversation.

But in the end, that's okay, muleskinner, because I know you mean well.

Julia, as you can see, your response to muleskinner's nastiness was MUCH classier than mine.

: ) Petra

Spokane Spirit said...

I'm so glad you are back to the blog. I think it would be fun for you to respond to hate comments IF they are well written and have a compelling grain of truth to them. I'm not sure why you bothered with this one.

My boyfriend and I loved your first night with the show at the Bing. We love your quest and benefit so much from it even though we see things very differently, David Carney, Spokane

Mule Skinner said...

Very good, Julia.

And, no, Shel did not keep his cool long enough to offer a cool response.

A part, that some have missed, is that when we blog, we open ourselves up to criticism. I have found criticism to be of use in many ways.

Not ever response on a blog is going to be an adoring paean. As Your blog is about your work, and about atheist spirituality, I thought some commentary would be welcome.

Many in our community like to speak of dissent as being a good thing, but at the very moment they are confronted with a dissenting point of view, they become enraged and do precisely that which they have accused the dissenter of.

As to the anonymity issue, well we all know that Hollywood is very harsh. Taking a dissenting view, refusing to go along with the status quo, being contrary can lead to blacklisting.

I have a mortgage to pay and other depending on my work in this town.

Were I to lose some of my contacts and contracts, based upon my points of view, things would be hard. I might even have to work as a bartender again.

God bless....

April said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
April said...

I can't get over the tarantula on the baby's face. I'm going to have nightmares now -- and not about your show! Do tarantulas normally fall flat when walking on a baby's face? Is a baby's face especially slippery in some way? What is a tarantula doing near a baby's face? Does this baby have negligent parents or does it live in a zoo? What would happen if a tarantula fell on a baby's face -- would it try to get revenge on the baby for making it fall or would it just get back up again and keep going? Would a tarantula on a baby's face disturb the baby and make it cry or would the baby just take the tarantula in stride?

milkman1096 said...

You should really stop dressing up as a gender unidentifiable character. That shtick got played out the second time you did it on SNL.
Oh wait you're not dressing up as Pat anymore? Oopps sorry please disregard this comment. Get back to Bush bashing and making your clapping seal liberal fans and friends honk their horns with their snouts. All the while convincing poor lost souls that their is no Lord and Saviour.
Jesus did die on a the cross for any and all who will accept him. He is the only way to eternal life.
Please repent Julia. I would love to see you in Heaven someday. I always thought you were really funny in the early nineties. You could tell the same jokes over and over in Heaven just like you do here on Earth.

CuriousMind said...

I think milkman1096 should be commended and thanked for his demonstration of the sort of semi-literate vitriol that Mule Skinner could have spewed.

I'm sure he (milkman) just forgot to preface his comment with: "Hey, could have been worse. Mule Skinner could easily have puked out something like this!"

Matt-DC said...

Julia, please bring your show to Washington DC. I'd luv to see it.

For the last 3 years I have swung back and forth between atheism and belief in god. right now i'm in the atheist corner.

I like reading what you have to say about this.

I guess I'm okay with not believing in god, but also having a spiritual life, which I cannot even explain right now. Somehow "spiritual" is a naturally occurring thing, not god-powered.

anyway, i embrace and support your living in the gray area. "god" seems to answer too many questions. i think life is more un-figure-outable than some of the religionists claim it is.

Susan said...

Julia, you are brave to say what you think so openly... I share many of your thoughts, but keep them to myself.. because I live in your standard town.. surrounded by "conservative" people.. Keep doing what you are doing... You seem like such a nice person... and are extremely funny!

Sheldon said...

Now I get it. They're not just pissed off that Julia Sweeney is speaking out about her disbelief in an invisible being that controls the universe. They've turned political on her because of her hatred of their "Gentleman's C" President. That always makes 'em show their true colors.

And MS can portray himself as a victim if he wants to, but what he did was most certainly NOT dissent. Dissent is "to differ in opinion." It has nothing to do with riducule, spiteful remarks about someone's career.

So come down off the cross, Ass Scraper, we need the wood.

Anonymous said...

Julia -

I saw you in Koo Koo Roo recently, and for a second I thought, is that Julia Sweeney's Aunt Barbara?

I am always surprised that people have time to go on blog sites they disklike. Then, to find the time to angrily respond.. Hmm. I may need to brush up on my copy of Seven Habits of Highly Effective Internet Users.

I saw your show with Jill at Largo, and it rocked. I think you are brilliant, brave, and hilarious.

I admit a part of me does wish you were still someone I might see at mass at St. Monica's. We would roll our eyes at some, most, okay all of the homily, but the songs would be great, and there is always a doughnut sale afterwards. (-: However, I sincerely respect how much athesism means to you, and I really enjoy listening to your thoughts about it all.

I guess that is it for now. I didn't realize I had to live in Silverlake to enjoy you so I am off to pack..

Mule Skinner said...

This is from my new little friend Sheldon, the arbiter of tolerance.

"And MS can portray himself as a victim if he wants to, but what he did was most certainly NOT dissent. Dissent is "to differ in opinion." It has nothing to do with riducule, spiteful remarks about someone's career.

So come down off the cross, Ass Scraper, we need the wood. "

And what of my career, Shel? You would certainly do anything you could to let their air out of it, I am sure. And, by the the way, I am a green/progressive democrat, so you may retire the attempt to wire me to W. A Mule Skinner is a teamster. Maybe you've heard of us before?

Besides, the ass who seems at this point to be scraped, Shel, is you.

It is fellow like you, Shel, with your hatred, your bile, and your anger who make the Republicans look calm and thoughtfull.

God bless...

Natasha said...

