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How's that headline? Do I have everybody's attention now? Good. Because a headline like that should get your attention. Would anybody tolerate "Gay Bashing Week" or "Woman Bashing Week?" The very idea is ludicrous. Yet, Dinesh D'Souza can print an article entitled "Atheist Bashing Week" and hardly anybody bats an eyelash. There's certainly not public outrage and condemnation for such blatant bigotry. He was just joking, you say? Even in all of our stunts here at the RRS, which are regularly criticized by atheists (often quite vehemently), we've only dared to tell people that their god doesn't exist or encourage others to say so and post it to YouTube. Even the mind disorder controversy doesn't encourage physical harm or even allude to it. If we haven't had "Christian Bashing Week," you can bet it's because we find the notion repugnant, even in jest.

D'Souza's piece may have been tongue-in-cheek, but that is of little consequence to the typical reader who barely scans headlines and will be even subliminally influenced by this, much less those who have don't have the reading comprehension to detect his almost imperceptible sarcasm. Could any of you imagine a "Muslim Bashing Week?" Even if a "Ha ha! Just kidding!" is added at the end, it is still extraordinarily offensive, and the fact that he isn't facing scorn for this piece is evidence that people are still permitted to discriminate against those evil godless heathens.

Though our numbers are increasing, it seems that our influence is not--at least not fast enough. Criticism of anybodys belief system is a freedom that I prize, and I have no desire to silence the apologists, but an inference to acceptance of physical harm is quite different. If we ever want to cast off our mephistophelian characterization, we must put a human face on the term "atheist," and the easiest way to do that is to openly identify yourself as one. Only then will we see public criticism of this rhetorical intolerance--when almost everybody has a son, daughter, sister, brother or friend who is an atheist.

Originally posted to Kelly OConnor on Fri May 02, 2008 at 04:37 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Identifying oneself as an atheist...(I am one)... (9+ / 0-)

    anywhere other than on dkos, is not a wise thing to do.

    Depending on where you live, it could have very detrimental effects on your life.

    If you really feel that you have to tell people your beliefs...

    Say you are a "humanist", or a "free thinker"  (like Abraham Lincoln)

    The World is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion. --Thomas Paine

    by David Kroning on Fri May 02, 2008 at 04:41:27 AM PDT

    •  Identifying oneself as a gay man (5+ / 0-)

      anywhere other than on dkos, is not a wise thing to do.

      Depending on where you live, it could have very detrimental effects on your life.

      If you really feel you have to tell people your sexuality...

      Say you are a "confirmed bachelor"

      I edited your comment a bit to show a bit of disagreement.  I understand where you're coming from, but if atheists are too afraid to admit to being atheists, it just continues the same cycle.  To be honest, I see where you're coming from, and certainly there are probably times when it's best to keep things like that quiet... I've been lucky, though, as an atheist living in New England, Washington DC and the UK, all areas with a dearth of hardcore religious folk.

      If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear. -- George Orwell

      by nilocjin on Fri May 02, 2008 at 04:57:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  To each his own experiences... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        nilocjin, bythesea, MsWings

        I tried it...I paid an unacceptable price.

        I do not see the similarity between being gay (biological) and being an atheist (a choice).

        If Christians followed Christs teaching, they would pray in their closets, not in churches or in public.

        The same goes for atheists...what you believe is in your heart and in your actions, not in your words.

        The World is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion. --Thomas Paine

        by David Kroning on Fri May 02, 2008 at 05:03:10 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Except that (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          nilocjin, bythesea

          those who would view homosexuality in a negative light would be more likely to view it as a choice.

          "You have attributed conditions to villainy that simply result from stupidity"

          by newfie on Fri May 02, 2008 at 05:20:32 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  And, they would be wrong. The point is... (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            nilocjin, bythesea, Malum

            comparing homosexuality to atheism is to compare apples and oranges.

            I don't buy into the argument that the more we talk about being atheists, the more acceptable we will be.

            There is a reason why theism has been a dominant social construct for at least 6000 years.

            People cannot enter my mind and tell me what to think.  

            There, I am totally free from persecution.

            The World is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion. --Thomas Paine

            by David Kroning on Fri May 02, 2008 at 05:27:15 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Being atheist or agnostice is biggest prejudice (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Kelly OConnor

              n politics in the USA.  

              Thanks for the reminder that the religous in Amrerica are as a general rule the most biggoted people in America when it comes to voting for someone who doesn't believe in the God fantasy.

