Going for the numbers

Many people have been annoyed-to-furious with American Atheists and Dave Silverman over the past few days over their courtship of members of the batshit-rightwing community. AA was going to have a table at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), but then CPAC changed its mind and gave AA its money back. Dave went to the conference anyway, and talked to lots of people there.

Raw Story reported on some of those conversations on Friday.

[Silverman] seems an unlikely proselytizer for this suit-and-bow-tie crowd, tearing into his subject with the wired energy of an old-school punk rock fan. But he claims it’s working.

“I came with the message that Christianity and conservatism are not inextricably linked,” he told me, “and that social conservatives are holding down the real conservatives — social conservatism isn’t real conservatism, it’s actually big government, it’s theocracy. I’m talking about gay rights, right to die, abortion rights –”

Hold on, I said, I think the Right to Life guys who have a booth here, and have had every year since CPAC started, would disagree that they’re not real conservatives.

“I will admit there is a secular argument against abortion,” said Silverman. “You can’t deny that it’s there, and it’s maybe not as clean cut as school prayer, right to die, and gay marriage.” [Read more...]

Counter to the goals of the wider atheist movement

PZ on his own post on Justicar’s latest jeu d’esprit:

You know what also annoys me about this? It’s explicitly counter to the goals of the wider atheist movement, in which we want people to step forward publicly and be the face of atheism. Look at that story about Gage Pulliam, for instance: he went public despite public opprobrium for atheists.

Jen puts her name and face up front for the cause. Regressive asshole atheists use that to harass her personally.

And conversely, this coward Justicar/Integralmath hides behind a pseudonym, bragging about how careful he is to keep his identity covered, while sniping at the atheists who have more guts than he does. You wanna know why he and other slymers are poison? Because they don’t stand up for any cause. They’re dead spots in the movement.

Precisely. We want atheists to be out. Jen is out, Rebecca is out, Amy is out, Melody is out, Greta is out, I am out. Justicar, on the other hand, is not out. Yet he uses his non-outness to harass us, for being out while female.

Counter to the goals of the wider atheist movement. Big time.

Equality is an all-or-nothing concept

Dave Silverman has a piece explaining about the World Trade Center “cross” at the Washington Post on faith blog. You probably already know it was just one of many steel crossbeams in the rubble, arbitrarily chosen as a Sign From God. (Gee thanks. Kind of as if I torched a school after locking all the doors and then left a little note on pink flowery paper afterwards saying “cheer up!”)

The decorated crossbeam was seized by Father Brian Jordan, a Roman Catholic Franciscan priest, and a religious relic was invented. During the next 10 years, the 17-foot cross was moved, repaired, mounted and copied. Religious services were held in front of it at St. Paul’s Chapel. Worshippers further modified it, carving “JESUS” on the top and etching prayers on the side. The cross was labeled unique, a sign from the Christian god, not merely a crossbeam plucked from the rubble of a terrorist attack.

You can’t get much more religious than that, one would think. [Read more...]