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Jan 27 2012

Bigotry Toward Atheists

 

American Atheists, Inc.
January 27, 2012

AMERICAN ATHEISTS, INC.
http://www.atheists.org
http://www.americanatheist.org
For more information, please contact:
Dave Silverman, President 732-648-9333
Blair Scott, Communications Director 256-701-6265

 

AMERICAN ATHEISTS: STOP ALLOWING PUBLIC BIGOTRY AND PREJUDICE OF ATHEISTS

 

An Atheist civil rights group announced today its disappointment in the remarks made by an Ohio State University football player on Twitter, which called for his followers to “show some hate” to an atheist.

 

Jake Russell, #21 punter, tweeted at night on January 24th, “my roommate max rouse (look him up on Facebook) is an atheist, please show him some hate.” By the morning the tweet had been deleted but not before it was captured by Twitter users.

 

Greg Lammers, Missouri State Director for American Atheists, contacted Javaune Adams-Gaston, OSU Vice President of Student Life, who assured American Atheists that the school will investigate the matter immediately.

 

Dave Silverman, President of American Atheists, stated, “Atheists are the last group against whom someone can publicly show bigotry and prejudice without fear of repercussions or consequences. American Atheists’ policy is to call out this prejudice and bigotry wherever we see it.”

 

Blair Scott, Communications Director for American Atheists, said, “I imagine that the NCAA, the school, and plenty of sports media would be all over this incident if Mr. Russell had asked his Twitter followers to “show some hate” to a Jew, African-American, Hindu, homosexual or other minority.”

 

Mr. Scott continued, “It is our hope that one day Mr. Russell and others like him will learn the value of pluralism in our society. The Great Melting Pot still exists and is something we should be proud to support.”

 

American Atheists pointed out that hateful actions are often the direct result of hate speech, and Mr. Russell will bear some responsibility if his call-to-hate results in violence against his roommate. Mr. Scott noted that the victim can attend meetings of The Ohio State University Students for Freethought, which is a group of like-minded individuals on the campus. The group is an affiliate of the Secular Student Alliance.

 

AMERICAN ATHEISTS is a nationwide organization that defends civil rights for Atheists, Freethinkers and other nonbelievers; works for the total separation of church-mosque-temple and state; and addresses issues of First Amendment public policy.

American Atheists, Inc.

PO Box 158

Cranford, NJ 07016

Tel: (908) 276-7300

Fax: (908) 276-7402

34 comments

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  1. 1
    piranhaintheguppytank

    Jake Russell is probably just sore from that big stick of wood lodged in his eyeball (Luke 6:41).

  2. 2
    James Croft

    It’s great that AA are taking up these incidents: they need to be rebuffed, strongly. But the call to respect pluralism rings hollow from an organization which recently made headlines by calling for an athlete not to pray during football games. Also, “a homosexual”? Not how we tend to like to be referred to.

    1. 2.1
      Leo Buzalsky

      Hold on, James. Is the football thing about Tebow? If so, wasn’t the point that praying is somewhat equivalent to cheating (if there were actually a god who could intervene)? If that is indeed the case, then that is about playing fair…or rather not displaying a desire/intent to not play fair; it is not hypocrisy in regards to pluralism.

      1. Leo Buzalsky

        Now that I see the source of your comments, I guess it was not about cheating. Still, it would be a good idea for you to cite your sources instead of expecting people to get your references. That would be the courteous thing to do.

  3. 3
    piranhaintheguppytank

    Jake Russell, #21 punter, tweeted at night on January 24th, “my roommate max rouse (look him up on Facebook) is an atheist, please show him some hate.”

    That was very considerate of him to say “please” when he encouraged others to hate.

  4. 4
    Rike

    “But the call to respect pluralism rings hollow from an organization which recently made headlines by calling for an athlete not to pray during football games.”
    Why is that?
    “Also, “a homosexual”? Not how we tend to like to be referred to.”
    What is wrong with a homosexual?

    1. 4.1
      James Croft

      THe first, because it smacks of hypocrisy. If you truly respect pluralism then it doesn’t seem consistent to object to an individual praying in terms like “he’s totally faking” and “he’s full of crap”, nor to tell them to “pray in the closet”. Someone who respects pluralism might well voice criticism, but would never tell religious people that they should remove their religion from the public square and put it in “the closet” (a very emotive term for queer people). Just imagine if a Christian pastor had told a Humanist athlete to talk about their Humanism “in the closet”, and then a little while later had made a call to respect pluralism: I think you’d see that as a clear sign of hypocrisy.