Before actually admitting to myself that I didn't believe in God, I spent so much time thinking about God. I prayed for faith constantly and read all of these books on how to believe. Now, I think about religion in terms of how it affects our government, our laws, and our foreign policy. I don't believe and yet this notion of god has a huge effect on my daily life. So, god does "loom large" but not quite in the way I believe Mule meant it.

Ms. Sweeney, I drove from Phoenix to Los Angeles to see LGOG twice, one of which was the taping of the movie. (Don't worry, I am not a stalker :)) I absolutely loved it both times. I am amazed at how articulate, reasoned and funny you are. And you were so generous with the audience. I have no doubt that the movie will be a success!

Kevin said...

Hi Julia, I truly enjoyed "Letting Go of God". I am on a long motorcycle trip (Dallas, TX to Alaska and back) and have listened to it twice through. I have for years ridden the fence. Deep down, I knew I didn't believe. I would love to buy you a cup of coffee sometime. Kevin Huddleston Dallas, TX tkh1756@yahoo.com

Ragan said...

Hi, Julia,

This comment is in response to your post about Molly Ivins' passing. While I was a graduate student at the University of Texas at Austin and a member of the local poetry slam team, Molly invited me to one of her monthly parties to perform poetry. Once a person was invited once to the party, he or she had a standing and open invitation to return. There were so many interesting folks in attendance! Molly was utterly gracious--so full of love and light. She'd sit outside smoking and drinking for hours, telling wonderful stories about politicians, life in Texas, and equal rights. I'm so glad to read that you're a fan of her work.

Molly's spirit live on in people like you. While at UT, I also participated in speech competitions. Once summer, I taught at the high school speech camp and coached a young woman named Michelle Hill. Michelle's father had recently died from cancer and I recommended she peform GOD SAID HA as a means to help her work through enormity of losing a loved one (as you had lost your brother). I recommended that she track you down on the internet, so that she could share her experience with you. The following year Michelle told me that you had written her back and communicated compassion and support of her and her performance of your work. I recapitulate this tale because I think it demonstrates the power of our narratives to help heal people. You, like Molly, have such a distinctive voice! When I hear other people read work of your's with which I'm not familiar, I always recognize the ways that you put words together. I can do the same with Molly.

At any rate, I just wanted to drop in and show you some love. I currently live in WeHo, right down the steet from Largo. I'd love to see you perform.


Ragan Fox


Nick said...


I have a question:

Who the hell is this troll named Mule Skinner?

I mean, nothing serious, but Julia, I wouldn't engage with someone who's just present to bitch. Seems to me like all they do is Misunderstand your motives, misattribute what you say, and persist in Ad Hominem attacks.

(Don't feed the trolls)

"One seldom discovers a true believer that is worth knowing."
H.L. Mencken"

Mule Skinner said...

Nick, Shel:

Where's the love and tolerance?

It seems to me that Julia takes criticism of her professional work far better than either of you.

A troll? Nick, c'mon. :-) Why resort to name-calling? Shel REALLY hates ad-hominem attacks. He may even put you into the micro-penis club, like he did me.

By shouting and cursing me, you have done nothing to reinforce your argument.

Take care and God bless...

Mule Skinner said...

Wow! I met Molly Ivins once, at an event for Ann Richards.

She seemed funny, at first but, then she turned rather angry. She ate everything in sight, and Governor Richards was so drunk she couldn't focus her eyes. Staggering drunk and a rage-a-holic. Quite a mess, the two of them.

Carl R. Sams said...

*drives in the stake on a sighn reading*


Sheldon said...


I hope this URL works, cuz you guys and gals have GOT to see this.

- Sheldon -

Scott M said...

I just wanted to say, I am very pleased you are blogging more often. Your thoughts on letting go of God should be read by anyone who wants American theocracy to become official.

Mule Skinner said...

Carl R. Sams is too right about trolls. That guy Sheldon is really something else, eh?

I guess a troll would be an angry mutant, living beneath a bridge,pooping in a bag and exacting a fee from any who would cross? :-)

Shel is probably a pretty good guy when he takes his psych meds.

God bless...

Tom Moran said...

You know Julia, I'm not sure that Mule Skinner's post really merited such a lengthy reply. But I'm kinda sorta impressed that you did so.

Nick said...




Mule Skinner said...





Stop acting like I stole your lunch money in the 3rd Grade.

AtheistMommy said...


I just listened to part of "Letting Go of God," awesome stuff! I think you really hit the nail on the head with that one. Most Atheists were once Christians, some were devout Christians and went though a lot of the stuff you mentioned. I'm no different, my childhood was spent in church. I started to reject the idea at about the age of 12. I just want to think you for coming out like this and doing these shows. You're not only telling people your story and entertaining them but educating them on what it's really like. Thank you.

I'd like to respond to the Mule comment...

"The essential problem with this schtick is the fact that God looms large in the life of every atheist."

Now, if I only had a buck for every time someone has said something remotely close to this to me. For some reason if you talk about God, especially the Christian God, you're then obsessed. Why? Christians talk about God all the time, how is this any different? Why is questioning God viewed as "loom" and worshiping him not?

However, I think most people forget, most Atheists were Christian. This would be why they talk so much about the Christian God. Its really not that hard to figure out. And yes, some Atheists are angry but no Atheist is angry at God. That would imply that Atheists believe in god.

Now, this goes well with saying that there are no Atheists, which is another reason why I'm so happy you're out there talking about your experience. We are here, we are real, and we exist.

As for Jesus dying for our sins, I had that same question when I was a teen. I kept thinking, why if he died for our sins, is there still sins? Why do people still go to hell for sinning? It doesn't quite make sense. It was a needless killing of a son for something that wasn't solved. Doesn't that bother anyone else?

