No better than the bigots they claim to fight

Addendum: Ask an Atheist now has been added to the partners page. A shame it took a little public shaming to accomplish it, but for now, hold off on the email and Facebook abuse. Thanks.


Okay, try this on for size. And pay close fucking attention, because this shit is why we need Atheism+, in my not-so-humble opinion.

So the crew of Ask an Atheist up in Seattle host a 24-hour fundraiser for Washington United for Marriage, a marriage equality group. Because marriage equality is a thing atheists, in general, want to get behind.

After they have the money, what does Washington United say to Ask an Atheist? “Thanks for your wonderful support!”, perhaps? Or how about, “FUUUUCKK YOOOUUUUU!”

Come on. Guess.

Aw, how did you guess?

According to Mike Gillis at AAA, the response they got from the people they helped and supported was that Washington United “could not risk any negative publicity that may come from association with an atheist organization.” Because, of course, it is far more in the best interests of the LGBT community to pander to the theists who don’t fundraise for them, don’t support them, and would happily see them all die in a ditch for the greater glory of Jesus.

Seriously, people. Think long and hard on this one. Let it sink in.

Briefly to why this underscores and validates the Atheism+ concept: You might want to sit down for this, but there is a shit-ton of anti-atheist bigotry out there. People simply have this prejudice that, because we reject belief in an invisible magic man in the sky, we are thus irredeemable, immoral, corrupt and despicable monsters. Period. And this prejudice, as we can clearly see, extends even to the people you’d think were on the same side (and who apparently are, until the fucking check clears).

What Atheism+ seeks to do is counter this cultural bigotry through associating atheism with positive social causes. No, it won’t be an immediate mind-changing magic bullet. But, as Dawkins stated in The God Delusion, hopefully it will start to raise consciousnesses. Maybe you still think that’s a needless effort. I disagree, and present this situation as exhibit A. No, I’m not trying to guilt anyone who doesn’t want to adopt the A+ moniker into doing so if they still think it’s not for them. I just want you to understand why those of us who do want to adopt it find it useful to do so. That’s all.

As for Washington United, well, fuck them right back. Feel free to disagree, but I think the public shaming should be heavy on this one. They have a Facebook page. How about that? They also can be contacted here. Just a polite note to the effect of “Thanks for being total douchebags towards Ask an Atheist, that was really nice” ought to do. And if you’re a Washingtonian and still want to support equality in that state, apparently Equal Rights Washington are the good guys.

We get the most amazing e-mails…

The following is an anonymous e-mail (wall of text, really) we just received. It was addressed to Jeff, so I won’t waste time responding (hurray)…but this is one tiny segment of what we deal with. It may be a Poe, but the author certainly seems to have all the answers. Enjoy:

Hello, Jeff Dee. I would like to ask you a few questions about your video that was done 6 years ago about same-sex marriage. The first thing you said is that it is not bad for the kids. This is wrong. Every child deserves a mother and a father. The only time a child might not have either a father or mother might be because the parent leaves them (which is wrong) or one or both parents die (which is a tragedy). Gay couples go into a relationship knowing they cannot produce offspring so they should not have the right to adopt kids. Just like an old couple that might be 70 years old should not be allowed to adopt because they are near the end of their lives. And Matt said that nothing bad has happened since gay marriage has been allowed but what if 50% of the population was gay. Don’t you think
there would be something wrong in that situation? Matt also said that Rosie O’Donnel is single and she adopted a child. That is wrong as well. Just because she was able to do it does not mean it was right. And then you said that gays not being able to have kids isn’t a good reason why they shouldn’t get married because there are infertile couples that get married. Well, how would a couple know that they are infertile until they actually get married and try to have kids? Gays automatically know that it is impossible for them to have kids. They know it. Infertile couples do not. Then you said that because animals are gay, that makes homosexuality natural. Well, dogs also sniff each others butts. When some animals are born, the mother will
eat the placenta off her newborn. Does that make it natural for human beings to do that as well? You can’t compare animals and humans. What is natural for an animal may not be natural for a human. As well, animals can’t think. They don’t have the thinking power that humans do. They don’t know that homosexuality is wrong and they don’t need to care about that. When an animal dies, it dies. It doesn’t go anywhere. They rely on instinct. They don’t have rules like humans do. When animals kill other animals, does that make it okay for humans to kill humans? But then why did you say that because animals commit homosexual acts that it is okay for humans to do so as well? And then you used that left-handedness argument which was so pointless. God never said it’s a sin to write with your left hand. No one gets hurt from someone writing with their left hand. And then you said the word “bigots” but that would mean you’re a bigot too since you are intolerant of my religion. Bigot does not just apply to people who are against homosexuality. And just because someone isn’t in favour of homosexuality, it does not make that person a bigot. And the reason AIDS affects gay people is because they can only do anal. In the Bible, anal and oral sex is a sin. That is why even straight people are not allowed to practice that type of sex or else it is a sin. God is smarter than you think. And then you brought up the “small people” argument but that’s a physical trait. Even if they can change it, they shouldn’t because that is how they should be born into this world. Homosexuality is a choice. You can choose on your own if you want to be with the same or opposite sex. But that child in the uterus cannot choose if he/she is born small or regular. And then you said how just because a dictionary defines marriage as man and woman that it can change to say man and man or woman and woman. Well, Christians don’t follow the dictionary. We follow the Bible, and in the Bible it is defined as man and woman. So your dictionary argument was bad. And your legal/law argument as well. Just because the law says something is right that does not make it right. Laws and dictionary definitions change all the time but the Bible stays true, unless God changes it. And then Matt made that horrible argument how if a gay couple secretly gets married that live next door that it wouldn’t affect you because you don’t know about that. So something is okay as long as you don’t know about it? Well, what if the next door neighbour was a father and son and they both went off to get married secretly? So do you think incest is okay? Because who are they hurting this “father and son”. From Matt’s standpoint, if he wants to be consistent, then he can’t say that it is wrong for a father and son to go off and get married secretly. Also, what if the next door neighbour has sex with his dog yet no one knows about it? Does that make it right for that person to have sex with his dog? So do you think it’s okay for your next door neighbour to have sex with a dog since that doesn’t affect you, especially if you don’t know about it? And then you said just because the Bible says that homosexuality is wrong, that doesn’t make it true. Well the Bible says incest is wrong. So you, as an Atheist, can have no right in saying that incest is wrong. Because if society said incest is okay, would you then be in favour of incest? And you brought up the “trade deal” argument. Doesn’t that happen in society today where the man pays for the wedding, the ring, etc? It was just a different way of paying back then because there was no money. They had animals so they had to use that. And then lastly, you said there are no secular reasons why gay marriage should be against the law. But if you think about it, what is gonna stop incest from becoming allowed in law? What about pedophilia? Don’t you think society is getting out of hand? Sure, the gay couple next door may not affect my straight marriage directly, but it does affect it indirectly because it ruins society. Soon it could be allowed that you can have sex with animals. Is it okay to get married to an animal just because it is legal? Nah.