      The second because it is a rather clinical term which is used almost exclusively nowadays by opponents of our liberation. The people who call me a “homosexual” rather than a “gay person” or “gay” are almost invariably conservatives who are arguing against my rights. Generally, it’s not the preferred term to refer to same gender loving people.

      1. Aquaria

        I see one of the slow kids have wandered in.

        THe first, because it smacks of hypocrisy. If you truly respect pluralism then it doesn’t seem consistent to object to an individual praying in terms like “he’s totally faking” and “he’s full of crap”

        You’re making some accusations here without referencing where they come from. This makes you look stupid and dishonest. Cite where these things were said, then we can deal with them.

        And, by the way, anyone who is praying is full of crap. It’s just talking to air. There is no genocidal sky fairy to talk to. Provide evidence for one if you have it, dear.

        , nor to tell them to “pray in the closet”.

        Do you know your own genocidal manual–at all?

        Most people who bring this up do so in the context of Matthew 6:5,6, which has your emo slacker deity specifically instructing his followers, in red letters no less, to pray in a closet, but a lot of christers tend to ignore that. Since you’re probably not smart enough to understand why this is relevant, it’s a dig at how so many christers pick and choose what they will or won’t follow in their genocidal manual. I mean, one would think that people who vomit up how much they admire and want to be like their emo slacker diety would want to follow what he actually, you know, said.

        But then, if we expected christers to follow what their own book said, the world would be even more confusing than it already is. Their genocidal manual is an epic fail when it comes to consistency, when it’s not outright ignorant, dishonest or bigoted.

        1. Standards

          Aquaria, what is wrong with you?

          James came in making extremely calm and fair points, and you respond with little more than dramatic name calling and silly insults.

          You’re making some accusations here without referencing where they come from. This makes you look stupid and dishonest.

          No, he’s referencing a pretty well publicized and recent statement made by the president of American Atheists.

          http://denver.cbslocal.com/2012/01/10/atheist-group-believes-tebow-full-of-crap-with-public-display-of-christianity/

          Second, do you how absurd and childish you come across when you engage in conversation while using inanities like “genocidal sky fairy,” “emo slacker deity,” or “genocide manual?” (and seriously, emo? What is this, 2004?) We know what you mean when you say “god” or “the bible,” so your editorialization comes across just above the intellectual level of Republicans who use language like “lamestream media” or “teleprompter in chief.”

          The only one looking stupid and dishonest here is you, especially since it’s very clear that James is an atheist. Grow up.

  5. 5
    Aquaria

    Oh, and notice that the christer shows absolutely zero concern for yet another christslime threatening atheists. Why is it that there are so many of these theotards promoting hate and violence? Time after time we see this from you lot, and most of you are fine with it.

    It doesn’t speak well of your delusion, you know.

    1. 5.1
      James Croft

      Aquaria, once again your posts show absolutely no respect at for the person you are discussing with, are riddled with aggressive and extreme personal attacks, and are full of inaccurate assumptions. I am not a “christer” – I am an atheist activist on the speaking bureaus of the American Humanist Association, the Center for Inquiry, and the Secular Student Alliance. I travel around the country (next week I will be in Arizona) promoting reason and skepticism. I work with a prominent Humanist organization where I have been partly responsible for one of their biggest and most exciting projects. I am also a gay rights activist who has just returned from one of the largest gay rights activist comferences in the USA.

      The only thing of value in your detestable screeds is the request I provide a link to the statements by Silverman about Tebow. I had assumed, since they had been widely discussed on this site, that people would be familiar with them, but you’re right that I should have provided the link. Here it is:

      http://denver.cbslocal.com/2012/01/10/atheist-group-believes-tebow-full-of-crap-with-public-display-of-christianity/

      You will note each and every quote is direct and accurate.

      If there is anything “epic fail when it comes to consistency, when it’s not outright ignorant, dishonest or bigoted”, it is your bile-filled and inaccurate rants about religious people and everyone who disagrees with you. It is people like you who make this site so very uneasant, and so inimitable to Freethought. Things would be better here if you left.

      1. James Croft

        <3 Autocorrect and emotionally-charged typing.

        I meant "unpleasant" and "inimicable". Apologies. When I am insulted and misread I submit too fast.

  6. 6
    Rike

    I don’t know what your problem is with Aquaria , James, taken the title of this blog. Are you saying, that we have to be softpedalling religion even on an atheist blog? Goodness, this is where I come to find likeminded people, those that are as opposed and tired with/of religion as I am. These are my Freethoughts here: religion poisons everything. When you travel around the country promoting reason and scepticism there is plenty of opportunity to make nice with religion.
    I agree (obviously) with Aquaria on may points. If I’m watching a football game and get religion pushed in my face, I should be able to let the world know that I’m displeased without then being called a hypocrite when I’m calling out a person who invites hate onto another person. Nobody I know of is wishing for Tebow to be struck dead – we just wish he’d heed his own religious book’s teachings so as to not make him look like a hypocrite. I don’t see anything wrong with that at all.

