We get email: Weekend edition

This may be a Poe, but this morning someone called Alan Webster wrote us with the subject line “Seeking an interview.”

Hi,

I have been challenged by some of your co-hort’s to contact you and challenge you belief’s.

are you willing?

DEMONSTOPPER.

So I write back…

What would you like to ask us?

And he’s all…

Meet me in a global public televised & recorded forum and I’ll let you know then.

(one without a dump-button or a profit in mind)

DEMONSTOPPER.

Bitch, please. Why do people think we’re rolling in money from this little cowtown cable access show? Would that it were true! So I write back…

Well, we don’t profit from our show, if that’s what you’re hinting at. It’s a volunteer effort. You are welcome to call in if you like. On the other hand, if you know of a different show that meets the strange criteria you suggest, tell us what it is.

But it seems to me that you’re simply more interested in taunts than discussion. I mean, if you have questions, present them. It shouldn’t be hard.

The “Demonstopper” name is cute. Do you have a cape?

So I guess I’ll let you know if this goes anywhere. But It looks like it’s shaping up to be one of those weekends. How’s yours so far?

On Christianity and the slavery billboard…

I loved the slavery billboard and thought the message was clear and good – but Sikivu Hutchinson argues that even when the message is understood, the imagery is unwelcome and that we have badly misunderstood the audience.

On the subject of the billboard and whether or not it is racist, I’ll concede that there’s apparently enough contention that it’s the sort of image we should avoid.

I look at that billboard and I’m outraged – but I’m outraged at the source that sanctioned and supported slavery, not at the individuals who are pointing this out. To me, the billboard is the equivalent of saying “Look, they sanctioned slavery, is this what you want to associate with?”…and that’s the sort of statement that one wouldn’t expect to be contentious.

Perhaps Sikivu is right. Clearly there were some who were more than a little upset about the imagery. I’m not even sure I can comment on that, as my own privilege might be preventing a clear understanding. At the end of the day, though, if the billboard isn’t conveying the intended message and achieving its intended goal, then it failed and we need some other message.

I don’t get to decide what someone else finds offensive, and I can’t easily put myself in someone else’s shoes…so I’ll simply agree that the billboard turned out to be a mistake, no matter what my personal impressions of it were.

But when it comes to the religion in question, I won’t be giving an inch of ground away.

She included this line, in her blog post:

“Douglass prefaced his critique by contrasting the corrupt Christianity of a slaveholding nation and the so-called benevolent “Christianity of Christ” practiced by African slaves in liberation struggle.”

Douglass was, if I’m understanding this summary correctly, wrong.

There’s nothing “corrupt” about a Christianity that endorses slavery. The Bible supports it, in both testaments and Jesus never says a word against slavery. That’s part of the reason that the billboard chose this message and one of the reasons that I continually use it as my go-to point for condemning the Bible.

There were plenty of Christians who were critical to ending slavery, but they were acting in opposition to their own religion; cherry-picking the verses that supported their desires and ignoring the ones that didn’t.

One could argue that this is true for all Christians, which would make it very Christian to come up with one’s own interpretation – and that’s true: there are probably as many Christianities as there are Christians.

But, when one’s holy book explicitly sanctions an act, in great detail and never explicitly rejects that act – those who do reject it are on exceptionally weak footing as long as they’re citing the same book as a primary source for their beliefs.

Slavery, in the United States, was ended by people. Religious people and secular people – working toward an ideal that directly opposes the Biblical view. Implying that slavery was a perversion of Christianity simply isn’t true.

Reason Rally: sounding folks out early

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ll be attending the Reason Rally in about 3 weeks, and an Atheist Experience meetup is tentatively planned. For those of you planning to attend, I think it’s a good idea to work out a few details in advance, such as whether Friday evening (before the rally) or Saturday evening (post-rally dinner and drinks) would be easier. I’m starting to think Saturday evening, as a number of folks on the coast are probably only planning to drive into D.C. that morning for the thing and not do an overnight stay. So feedback is appreciated. Also, I’ve already gotten one e-mail from a D.C. resident suggesting some locations, and I’d love more of that, from either you locals or people who know the city well. Ideally for us out-of-towners, preferred locations should be walkable from the Mall and not cost a firstborn child to eat and drink there. I’m looking forward to meeting everyone and, incidentally, to the Rally as well.


Looks like Hemant is having an after-rally thing, so that’s leaning everything towards a Friday evening meetup now.


Orrrr maybe not. A lot of folks still won’t be in till Saturday and there’s already a lot happening Friday night for people who are there. See what I mean by working stuff out early? I’m now thinking that an immediate post-rally supper will be easiest, and still make it possible for everyone to wander off afterwards to whatever parties are taking place.

Help Natalie fight the good fight

Hey gang, Natalie Reed — a recent guest on Godless Bitches — is a member of two distinct minority communities.  She is both atheist and transgendered.  Those communities apparently, at best, share an uneasy alliance.  Much like I’ve learned to expect that any remotely pro-feminism post here will receive vocal disapproval from many atheists, Natalie’s trans community has a number of anti-atheists who don’t think they should hold back from shouting indignantly at the godless.

Thus, her latest post, “God Does Not Love Trans People“, is guaranteed to get a pile of cranky comments from a bunch of members of one group crossing over into the atheist blogosphere.  You see, it’s like this:

“Lately there have been a number of posts circulating throughout the trans blogosphere making statements to the effect that God loves and accepts His transgender children, and that being trans is not necessarily in conflict with being a religious believer, or even a Christian, Muslim or Jew. While I perfectly understand the motivation behind these posts, and why people feel such a strong need for this message, I nonetheless find it very deeply problematic, and kinda sorta feel a bit of a compelling need to address it. See, I honestly believe that religious faith is inherently dangerous and harmful, that we, the queer community, often are especially victimized by it, and especially ought to understand its potential harms, that the danger is an element of the underlying definition of religious faith itself rather than simply particular sects, beliefs or institutions based upon it, and that we are doing ourselves a pretty big disservice in constructing apologetics (or encouraging them) designed to ease the dissonance between our identities and the belief systems we hold dear.”

Go and give these commenters a warm welcome, won’t you?  Be respectful — and please stay away if you’re the sort who just wants some other oppositional minority to pick on. But if you see any nonsensical claims about the godless and their habits rearing their ugly head, verily I say to you that you must smack them down with great gusto.