Anyway, sorry, I tend to babble a bit too, LOL : )

Atheist in a mini van. said...

Mule said:The essential problem with this schtick is the fact that God looms large in the life of every atheist. God means more to Julia than to the average believer, and is constantly on her mind.

Since you've posted in this entry, I hope no one minds if I take you to task on this comment.

You're not getting it, Mule? Atheists do not believe in your God. That's what the word means - a (no) theos (God). No god! So, while you might see God as being an overwhelming presence in your life, and would suffer from an absence of that magical, sky nanny, those who don't BELIEVE in God do not feel either a presence or an absence.

The reason why atheists tend to talk about religion and theism is simple: people, such as yourself, feel duty bound to share their theological burdens with others. If you're a Bible abiding Christian, then maybe you should accept the command given to you in your 2,000 year old book of oral tradition horribly mistranslated: Yoke like to like and move on!! If Julia doesn't believe, it's her business...don't bind yourself to her.

mule says: She seemed funny, at first but, then she turned rather angry. She ate everything in sight, and Governor Richards was so drunk she couldn't focus her eyes. Staggering drunk and a rage-a-holic. Quite a mess, the two of them.
Wow! You've got "judgemental" down-pat. And, of course, all of your judgements are based on subjective observations and emotions. *thumbs up*

Kelly said...

Julia! Mule is obviously a sad lonely horrible person with nothing better to do than try to spread that sentiment. Sounds like he may be short too. I'm just saying. Most people that are that bitter, are pretty short. I'm sorry, I don't have any kind of statistics to back that up. The internet is an amazing tool. It allows everyone who has an opinion to get it "out there" into cyberspace for everyone else to see. Opinions are like a$$holes. Everyone's got one. Call me old fashioned. I still believe if you can't say something nice, then you shouldn't say anything at all. Let me assure you. Julia...You are freaking amazing. You are so talented. And I'm sorry. Pat was and still is funny. I loved the movie too. Humor like that. Amazing. Pat makes my skin crawl..yet warms my heart. And GOD Said Ha! Oh my gosh. It breaks my heart. I laugh. I cry. I love it. Thank you for all the joy you have brought to my life.

Mule Skinner said...


Atheist in a Straight Jacket, as well as others professing that particular faith, have mentioned God far more than I in all of their postings. The only one who understood, so far, was Julia herself. For that, bravo!

Perhaps Atheists and Evangelicals alike could benefit from something the 12 step folks try to adhere to: Attraction, rather than promotion.

As for Kelly, I had quite a good laugh when you mirrored Shel's angry spleen venting, wherein he was more specific in his judgment of my size.

You have to compunction about judging me, which is a tremendous irony. Judgment is important Kelly, otherwise you might find yourself in bed with unattractive, less than lving people, no?

God Bless....

Greg Peterson said...

You're like the Erma Bomback of rationality. No pressure on writing more often, but for what it's worth, I sure love it. Thanks.

MuseMe said...

Julia, one of your adoring paeans here.... Mule Skinner, dear, dear... I can only imagine how much righteous sacrificial stress he/she must be under in the constant fear of being blacklisted in Hollywood for speaking up for God...and by Julia Sweeney, of all the reprobate people - well known for using her insider clout to ruin careers, or maybe by those of us who know someone who knows someone and join her in 'meandering the world with a sinister intent'...sigh... I remember, quite fondly, when I was delusional and believed with unquenchable passion that I knew what God wanted for everyone and the idea of human nature, critical inquiry, and rational thinking was antichrist. Ahhhhh, those were the good old days when life was simple and the questions were never hard because I had all the answers. One thing I DO know now....people who are THAT narrow do not know funny. The show is smart, knee slapping hysterical, and provoking in a way that only good observational comedy is. And, I suspect, only to those who have stood at the alter in confusion when truth is called a lie and a lie is called the truth. I doubt that it was dissent that you responded to - being such a great dissenter yourself - I read it as clearing up being misrepresented. Such is life.....I say, next stop for the show - KANSAS! Middle America needs to enjoy the opportunity to think differently. What's the zip code there? Have tarantula will travel.

Anonymous said...

Nothing wrong with skimming from a bar. I did it, my father did it, his father did it and if I had a son, I'd like to think he'd skim too.

Brian said...


Rock on, sister.

Your friend in Houston,


Mule Skinner said...

Museum was proving my point....that there are many of the athesit faith for whom God looms rather large. Some have even taken to quoting scripture here. Really quite funny, that.

Please let me observe that the devotedly non-observant make much of being told what and how to think. I agree that this is obnoxious, but here goes Museum:

" alter in confusion when truth is called a lie and a lie is called the truth. I doubt that it was dissent that you responded to - being such a great dissenter yourself - I read it as clearing up being misrepresented. Such is life.....I say, next stop for the show - KANSAS! Middle America needs to enjoy the opportunity to think differently. What's the zip code there?"

So why the need to tell the nice people in Kansas what to think, how to believe?

She proves my point rather nicely. :-)

And did any catch the debate? Bababkazma is slippin.... what are we to do?

God Bless...

Anonymous said...

I just read your essay, "Letting Go of God" and it was so dead-on as to some things I have gone through. The details are obviously different but the way you wrote about your heightening awareness of how angry Jesus actually was and all of that old testament stuff - right where I've been at.
I left "organized" Christianity 6 years ago and yup, it still does somewhat dominate my thoughts. The whole worldview that fundamentalist Christianity presents is so daunting to completely remove yourself from.
I realize I'm going on here but I really identified with your essay and wanted to thank you for it.
Oddly (and disturbingly) my sister and brother-in-law now are "born-again" Christians and I see the pattern, the Christian-speak, etc. My brother-in-law even went so far as to e-mail me about all of my "sins" and how dare I do this and that after all Christ has done for me. aaargh. Destructive.
Anyway, thanks again.
- Karen
I can't sign on for some reason my blogger address - www.nearmiddleagerantings.blogspot.com

Nana K said...

