Originally a comment by SC (Salty Current) on When a group is an acceptable target for hostility.
The suggestion that atheists privileged on other dimensions don’t face anything that could be recognized as oppression as atheists is wrong and unhelpful. Probably the element of anti-atheist prejudice that should be most concerning is the suggestion that atheists aren’t fully human* – that we lack some spiritual quality or knowledge or essence that limits us intellectually or ethically or even makes us dangerous. It should be easy enough to see the similarities with misogynistic and anti-Semitic ideas.
One problem, though, is that the insight that the treatment of atheists shares important features with that of other groups has been extremely difficult to impress upon some white male atheists who continue to spew and actively or tacitly support sexist, misogynistic, racist, transphobic rhetoric. Dawkins, for example, can deride journalists who say atheists aren’t fully human or archbishops claiming that reason is dangerous and leads to genocide; he seems to have more difficulty imagining growing up and living as an atheist in societies completely organized around such views or seeing the similarities with patriarchal or colonial ideologies.
They contest the misrepresentations of atheists by religious people and religious apologists – the portrayal of calm criticism as shrill ranting, the claims that we seek to oppress religious people and silence dissent, the mint julep tall tales,… But they can’t seem to recognize the same patterns of misrepresentation when they’re used against feminists.