              "The United States will always do the right thing, after trying all the other options." ~ Winston Churchill

              by Gregory Wonderwheel on Fri May 02, 2008 at 07:55:20 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  (I'm trying to hide that fact, even here!) (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        nilocjin

        which is why I am

        Agnostic.

        To fully understand Christianity's duplicity, first recognize that the Vatican's St. Peter's Square is actually an oval.

        by agnostic on Fri May 02, 2008 at 06:07:35 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  What me worry? (6+ / 0-)

      I grew up in an atheist household, went to Madison, WI as an undergraduate and Berkeley as a graduate student and now live near Santa Cruz, CA. Nearly everyone I know or have ever known is an atheist or comfortable with those who are. Can't really conceive of it being any other way. I obviously live in another world.

      Let the pastors, rabbis and mullahs mutter their mumbo-jumbo in private and leave the rest of us alone.

      by detler on Fri May 02, 2008 at 04:57:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I generally skirt around it (0+ / 0-)

      by saying I think the universe, collectively, is 'God'.  I don't ascribe any supernatural powers to it, but it fits the bill of all-present, all-knowing (well, in a sense), all-powerful ('everything that happens is a part of it'), etc, etc.

      Thou art God (Grok it?)

      Got a problem with my posts? Email me, and let's resolve it.

      by drbloodaxe on Fri May 02, 2008 at 06:02:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  i am not an atheist (0+ / 0-)

      i was told this by my evangelical Christian friend and he was right.  Being an atheist is knowing 100% that there is no God, which is the same as knowing 100% that there is a God.  Both are fundamentally unprovable, so I am a militant Agnostic.  I don't know, and neither do you, dammit.

      Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it is too dark to read. - Groucho Marx

      by rickrocket on Fri May 02, 2008 at 06:22:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Actually... (0+ / 0-)

        there's a lot of debate over the proper definition of "atheist."  I typically have called myself an agnostic because of my understanding that atheist meant absolute certainty there is no god... however, most atheists (including, I believe, Dawkins) argue that atheism means not believing in a god or believing there is not enough proof to believe there is a god.  It's a subtle distinction, but it allows the possibility that there is a god, and that the atheist could be wrong.  I don't think you'll find many people who are 100% absolutely certain that there could not be or ever have been some kind of god.  

        If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear. -- George Orwell

        by nilocjin on Fri May 02, 2008 at 07:05:39 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Atheism vs. Agnosticism (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          nilocjin

          Atheism is simply the lack of belief in a god. It can also be the belief that there is no god, but not necessarily. (That is according to the OED.) Agnosticism as it is popularly used is technically incorrect as it says nothing about your belief or lack thereof--it's an epistemological stance. Therefore, you can be an agnostic atheist (like me-no belief due to lack of evidence), a gnostic atheist (no belief due to some evidence), an agnostic theist (believer who does not think it is possible to know anything about god), or a gnostic theist (believer who thinks they have knowledge of god). It's not a middle ground between atheism and theism--rather it explains the reason why you believe or don't.
          (see this post for more detail)

    •  I identify myself as an Atheist (0+ / 0-)

      whenever discussing religion. I'm usually tolerant of other people's beliefs, so after the conversation, the other person is less threatened by Atheists.

      I've never felt any animosity, even in Texas.

      I'm Alex Hussein Gray, and I approved this comment. (-9.0, -8.72)

      by Texas Revolutionary on Fri May 02, 2008 at 06:37:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Do you have a link (3+ / 0-)

    for this piece of D'Souza's?

    I'd like to read it.  Thanks.


    The religious fanatics didn't buy the republican party because it was virtuous, they bought it because it was for sale

    by nupstateny on Fri May 02, 2008 at 04:49:25 AM PDT

  •  Damn. (6+ / 0-)

    I thought I'd be able to sign up.

    A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned how to walk forward. - FDR

    by djmiklethun on Fri May 02, 2008 at 04:52:24 AM PDT

  •  If There's One Thing I Don't Need (5+ / 0-)

    It's the understanding and respect of Dinesh D'Souza.

  •  I believe in a God that exists but, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bythesea

    I totally agree with your choice not to believe. But I don't see the detrimental effects you speak of. In my circles, people don't talk of religion much, and there are so many differing religions and ways to believe, and they are all excepted. I live in a smaller town, and its just not an issue here. But you won't find me in church, where perhaps these issues are more to the forefront. And I live in a large Native American City, and do follow their concept of Creator.  

