So, back in 2003 a joke started making the rounds about a Florida judge who gave Atheists their own holiday, April Fools Day. This joke is making the rounds again, except that it appears that many people don’t know it is a joke. Even though it is CLEARLY a joke. And any quick check of the news in Florida will verify that it is a joke and not real. Still, most people want to believe it is true for a variety of reasons. Atheists want to believe that they are persecuted and Christians want judges to stick it to those uppity atheists who are trying to eliminate Christianity from the public square. At least judging by the comments posted with the joke.
I was introduced to this joke on a Freethought discussion board and people were genuinely upset by it because they thought it was real. I read it and laughed. It is not as good as the atheist and the guillotine joke, but it is still funny. And the fact that freethinker’s fell for it as real was even funnier. And therein lies the teachable moment. Just because you claim to be a skeptic and a freethinker doesn’t mean you actually are. Whenever you hear something outrageous – even if you think it could be true – it is always a good idea to double check. Just to be sure before you go working your self up into a lather.