Julia, as a skeptic and atheist, I am so grateful for your courageous words and your quest for the truth. I decided over 40 years ago that church and the practice of religion was just the way to "pull the wool over" our eyes. For that reason, I am not so sure that George W is such a religious person--I think it highly possible that he just used religion and the Religious Right to get into the White House. I certainly don't think he is an atheist, but he just doesn't seem sincere to me.

Dahan said...


You are endlessly tedious to read. A car wreck of failed ideology dispersed with 6th grade insults and taunting. Still...nope, can't finish that sentence. You're just a complete waste of space on the net.
And I don't need your made up sky-gods blessing, thanks anyways.

MuseMe said...

Dear Mr. Mule Skinner, I sense a hint of prideful earnest in your review, for that I shall be gentle. First of all, I am MuseMe, not Museum. Second, at no time did I say that we should go to Kansas to tell the nice people there WHAT to think or believe. I was quite clear in saying that they should be given the OPPORTUNITY to think differently, which is not a generousity most evangelicals or radical conservatives allow. As you well know, if you are aquainted with religious group-think at all, and I suspect that you are, you CLEARLY understand that even being in the presence of such radical ideas as put forth in Mz Sweeney's thought provoking show is not encouraged. The freedom of ideas, questions, and inquiry is NOT a chacteristic of religious devotion in this country. Or in most any other country it seems.

When you said that I had proven your point, I missed the point. What IS your point? And as far as god looming large, please.... How can you possibly expect people who have been raised to believe in the supernatural, who are bombarded with mindless god-speak daily, who have to live at effect of laws created to legalize morality as defined by an invisable being in the sky, and who have to listen to gleeful babble about the soon and certain destruction of unbelievers on the planet by four horsemen in the clouds...HOW are we supposed to NOT think about god?? Are you so naive that you believe that thinking critically about the concept of god or it's oppressive use in society is the same as BELIEVING IN god? Is THAT your point? And who are YOU to regulate who gets to quote scripture (not that I did)? It's a book. ANYbody gets to quote it - without your approval or need for your permission.

You must be young to be so smug. I encourage you to stay in dialogue with atheists and people of other faiths. You may learn something about yourself.

God bless.....

Sean said...

I think that open,honest and respectful debate is healthy. One of the only things I have a hard time tolerating is intolerance. I have a hard time with so-called Christians behaving in such non-Christian ways. The first being this war. Our "christian" president who on one hand speaks about the sanctity of life yet on the other hand conducts an unjust, immoral war. How many deaths so far. Where is the sanctity of those lives?

Julia, I have always enjoyed your performances and I doubly enjoy your honesty and ability to step aside and answer questions/criticisms like Mule Skinner. S/He certainly has a lot to say. Might I suggest a blog of his/her own.

Keep up the good work while we still have the right to free speech.

Mule Skinner said...

MuseMe: I guess my slip was freudian! :-) sorry about that. But, important things are on publis display in museums, so it is not all bad.

As far as--->
" at no time did I say that we should go to Kansas to tell the nice people there WHAT to think or believe. I was quite clear in saying that they should be given the OPPORTUNITY to think differently, which is not a generousity most evangelicals or radical conservatives allow. As you well know, if you are aquainted with religious group-think at all, and I suspect that you are, you CLEARLY understand that even being in the presence of such radical ideas as put forth in Mz Sweeney's thought provoking show is not encouraged. The freedom of ideas, questions, and inquiry is NOT a chacteristic of religious devotion in this country. Or in most any other country it seems. "

I can only believe you haven't left your own area code in a while. Recently, after the tornado that destoyed Greenburg, Kansas, my union sent me as a part of a secualr charity to help with relief there, MuseMe. You would be shocked to know that in the decades since Dorothy clicked her heels together, Kansas has built libraries, has improvements usch as sewers, indoor plumbing/toilets and the internet. They even elected a Progressive female Governor, Kathleen Sebelius.

While I am a believer, I am not an evangelical, but the evangelicals I met there were rather tolerant, as well as inclusive. Did not observe any of the bigotry, hatred, or prejudice that you seem so sold on for that state. I suspect they would have no problem tolerating you and your ideas.

Based upon your latest post, I could only believe that you are the intolerant one.

God Bless...

Mule Skinner said...


Julia Sweeney is certainly a tolerant soul, and arrivied at her beliefs, I suspect, after a great deal of thought.

But what got into you?
"dispersed with 6th grade insults and taunting. Still...nope, can't finish that sentence. You're just a complete waste of space on the net.
And I don't need your made up sky-gods blessing, thanks anyways.

I think the word you intended to you, or which would have better fit the sentence is 'intersperced,' rather than 'dispersed.'

There are outlets for this, community colleges and the like, where you could improve your writing skills. It might be a good idea, no?


God Bless...

MuseMe said...

Darling Mule Skinner,

I take your museums comment as a compliment - thank you. Then, you came sooooo close to understanding what I was saying but are still just this far from being able to acknowledge the topic. Kansas, in my meaning, is not a state but a state of mind - which you touched on with Dorothy clicking her heels reference. You are so close but not quite willing to really converse yet.

It is not neccessary to justify the good people in churches by the works that they do. They are not justified by their works, but by faith lest any man should boast. Most true Christians are kind, loving, tolerant folks - especially when they are working with those who they know truly need and want their help or comfort. (Of course, non-believers help hurricane victums too, all without the help of faith) This is all good. This is NOT what the conversation is about. On the contrary, if we had more Christians like that, the world might be in a better place. Unfortunately, we don't.