    "Though the Mills of the Gods grind slowly,Yet they grind exceeding small."

    by Owllwoman on Fri May 02, 2008 at 05:13:54 AM PDT

    •  Try these on for example (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Kelly OConnor

      reciting the PofA --
      One Nation UNDER GOD

      on our money:
      In GOD we trust

      at the end of many political speaches by those we support and those we don't : GOD bless america

      in MANY schools:
      One Nation UNDER GOD displayed prominantly

      i have no doubt that these pass You by without a second though -- but for atheists (and constitutionalsists) it is a clear break of the wall of separation of church and state

      how about these:

      Churches that use the resources of the state (roads, emergency services, general infrastructure, educated   population)but are exempted from contributing to it while contributing (in the mind of the atheist) absolutely nothing beneficial to compensate this negative balance

      faith based initiatives -- which DIRECTLY redirect the 'commons' of taxed monies towards churches and religious enterprise

      There is a myriad of things that the believer encounters daily without a second thought that assails the common sense AND the principle within the 1st ammendment 'establishment clause' that according to its principle author (Jefferson) was indeed intended to create a WALL of separtion

  •  Hey (7+ / 0-)

    What about us Agnostics? When people ask me about my religion I often say that I am a Heathen. Another line I use is "I belong to a religion who's main tenet is that it can have only one member"

  •  Why the need for a title in the first place? (5+ / 0-)

    I am an atheist.  The word has very negative connotations attached to it by people in America.  Why?  I blame those people who need to use religious labels in the first place.

    Atheism is an absence of belief.  Why, then, do we need a name at all?  I mean, you don't make up a name for a person who doesn't play basketball, or create a name for a person who doesn't play the piano.  Atheists don't participate in religion of any type.  Calling yourself an atheist, IMHO, just plays into religious people's default thinking that there is a god, everyone should be participating, and those that don't participte are given a name so they can be pointed at and shunned.

    I admit the desription of atheist must sometimes be used in our society.  But why not something else, something we (us 'atheists') made up?  I remember a movement started to get us called the "Brights," but I never really liked that name and I can see why it never caught on.  Certainly the old terms, rationalist, clear-thinker, and free-thinker can be used.  But again, I would like to see no name need be given to those that don't believe their imaginary friend is real.  None should be needed.

  •  Don't know what you are refering to (0+ / 0-)

    What piece?

  •  D'Souza? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kelly OConnor

    A bigot and asshat of the highest order, well before this.  Who takes this rabid asshole seriously?  But yes, this is yet another example of how despicable this shitwad truly is.

    Your political compass Economic Left/Right: -6.50 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.67

    by bythesea on Fri May 02, 2008 at 05:43:57 AM PDT

  •  Hallelujah! I've been waiting for CBW (3+ / 0-)

    all my life.

    Where's my big stick and a televangelist?

    Got a problem with my posts? Email me, and let's resolve it.

    by drbloodaxe on Fri May 02, 2008 at 05:59:00 AM PDT

  •  Where do I sign up? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kelly OConnor

    regugnant? Not at all. Nothing like a quickie reference to the Dark Ages, the murder of women in German towns for alleged witchcraft, the stoning and pressing of women in the colonies (ditto), the Spanish inquisition, the destruction of the Inca, Aztec and numerous african tribes, the persecution of scientists and rational thinkers, the hanging of literate men simply because they had a personal copy of the bible, the 30 years history of child sex abuse cases in Europe, Africa, Asia, the US, Canada, and other regions AND the deliberate cover up, legal maneuverings, transfer of priests to non-extradition states, the destruction of records ALL ORGANIZED BY THE CURRENT POPE,

    as I said,

    WHERE DO I SIGN UP?  

    To fully understand Christianity's duplicity, first recognize that the Vatican's St. Peter's Square is actually an oval.

    by agnostic on Fri May 02, 2008 at 06:06:39 AM PDT

  •  My soon to be patented religious symbol (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Texas Revolutionary

    is a one inch piece of quartz tubing, sealed with no air inside, and painted black. Basically, a little ampule of nothing, not even light, inside.

    I'm starting a Church where Nothing is sacred.

    "The road to gas chambers starts when good people find excuses to justify torture and murder. Feinstein and Schumer are enablers."- Larry Johnson -8.25, -6.21

    by Jacques on Fri May 02, 2008 at 07:05:53 AM PDT

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