Brilliant, must-read piece by Alex Gabriel, on how accomodationist one-policing in atheism amounts to telling victims of religious abuse how to speak about their abuse: To the atheist tone police: stop telling me how to discuss my abuse.
It is a form of privilege to be an atheist who’s never experienced religious abuse, as many of us have who are antagonistic.
It is privilege blindness to expect — without a clue what we’ve experienced or what it means to us — that we give up our self-expression so that you can form alliances with faith communities that deeply injured us.
It is tone-policing if when you’re not telling us to shut up about it, you’re telling us how to talk about it. How dare you tell us to be more respectful.
It is splaining if your answer when we detail histories of religious abuse is ‘Yes, but’ — or if you tell us we can’t blame religion for it since not all believers do the same. We know the details. You don’t.
It is gaslighting dismissing justified anger about widespread, structural religious abuse by telling us we’re bitter or hateful.
It’s civility politics implying our anger, bitterness or hatred is just as unacceptable, siding with the aggressor by prioritising believers’ feelings over ours on the false pretence of neutrality.
It’s respectability politics implying we need to earn an end to bigotry we face by getting on politely with believers, throwing those of us under the bus who can’t or won’t sing kumbaya.
It’s internalised bigotry shaming atheists for being stereotypical — smug, scornful and the rest — for letting the side down, instead of asserting our collective rights however we express ourselves.
It is victim-blaming to treat atheists who are stereotypical as a legitimate cause of anti-atheist bigotry or hatred.
It is tokenisation to impose on any individual the burden of representing atheists so our collective status can be judged by how they act.
And it is deeply, deeply problematic to cheer for snarky, confrontational firebrands of social justice who take on mass structures or beliefs that ruined their lives… then boo snarky, confrontational atheist firebrands off the stage who’ve survived religious abuse.
Greta Christina’s books, Coming Out Atheist: How to Do It, How to Help Each Other, and Why and Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless, are available in print, ebook, and audiobook. Bending: Dirty Kinky Stories About Pain, Power, Religion, Unicorns, & More is available in ebook and audiobook.