And, OF COURSE there are progressive people everywhere, THANK GOD! It gives me hope that reason and rational thinking may be on the upswing. What is disquieting about Dorothy thinking (no offense to people in Kansas) is the simplistic conclusions drawn when it comes to complex questions. You talk about experiencing evangelicals as tolerant - it's not possible for you to know how intolerant they are because you are not the one that they are intolerant toward. Surely you can understand that. Try being muslem, or gay, or a social liberal, or a Mormon (poor Mit Romney...a cultist worthy of eternal damnation to any bible believing Christian)

Do me a favor, please. Ask yourself this question, "What makes other people's god a myth and my god not a myth?" I don't need the answer but you do. It is what keeps you from allowing yourself to see WHY those like myself so not warm to being lectured to. We would be quite happy to be allowed our own beliefs - even non-belief - without legal or social consequence.

Contrary to your opinon, I have traveled outside my zip code once or twice. What scares me the most wherever I go are people who believe that I need to think and believe like they do or I will go to hell. And anyone who disagrees with them is fair game for whatever they get in way of discrimination. As my brother was dying with AIDS, I had to listen to idiots like fat, rich, self promoting Jerry Farewell talk about AIDS being god's wrath on homosexuals. When Farwell died recently, a friend called to say, "The wicked witch is dead." You have no clue what intolerance is. A lively conversation on a blog ain't it darlin.

Fred Bless you.

Dahan said...


Ah, woe is me, did I misused a word? I guess that probably means that what I said was incorrect. Well, actually, no it doesn't. You are still just a waste of space.
Think I'll pass on the community college idea. I think finishing my masters thesis last year was enough writing for a bit...at least untill my doctorate.
I shall allow you to write the last bit of communication between us if you want. I don't feel the need to have last word, and I've already wasted more time on you than you rate.

Sheldon said...


Mule: Actually, the word is 'interspersed,' not 'intersperced.' You might want to pick up a dictionary before critiquing other people's writing. You know what they say about glass houses, right?

Mule Skinner said...

My friend Shel said:

"Sheldon said...

Mule: Actually, the word is 'interspersed,' not 'intersperced.' You might want to pick up a dictionary before critiquing other people's writing. You know what they say about glass houses, right? "

You are probably right Shel...I will take that to mean you were referring to your post last week regarding penis size? :-)

Actually, Dahan is kind of angry, and why I just do not know. He should be very proud of having made it so far in education given his inabilities.

Imagine a person with such limitations making it into an advanced degree? It is really something, though I have heard that PHD stands for Piled High and Deep.

God Bless...

MuseMe said...

Hey Julia,

I'm halfway through the audio of Stumbling on Happiness, GREAT recomend, thanks! I love good audio books because I easily listen to them over and over and get something more every time. I love to read but rarely find a book that, when I end it, I start reading it all over again. I'll recommend Bill Moyer's The Language of Life - I think it's only on tape. I avoided it for the longest time then finally bought it on a drive to Big Sur. WONDERFUL! Each poet has their own strengths and unique story, some are just chilling. Within a year I had worn the first set of tapes out and had to buy another. When is your show with Jill going to be happening?

Anonymous said...


You are obviously here to attempt to get attention from our lovely hostess, by this 3rd grade tactic of socking her on the arm?
Thus far you have achieved your juvenile goal-she did respond-and you must be forever in your glory. Pin it upon your wall and shag off to it if you must, as,this will be the closest you will ever get to darling Julia. I am sure she will not banter with you as a practice.
As for the rest of the fine folks here...you have already insulted our hostess in 10 different and repulsive ways, and if that were not enough- you have come here to insult the memory of Ann Richards, and our beloved Molly Ivins.
There are therapists that can work through your feelings of inadequecies. I implore you to seek help. As for your anonymity being the reason for maintaining your place in Hollywood- I am sure that regardless of what you do or say- nobody will notice, much less care.

Best to you Lovey, in your continuing struggle with mental health.


Dahan said...

alrighty folks. I think we all, including myself have given old MS enough attention. Let him continue on with his pathetic attempts at witticism if he wishes, it IS an open forum after all, but stop responding to him. He's not worth it and you only make him happy by acknowledging him. Like many insecure and ignorant people he believes that any attention is good attention. Stop feeding his addiction and get back to topics more worthy of commenting on.

Mule Skinner said...

Ah yes, Sam....

Those were the days...cavorting about in a straight jacket...sipping iced-tea laced with horazine...being chased by burly men in white suits with butterfly nets....life on the Funny Farm.

Sam, please take note: Dahan is an eminent scholar, pecking away at his masters degree, and has allowed me to matriculate to the 6th Grade, not the 3rd to which you have so vociferously consigned me.

Did it ever occur to any of you that I might actually know Julia? That I may have worked around Julia? Yes, I was critical. And Julia took the criticisms, fair or unfair, and responded as an adult might. Yes, I like her, but I do not like her entire body of work, nor do I agree with her on all things.

As to Ann Richards and Molly Ivins, that was in the context of a personal recollection. Julia had wished to meet Molly Ivins, which is something that I did.

As an official in my local of a labor union, it is my job to raise money, register voters and participate in activites of the union, which, naturally, is associated with the Democrat Party.

I attended an event of the party, in Austin, and met both Governor Richards as well as Ms. Ivins. While they were interesting characters, both were very real, flawed people. I only reported what my experience was: that Ann Richards was staggering drunk and that Molly Ivins was out of control (off her meds) angry, and ate everything in sight.

If others had different experiences, they may share them.

