Discrimination against nonbelievers in America is so overt and widespread that most of us are completely desensitized to it.
If you’re a rational American – religious or nonreligious – you probably roll your eyes when you hear fundamentalist preachers and right-wing politicians rant in the name of God whenever a major tragedy occurs. But do you stop to consider that their comments directly disparage nonbelievers? If these preachers and politicians directly attacked Hindus, Jews, or Muslims the way they attack atheists-humanists, they would be quickly called out for their hateful prejudice. So why should their anti-secular venom be tolerated?
These statements outrage most rational Americans, both religious and nonreligious, but many still overlook the blatant prejudice.
Atheists and humanists find it frustrating that statements such as those of Huckabee, Dobson, and Gingrich are almost never criticized by religious liberals for promoting a hateful prejudice against nonbelievers (who are already the most disliked and distrusted minority in the country).
Let’s be clear about something: Huckabee and company, with very little ambiguity, are claiming that those who live without God-belief are directly or indirectly responsible for violence and moral decline. This is discriminatory, contrary to the pluralistic values of modern society, and provably false.
It’s great that many Americans, even those who are religious, find the statements of Huckabee and company objectionable, but it’s unfortunate that the objections focus on the wrong issue. Rather than argue about whether God is jealous and vindictive or loving and compassionate (or at least in addition to that argument), Americans should be calling out fundamentalists for depicting nonbelievers as agents of evil.
What Theists say and what they mean.
- Courtesy of The Extreme Atheist on Facebook.
- What They Say: The Bible is my favourite book!
- What They Mean: I've never read the Bible.
- What They Say: You are an atheist because you want to live your life without rules.
- What They Mean: I need to be threatened with eternal damnation to be a good person.
- What They Say: Jesus died for your sins.
- What They Mean: I need a scapegoat to avoid taking responsibility for my own actions.
- What They Say: Something can't come from nothing!
- What They Mean: ...except God.
- What They Say: This offends me!
- What They Mean: I have no way to counter your point, so you should shut up.
- What They Say: You are reading that part of the Bible out of context.
- What They Mean: I don't like what you quoted, so you must be wrong.
Further details on the Galway death.
Savita Halappanavar, who was 17 weeks pregnant, died of septicaemia a week after presenting with back pain on 21 October at University hospital in Galway, where she was found to be miscarrying.
After the 31-year-old dentist was told that she was miscarrying, her husband reportedly said that she had asked for a medical termination a number of times over a three day period, during which she was in severe pain.
But he said these requests were denied because a foetal heartbeat was still present and they were told at one point: “This is a Catholic country.”
While prayer fails and religion is completely ineffectual, science gave us Plumpy’nut…Thank you caring scientists!
Plumpy’nut has a two year shelf life and requires no water, preparation, or refrigeration. Its ease of use has made mass treatment of malnutrition in famine situations more efficient than in the past. Severe acute malnutrition has traditionally been treated with therapeutic milk and required hospitalization. Unlike milk, Plumpy’nut can be administered at home and without medical supervision. This utility has been recognized by the United Nations, which stated in 2007, “new evidence suggests… that large numbers of children with severe acute malnutrition can be treated in their communities without being admitted to a health facility or a therapeutic feeding centre.” Plumpy’nut conforms to the UN definition of a Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF).
The 4th of 5 is up on the 3rd floor in this 3 story walk up. The target is a woman and identified as Vote By Mail (VBM). You probably know that my job is to get her to commit to filling out her ballot and drop it in a 24 hour drop box… Let’s call her “Jill” (not her real name).
I knock on the door and introduce myself as Mike a volunteer for the Obama campaign. Surprisingly Jill, a white woman who looks to be in her 50s, asks me to come in. I do.
I notice immediately that Jill seems a tad emotional. She tells me that she voted for Obama in 2008 and intended to vote for him in 2012, but that she’s a Christian and 2 weeks ago her church told her not to vote for Obama.
She told me that her church told her she could not vote for Obama because he is for abortion and he is for the gays. She said she didn’t know what to do, or how to vote.
At this point Jill tells me “I was raped. When I was younger I was raped. What I did was wrong. I learned this at my church. My church told me that Obama is for abortion and with the gays because he is a Muslim and wants to destroy our country.”
Jill’s eyes were full of tears and the emotion on her face was so very sad.
I told Jill that the judge of what is right and wrong is God. That we are taught that our God is a loving and forgiving God. That she need not worry about what she did after that terrible crime.
I told her that President Obama was not a Muslim set upon destroying our nation with abortion and gay lifestyles. I told her more.
I then proceeded to try and wrap this visit up. I told her that she needed to vote and that if she thought about it and if she prayed upon it, she would come to the right decision. I asked her if she knew where to drop her ballot once she filled it out.
At that point she told me she did not have it. She had thrown the ballot away. She did not trust she would make the right decision in the eyes of her church. She asked me if there was some way she still could vote. I told her. She sobbed.
I gave her a hug. I told her that it was alright. I told her she was a good person, and that she was very kind to have invited me in to talk with me about such a personal issue.
Churches need to stay the hell out of politics.
After Illinois began allowing civil unions last year, the Catholic Charities groups in the state (which handled foster children) were worried that they would have to put kdis in the homes of gay or lesbian couples (oh, the horror!). But since they received taxpayer money for their work, they had no right to discriminate. So instead of doing the right thing for the children, they opted to shut down altogether.