For those who don’t know, I’m one of the ‘answerers’ over at Ask The Atheists. It’s a nifty little site where people can anonymously ask a bunch of atheists questions about pretty much anything you can imagine. Lots of the questions are the sort of thing you’d expect a theist to ask an atheist (What if you’re wrong? Why don’t you believe in gods? Isn’t the universe proof that God exists?). Today, one popped up that I found particularly grating:
Over on The Atheist Experience blog there’s a post with a link to a very … interesting letter from Mike Huckabee, soliciting donations for a new organization he’s involved with. In the letter – which I strongly urge you to read – he mentions the threat we face from Islamic radicals, but then warns his constituents of “an even greater menace [that] threatens to destroy us from the inside out” – “a re-energized Left here in our midst that is working harder than ever to drive out God and ALL MENTION of religious faith from America’s public life.”
That’s right – Mike Huckabee, a Christian living in a majority Christian nation, wants to warn his fellow Christians that, somehow, evil godless liberal atheist scum are going to subvert their will and override the entire democratic system. Continue reading →
Oklahoma state representative Sally Kern has proposed what she calls the “Oklahoma Citizen’s Proclamation for Morality.” The proposition, which can be read in its entirety here, is truly comedy gold. She claims that “our economic woes are consequences of our greater national moral crisis,” which (of course) can be blamed entirely on abortion, same-sex marriage, pornography, divorce, illegitimate births, and other favorite canards of the fanatically-religious right.
She whines and moans about how President Obama didn’t officially recognize the National Day of Prayer, but he did recognize a month of tolerance for the LGBT community.
But the real juicy idiocy is at the very end:
NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that we the undersigned elected officials of the people of Oklahoma, religious leaders and citizens of the State of Oklahoma, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world, solemnly declare that the HOPE of the great State of Oklahoma and of these United States, rests upon the Principles of Religion and Morality as put forth in the HOLY BIBLE; and BE IT RESOLVED that we, the undersigned, believers in the One True God and His only Son, call upon all to join with us in recognizing that “Blessed is the Nation whose God is the Lord,” and humbly implore all who love Truth and Virtue to live above reproach in the sight of God and man with a firm reliance on the leadership and protection of Almighty God; and BE IT RESOLVED that we, the undersigned, humbly call upon Holy God, our Creator, Sustainer, and Redeemer, to have mercy on this nation, to stay His hand of judgment, and grant a national awakening of righteousness and Christian renewal as we repent of our great sin.
Signed on the second day of July in the year of our Lord Christ Two Thousand and Nine.
Yowza. This from a woman who says she understands separation of church and state… and who has, in the past, said that homosexuals were a worse threat to America than terrorists. Does anything really need to be said here? She needs to be gone. Fast.
This kind of stuff needs to be shoved forcibly into the light of day. Thanks to the folks at Right Wing Watch for this one.
I’ve been wondering lately if the problems atheists have in getting our voices heard in the political arena is less related to having the numbers and more related to having a consistent message. I think part of the problem with gaining consistency is that, as a group that’s more of a common label than an actual group, we don’t really have a message to get across, other than “leave your religion out of my politics”.
There are a few atheist-friendly lobbying/political action groups, among them the Secular Coalition for America and Enlighten the Vote, though I can’t begin to imagine how difficult it must be for them to agree on an agenda. Typically, atheists tend to lean more to the left, but I do know a few conservative atheists myself. This creates an interesting problem: atheist lobbyists and PACs wind up having to focus almost solely on issues of church-state separation and freedom of speech, limiting not only the scope of their message, but the base of talent that they draw to themselves and their chances of getting publicity.
There is also, of course, a great deal of hostility towards out atheists in this country. As a candidate for office, announcing that you’re an atheist is almost guaranteed to kill your campaign. You face attacks from the hyper-religious right, not to mention the fear of atheists indoctrinated into even the more liberal Christians. We’re one of the few remaining groups for whom stereotyping is still kosher in America. So not only do you have a smaller “automatic” support base, but you have to fight against lies told to defame your character – and any resistance you offer to defend yourself is usually seen as verification of the claims. (After all, if it’s not true, why are you getting so defensive about it?)
I get the feeling that an increased atheist population wouldn’t be enough to get us past these problems. After all, there are more women than men in the country, but we’re still largely an androcentric culture. So how do we make our wishes known, despite the oppression of religious groups and the permeating fear of the ‘godless heathen’? And as was noted in a comment to my previous post, how can we be public about our positions in places like the deep south, where an admission of atheism can be a social (or literal) death sentence?
I don’t have any of the answers. I’ve got ideas, but again, I can’t speak for all atheists any more than I can speak for all males. It’s a conundrum…