God Bless...

Boadicea said...

Wow, I just found your blog, Julia, and I'm so happy! I admire you so much.

I went to Our Lady of Fatima school(would have went on to Marycliff, but we moved, so I'm sure you probably new some of my classmates) in Spokane during the 60's. Sister Antonella was legendary, and I understand why you loved her. I thought she had the most beautiful eyes, I had my own "savior" (groan) in Sister Alice Blessing, who recognized that I wasn't a brat with an attitude problem, but a bright girl with a hideous home life. Now Sister Mary Howard and Sister Mary Louise were different cases, and probably have much to do with me being an atheist now.
Sorry abut the rambling, but your mention of Sister Antonella got me revved up!
As for mule skinner, I find that his type serve as a brilliant reminder of why I'm an atheist. I used to just keep my mouth shut about it, but now I never pass up the oportunity to present my own alternative viewpoints when people are so presumptuous as to assume I worship an imaginary Sky Guy.
Julia, I'm so proud to be from the same city and the same era as such a bright, brave woman as you are.

Christian Mom said...

In response to atheistmommy's comment "As for Jesus dying for our sins, I had that same question when I was a teen. I kept thinking, why if he died for our sins, is there still sins? Why do people still go to hell for sinning? It doesn't quite make sense. It was a needless killing of a son for something that wasn't solved. Doesn't that bother anyone else?"

God created us in His image and with a free will. He didn't want a bunch of robots that were forced to love Him and follow Him. He wants us to CHOOSE to be in a relationship with Him. Because we sin and He is completely just and holy, He has to punish our sins with death. By sending Jesus, God gave us a way to be saved from a life in hell and separation from Him. Jesus came to earth, lived as a human being, was tempted in all the same ways we are, and did NOT sin. While God did send Jesus to earth, Jesus then CHOSE to lay his life down as a substitution for ours. His death didn't eliminate sin, but allows us to be presented before God sinless because of His substitutionary sacrifice. When a person chooses to believe in Jesus, they receive the gift of eternal life. Jesus' death gives us hope and joy of eternity with God. If a person chooses not to believe in Jesus, then the punishment for his or her sins is death and separation from God. Jesus' death wasn't needless and the problem was solved for those that choose to put their faith in Him.

John 10:10 "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."

Bizzy said...

Hi Julia!

I'm totally not commenting on your post, because I'm too busy being a slobbering overly excited FAN! I'm thrilled to see you posting and, I swear, I will calm down the next time I comment, but right now? I've just got to say? "And God Said Ha"? Genius. Can't wait for the new movie.

Also--have you thought about a link list? And then linking maybe to me?

I'm linking to you. Is all I'm saying.

Rock on, Julia!


Dahan said...

Christian Mom

There are many flaws in your argument, but I will point out just one for now. You say that "When a person chooses to believe in Jesus, they receive the gift of eternal life." Well, that's a bit tricky, you see, you can't "choose" to believe in something. Unless your talking about self delusion. I don't "choose" to believe the sky is blue, or that I live in Minnesota, or that the world I live on is basically round and orbits a star. I believe them because the best available information we have says that this is the case. Your saying that I could choose to believe in Jesus is like if I told you that you could believe that the world we live on is flat and rotated around a giant lemmon. I don't think you could do that. You could SAY you did, and even ACT like it, but that's not the same thing as real belief is it? No, the only way to get to that point is if you worked hard to delude yourself into believing it. This would be easier to do if you thought you could live happily forever if you did accept the premis, and if there were millions or billions of others that already held the same delusions.

christian mom said...

You say, “You can’t ‘choose’ to believe something.“

I disagree. We choose to believe things all the time. We choose to believe that certain people are telling us the truth (or not). We choose to believe that taking Tylenol when we have a headache will make us feel better. We choose to believe that our car mechanic will fix the vibration in the steering wheel.

These choices to believe are often based on historical, scientific or experiential evidence. Maybe a certain person we know tends to lie, so we choose to believe that what they are saying may not be true. Or, science has shown and my experience has confirmed that taking Tylenol when I have a headache makes the pain go away.

I think the point you are trying to make is that my choice to believe does not change the truth (i.e., if I "choose" to believe the world is flat, it doesn't make the world flat) and I would agree with that. My choice to believe in Jesus doesn’t change who Jesus is, but when I look at the evidence (scientific, historical and experiential), I believe that Jesus is who he claimed to be.

It sounds like you don’t choose to believe the same thing. Maybe you haven’t looked at the same evidence or just have chosen to interpret it differently, but as someone who seems very interested in finding evidence before they make a choice to believe something, I would suggest reading “Mere Christianity” by C.S. Lewis (someone who lived much of his life as an Atheist) or “The Case for Christ” by Lee Strobel (another former Atheist who describes himself as a “former spiritual skeptic”). Both would provide a more in-depth conversation on some of these very ideas.

Dahan said...

Christian Mom

I appreciate your feedback, however I think you are confusing hope with belief to some extent. You hope the Tylenol will take away your headache. It doesn't always though, as you know. You hope the mechanic will be able to fix your car. Sometimes he/she can't though. Still, your using the best available evidence, which is all I do when I view the universe and conclude the the most logical thing is that there is no sky-god up there running the show. I don't choose to believe this, it is just a natural outcome of my observations. So to round it back to the original comment. Since I have not come up with the same conclusion as you, most Christians would claim that I would be consigned to hellfire for eternity, while you would live happily (can't help but think of "Brave New World" here) forever. Interesting sort of thing, that, isn't it.
I have read "Mere Christianity" before although not the other reading you mentioned. I also have about 14 years of bible education, etc under my belt, so I am not unaware of the underlying arguments for there being a god. They just aren't as sound as those for there not being a god.
Check out the "God Delusion" sometime. That and "Demon Hanuted World" a classic by Sagan to go on the shelf next to "Mere Christianity". Best to ya.