Bigots Don’t Get to Claim the Moral High Ground

Uganda plans to introduce the death penalty for gays, but the government there says it’s more likely that the bill will only pass with life imprisonment:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/8693560.stm

I’m not sure why, but in the last week, I’ve been presented with several issues that all involve gay hate and persecution in the Christian community. I’ve wanted to post about it, but wasn’t sure how to put it into a concise and linear statement. So, I’ve given up trying; and instead I am including below some abbreviated recent thoughts I’ve sent privately to a few correspondents:

Correspondence 1:
…I’m getting near to a boiling point with the whole anti-gay thing and religion. It may be difficult to believe, but I actually am more angry at the religious persecution of gays than of women. With women, the idea is a submissive existence, where women are acceptable—but only if they know their place. But gays have no “place” in Abrahamic religion, generally. Even some of the most educated Christians I know seem to have difficulty admitting there’s nothing wrong with it. The stupidity they spout, such as “Well, that’s up to god, I don’t judge.” As though they think there is some sort of dilemma. Judge what?!

I met a gay guy this week who was raised by fundamentalist parents. They believe in faith healing, and all manner of garbage. They taught him that gays were vile, evil, crimes against nature, abominations to god, the whole nine yards. He said he didn’t really think about it until he hit 13-14 and began to have sexual thoughts about the other boys in his school. Then he started worrying and wondering why god made him with these feelings, but was going to send him to hell. He told me he would engage in regular teen-boy activities in his room, and then feel so bad about it he’d go and shower and scrub himself until he bled. Finally, around 17, he took a bunch of pills. He said the attempt was half-hearted. And I’m happy for that—because today he’s a talented musician with a lot to offer. About his parents, he said he knows they only did what they were taught, and they didn’t know any better. He loves them and says they took care of him and tried to keep him from harm. But I can’t help thinking of all the trouble they caused, and how easy it would have been to keep him from that harm, if only they’d just asked: “Why are we saying this is so bad?”

His father told him eventually that he’d always known/suspected his son was gay. He explained he couldn’t understand how a loving parent could suspect their child is gay, and still proceed to tell them all the horrible hateful things his parents told him about homosexuality.

I have brown eyes. Most people on the planet have brown eyes. That doesn’t mean people without brown eyes are unnatural. And it’s certainly no license to persecute or hate them. “Uncommon” should never be equated with “evil.” “Evil” needs far more justification than that.

I have trouble grasping how people who exhibit hatred and bigotry and persecution—even violence in some cases—against gays can be considered to be on the “right” side of anything, while a gay man who forgives all the pain that has been inflicted on him, and just wants to live and be happy and not hurt anyone, is the vile abomination?

I seem to be getting a lot of prods on this issue recently. And until social equality is reached in this arena, I suppose everyone on the side of reason should be weighing in on this. ACA always supports the Gay Pride Festival locally. And I think this is an issue that is ripe for constant hammering. Hateful bigots who comfort themselves that they’re on the side of right really need to be told as loudly and often as possible they’re on the side of pure, unadulterated evil.

I just need to find the right words. But maybe those are the right words? Maybe that’s all that needs to be said?

Thanks for your letter. Sorry that gay people everywhere have been somehow singled out to put up with the worst of this bullshit, honestly.