Dahan said...

C M,

One more thing. Even if I were to accept that you actually do "Believe" that the tylenol will take away your head ache, that belief is not something you chose to have. We don't do that. You would believe it because of past experience, commercials, testimonials by friends, etc. Nobody says to themselves. "I'm going to choose to believe in...whatever." Nobody sane at least. So again, you can't "choose" to believe Jesus was a god.

Tom said...

I posted this on a blog where a bunch of people were attacking Sam Harris, but received no response. Maybe Christian Mom can take a crack at it.

For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that who so ever believeth in him should not perish but have ever lasting life!
John 3:16 New King James Version

I understand that to lose a child is just about the worst thing that can possibly happen. I get that. I can't even begin to comprehend the horror were I to lose my kids. But...this is GOD we're supposedly talking about. Big, all-knowing, omniscient dude who is supposedly father & son at the same time.

My problem is this: what does it mean he GAVE his only son? Ya, for 3 days maybe, all the while knowing he would get him back "to sit at the right hand of the father". I’d say that’s a pretty minor, calculated ploy in the scheme of things.

So sure, he had to allow his son to suffer, and die (briefly), but what kind of sacrifice is that compared to some mere human who loses their child for EVER. (at least, for the rest of their temporal existence)? There's no comparison to the depth of grief of losing someone “forever” compared to knowing you're getting them "back" and all will be rosey.

Why is this example held up as the supreme example of sacrifice? I just don't get it.

Petra said...

My problem is this: what does it mean he GAVE his only son? Ya, for 3 days maybe


Someone here (maybe Julia?) said something along the lines of, "People with cancer SUFFER and die, Jesus had a bad weekend."

: ) Petra

christian mom said...


Your question is a very valid one, and I'm glad that you are thinking about these things. Let me just give you a little of my own personal background. I grew up in a Christian home, lost a parent to death, questioned why God would allow that to happen and was very angry for a long time. I did a lot of searching and decided that I did want to follow Jesus, even though I can't explain why God didn't choose to save my parent from an early death. I study the Bible regularly, have attended church for many years, and went to a Christian college. That being said, I am in no way a Bible scholar, but I do want to attempt to answer your question.

The sacrifice of the Father was not that He simply sent His son to die to have him back 3 days later. But, that in Jesus' death, Jesus took the sins of the whole world onto him and had to endure separation from God. God knowingly sent Jesus to a torturous death that He didn't deserve in the place of us. (It's like a person sending his son to take a death penalty sentence in place of his neighbor's son who really committed the crime and is not deserving of this gift.) It was a huge sacrifice by God the Father and more than just losing a child to death. I don't understand the agony Jesus felt by having the sins of the world on Him for 3 days and being separated from the Father, but His sacrifice and victory over death was God's way of reconciling sinful man to Himself and opening the door for us to have a relationship with Him.

Sheldon said...

To those of you currently directing your comments to Christian Mom:

1. Approach nearest brick wall.
2. Place head approximately three inches away from brick wall.
3. Tilt head at least 30 degrees away from brick wall.
4. With considerable force, tilt head >30 degrees toward brick wall.
5. Repeat until unconscious and/or desire to engage in futile debate about imaginary characters subsides.

carrileeb said...

Thanks for the laughs - smart funny blogs on your site! I cannot see/hear "Dubya" without instantly, involuntarily blurting out "Moron!" - just can't help it.
If you/someone you know is involved with Alzheimer's could you look at this blogsite in case you could help this woman?
Thank you. Carrilee

carrileeb said...

Thanks for the laughs - smart funny blogs on your site! I cannot see/hear "Dubya" without instantly, involuntarily blurting out "Moron!" - just can't help it.
If you/someone you know is involved with Alzheimer's could you look at this blogsite in case you could help this woman?
Thank you. Carrilee

Mule Skinner said...

May we presume from Carrileeb's double posting that Alzheimer's has already overtaken her?

As a progressive, George W. Bush is plenty troubling. But, we have a problem looming in 2008.

While each of the big 3 Democrat Party candidates each made a statement of their religious faith at the last debate, they all look weak and pathetic...like they don't mean it.

With the Son of a Mill Worker, Hillary Rodham and Babakazama running, it is fairly certain that the next resident of the Whitehouse will be a religious conservative, Mitt Romney. He already has a double digit lead in Iowa and New Hampshire. Very troubling.

God Bless....

MuseMe said...

Dear Julia,

Break-a-leg this weekend in the windy city! They're going to love you and I can't wait to hear about it on your blog.

My head is spinning with Stumbling on Happiness....it's a fun ride. I just hate it when reality screws up a good fantasy....damnit!

Enjoy them enjoying you!

Ken said...

Julia, I saw your show a year ago when you performed in my theatre with IRA Glass...Ken in Austin...I arranged for you to borrow my babysitter...anyway, your show changed my life...took away the self imposed Catholic guilt. Love you for that. You can read my blog at http://kenstein64.wordpress.com. When your film is done, give us a call so we can screen it at the theatre. We'll invite everyone who came to your sold-out show last year. Screw Mule. He didn't get it. His loss.

Anonymous said...


I have just read that you are engaged to be married in February.


you're a total doll, and the guy is one lucky fella.

Damn! Hearts are breaking all over the place. :^(

Victorya said...

I just found this and now can't wait to find out more about "letting go of God"

Religion is a hard thing for me to come to terms with because, as you said,

"Seeing the negative effects of belief in God looms large for me."

My parents, and later just my mother, used religion as a reason for abuse, as have many parents. It's a hard dichotomy to deal with as an adult, but even harder as a child- God is good but you have to suffer to end up with Him in the end. "suffer the little children" and all that.

Religion, as a social construct, has been beneficial and there are times I just wonder if we have moved past the need for religion as our unifying force, that now it just creates fear, confusion, and dissidence.

(I'm not spell-checking :) )

I don't know, God still 'looms large' for me but I have a lot that He needs to take accountability for. Many of my friends were raped as children and while we, the kids, knew the adults didn't because our common beleif, as taught to us by the church, was that bad things happen because we've sinned in the eyes of the Lord. We all prayed fervently more for forgiveness of our perceived sins than for help to get us out of abusive households, and now that sickens me.

I'm going to have to check in more often. I always found your work intelligent and engaging and am happy to hear you are doing well and working on a project that excites you.

Holly by golly! said...

Oh my! This guy Mule Skinner has just killed this BLOG.

What happened to you, Julia? Fight back! And don't let worms like Mule Skinner Post anymore, please?

Anonymous said...

Well as someone who's not an atheist (I'm a backsliding agnostic) and from the heart of Christian Conservative Country (Wheaton, IL) I gotta say I'm a HUGE fan of Julia's. (As a matter of fact I've never seen "It's Pat" and now I"ve decided I'm putting that on the top of my Netflix queue.)

I don't get Christian's in this country -- like Mule Skinner and his ilk. They talk about God's love all the time, but they aren't hesitant about spewing hate towards those they disagree with. Doesn't sound very "Christ-like." And when Julia defends herself, he says she's "enraged". I didn't get that from her response at all. Just the opposite. It was thoughtful and rational. Sheesh. Take a pill, Mule.

The final irony is that he then admits in his response that HE'S from Hollywood!!

Frankly, I'm tired of conservatives talking about Hollywood "liberals". I can't think of any Hollywood (elected) Democrats -- although I'm sure there have been some. But I can think of a slew of Hollywood Republicans: Ronald Reagan, Arnold Schwartenzegger (sp!?), that guy from the Love Boat, Sonny Bono, that guy from Law and Order who wants to run for President, Clint Eastwood.

And the stuff that comes out of Hollywood in the last ten years or more is MIGHTY conservative. (Passion of the Christ was no Disney Family Pic) Yes, there has been a "coming out" of a lot of gay people in Hollywood -- but Gay doesn't mean liberal. I think Carl Rove proves that. Opps. Did I say that? I told him I'd keep that secret.

For example look at TV: There are more Law and Order Shows (and their analogues) on TV than one can shake a billy club at, it seems. Lots and lots of true crime and punishment shows, too. But I can't think of one show -- fiction or news or documentary that talks about police brutality, or the burgeoning private prison business.

When's the last time you saw a liberal or atheist on a fiction show that wasn't portrayed in a flattering or non-denigrating way? The last atheist I saw on TV -- other than Julia talking about religion, was an episode on Law and Order Criminal Intent that loosely portrayed the tragic end of Madelyn Murray O'Hare. And they sure didn't have a debate between the characters about the existence of God! (And by the way, they changed the story to be that O'Hare herself planned the kidnapping and then was double crossed by her granddaughter. Even though in real life the granddaughter was also murdered along with her grandmother. There are no such thing as "innocent and moral" atheists.)

Furthermore, when do you see liberals with alternative ideas about consumerism, energy conservation, animal rights, food production, labor rights, anti-war, etc. represented in the media -- whether news or entertainment? They are portrayed as granola crunching, dreadlock trussed, birkenstock clad kooks, if they are at all. Even though a lot of them look like me -- frumpy nerdy middle aged suburban housewives.

I just think the conservatives that are leaving ugly comments on your blog are proving that religion isn't about "love of God" but about controlling people. Keeping the people in line. They are angry because you have the audacity to not toe that line. We need people to question that line and we need them to do it with a great sense of humor! I say "Toe on!" Julia!

PS: And the "Pissed off Catholic Mother" link was great! http://tinyurl.com/yvpfyb

Mule Skinner said...

The nice lady from Wheaton got it all wrong: I never said Julia was enraged. I criticized her professional work, and made an observation about her new religion.

Also, I am no conservative, I am a progressive Democrat, who has served at three Democrat Conventions as a delegate.

The person I described as enraged was Molly Ivins. As a member of my union, I attended an event staged by the Democrat Party, in Texas, just before GWB pummeled Ann Richards in the Gubernatorial race of 1994. Molly was funny at first, but then she seemed kooky and angry and ate everything in sight. Governor Richards was staggering drunk. They made quite a pair.

Holly wants to call me names, but I am just at play in the fields of the Lord.

Onion Volcano said...

Hola Ms. Sweeney;

Thank you for your work. The thought and effort you put forth is always breathtaking.

I'm sorry I don't have anything more political to say in this forum; however it couldn't hurt to point out that "Letting Go of God" is not intended to persuade, but to describe a life change.

P. Somniferum said...

Yeah...tarantula on a baby's face. Hmmm...I best not speculate.

Cheers Julia..and keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

Hi Julia,
I was just wondering why you still capitalize god in your writings?

Anonymous said...

In my opinion, Mule Skinner is the reason us Catholics get bashed so much. The true message of Catholocism is "Love the sinner, hate the sin". I think that when people forget that, and angrily condemn others for percieved wrongs, it kind of makes us all look like harsh, unforgiving idiots.

I don't believe in a lot of what you're saying, but...Who am I to judge YOU?

God Bless.

Anonymous said...

Had to write because I live on Hyperion in the 90027 zip code!

Mule is right--I LOVE your work!

: ) --Lisa

Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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