Correspondence 2:
Maltreatment of women gets a lot of media attention. And well it should. But to me, the crimes against the gay community are so much worse—not by magnitude of numbers, but by sheer irrationality and vilification. Even the most misogynistic religions will allow a place, however disdainful, to women. But with gays—I mean, I can’t imagine being stoned to death because of how I was born. I loathe to see a woman persecuted for refusing to wear a veil. But I know that horrible as it is, she can hide behind that veil and live in hopes the oppression will end. With “gay”—there is no “king’s X”—no compromise you can strike. What you are is wrong.

To try and make it more clear, I host a party every year in November at a local Lake lodge. I invite friends, and we hang out for a weekend. One year, a gay friend told me that the location I use is notorious in the gay community for a gay hate murder that happened there years ago.

Here’s the point that bothers me: There are men who will rape and murder women. But I am aware society condemns those men as monsters and criminals. We haven’t quite reached that level of understanding with “gay.” Today, if someone kills a “fag,” I’m disturbed to know there are still a number of people in our culture who think the “queer” got what was coming to him. Literally, he shouldn’t have been gay.

And there is no rational basis for this hatred and vilification. These are good people who happen to be a minority percentage who are attracted to same sex mates for whatever reason. They’re not hurting anyone. They’re not converting anyone. They just want to do what any of us do, and be open about who they are and live their lives. And for that, they are vilified and persecuted.

I recall when I was in church, “gay” didn’t even require an explanation for why it was a sin. It just was. “God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve,” right? Phenotypic attributes occur in populations on a bell curve—nearly across the board. You have the most dominant traits, and then you have less dominant extremes on either end, and a lot of diversity in between. I have gay friends who say they could have sex with opposite sex partners if push came to shove (some have even been married before), and others who say it wouldn’t be possible for them. I have straight friends who can’t fathom gay behavior, and others who say it’s six of one, half dozen of the other. In anthropology, you study different cultures around the globe, and by no means is homosexuality vilified in all areas like it is in our culture. And historically, it’s the same. Depending on where/when you happened to be born—you may be accepted, considered to be special to the gods, or executed.

There used to be a commercial where they sold contacts to change your eye color. In every commercial they shot, the woman they were selling to had brown eyes. Well, blue and green eyes are beautiful, I agree. But the fact is, if you want to sell contacts to color eyes, your target market is brown because brown eyes are the dominant trait in humans: Africa, Asia, South America, India, Aboriginal Australians, Native Americans, the Mid East—you get the idea. What if it was determined that since most people have brown eyes, eyes that aren’t brown are a crime against nature? Unnatural and therefore a sin? Punishable by death, imprisonment, or being persecuted and vilified by your society? Can you imagine the label such an initiative would get in today’s society? Not one person would think you were sane to suggest such a thing. And yet that’s exactly what we do to gays. And nearly all
the haters think you’re crazy to question “why?” To them, that question, by itself, is evidence of your own moral depravity. It’s “obvious” what’s wrong with these people—in the fundamentalist mind. They’re not the standard, so they’re wicked. But loads of people have attributes that are nonstandard, and we don’t think it’s fine to kill them. And the false facts cooked up to vilify it are just aggravating. I recall some years ago showing someone once that AIDS was most prominent in heterosexual, not homosexual populations. They refused to believe it until the statistics were staring them in their face. It’s frustrating to know good people who are subjected to this sort of prejudicial treatment, and then recognize a lot of people in our culture don’t understand what the motivation could possibly be to make it otherwise.

A Final Note
Just to add that the reason in the Christian Bible for condemning homosexuality is that it places a male in the position of a female. In other words, it’s a misogynistic argument that it’s wrong for a man to be used as a lowly woman. It’s a disgrace to male superiority, and any man who humiliates himself (puts himself on the level of a rank female) needs to die.

In Leviticus 18:22, the Bible says, “Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.” It’s right between rules against burning children as human sacrifices and having sex with animals. That’s where you rank if you’re gay, according to the Christian god (to whom these statements are attributed in verses 1 and 2 of the same chapter).

Later in Leviticus 20, which also starts out attributing it’s content directly to god, in verse 13 it says, “If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.”

I can hear it already, though: “That’s the Old Testament.”

Yes, it is. It’s the Old Testament, the first part of your Christian Bible, and it says your Christian god instructed this harmful idiocy. You either believe these statements are correct and that god, in fact, did instruct His adherents to do these things—in which case you agree these statements, and any compliant actions resulting (such as murdering gay men) were actually justified by your Christian god (and therefore acceptable to you—if you are an adherent of this same god); or you think your Bible is incorrect when it comes to what it says god tells people to do, in which case, how is the book even helpful, as it’s admittedly untrustworthy?

If you believe your Bible is correct, and you agree with this content and worship this personality you think ordered the murder of these people as moral “law,” for the crime of not inheriting the most common phenotypic attributes of their overall populations, then as I said earlier, you are on the side of “pure, unadulterated evil.” You and your god are no more “moral” than another historic figure who also once decided that people with the “wrong” phenotypes should be removed from the human population.