    1. 6.1
      James Croft

      I agree with you entirely, Rike. I’m not sure what I wrote which gave you the impression that I wouldn’t agree with what you’ve just written.

      The very first thing I wrote in response to this is how important it is to challenge incidents like this: “It’s great that AA are taking up these incidents: they need to be rebuffed, strongly”, said I. No call to “softpedal” or “make nice with” religion there, but an explicit call to do the opposite. In my next post, I reiterated that point, saying: “Someone who respects pluralism might well voice criticism”. Again, I explicitly support the right of anyone to criticize what Tebow is doing. So who are you responding to?

      What I have objected to is two specific things. First, the suggestion that Tebow is faking and should not pray on the pitch – which is a far stronger claim than simply saying he shouldn’t bring his religion into football to such a great extent. In the context of a post in which a call to respect pluralism is made, this seems to me hypocritical. You cannot simultaneously respect pluralism AND tell a Chrisitian you don’t want them praying in public because you dislike it. You’ll note I didn’t criticize any or the rest of Silverman’s view of Tebow (he said a number of other things I agree with), but limited my critique to this small issue.

      Second, I raised the issue of the use of the term “a homosexual” to describe queer people. This is a matter of using the appropriate term for a marginalized community. I will further point out that this is hardly the first time AA representatives have got into trouble over the way they have spoken about marginalized communities, so more sensitivity is certainly in order.

      Do you have anything substantive to say about either of these points in particular?

      As for Aquaria, read the posts again. They are full of nasty, personal attacks which are entirely inappropriate, demeaning language, and incorrect assumptions about me. I reserve the right to strongly defend myseslf against attacks like those. They do nothing to advance an argument. They are not a legitimate part of any freethinking enterprise. They are just an attempt to bully people into agreements or silence: a standard tactic for Aquaria, who attacks anyone who disagrees with similar rants. I’m surprised such posts aren’t moderated out, frankly. There is a big difference between blasphemy and egregious personal insult. This ovement would do well to learn that.

      1. Michael Brew

        I would tend to agree with your first point, but I’m not exactly sure your criticism of the use of the word “homosexual” is justified. After all, it’s generally been the judgment-neutral way to refer to people who are sexually attracted to the same sex, and, further, it’s actually literally descriptive. The only reason bigots use “homosexual” now is that it’s the only word they think they can use to describe homosexuals without sounding overtly homophobic. We’ve beaten it into their heads already that using the terms “the gays” “queer” “fag” or any other such term makes you look homophobic. Is it really a good idea to start insisting that the accurate and neutral term is now a slur while now words that were previously slurs are the only accepted ones? It seems like a better way to find an excuse to attack those who simply aren’t heavily involved enough in LGBT activism to have gotten the memo than it does to weed out actual bigots.

        Also, yes, I’ve also noticed Aquaria can be kind of an ass.

        1. Aratina Cage

          Is it really a good idea to start insisting that the accurate and neutral term is now a slur while now words that were previously slurs are the only accepted ones?

          But that is James Croft’s whole point on this matter: it is not a neutral term. There is an implicit sneer it comes with these days when used in casual conversation. It is too othering.

          1. James Croft

            Agreed. I may be too sensitive on this, but particularly in the context of AA representatives’ recent problems regarding how they talk about Muslims, and how Edwin himself began his tenure on this site, it seems like an extra level of care would be wise. I don’t want to make a strong point of it: I just want to point it out for consideration.

          2. Michael B.

            [Homosexual] is not a neutral term. There is an implicit sneer it comes with these days when used in casual conversation. It is too othering.

            First off, any term that categorizes human beings is othering. The term atheist is othering, for instance. In fact, atheist is often used with an implicit sneer, as well, usually by the same people who put a sneer into homosexual. And I’ve even heard men put a very obvious sneer into the word “female.” That prejudiced groups manage to take a neutral term and charge it with their own hate doesn’t make that term a slur. If it did, we’d have to stop using terms like “evolution,” “liberal,” and “books” immediately.

            Secondly, the fact that the alternative choices offered are “gay” and “queer” is kind of ridiculous. If you’re concerned about a word being used with an “implicit sneer,” why on Earth would you want to make the alternative actual slurs like “gay” and “queer?” I know we “took them back” awhile ago, but I can tell you after being in the military for awhile that these words are still being used with more than a sneer. They’re still used as abusive terms of belittlement. Objecting to a word that is, in fact, still widely used as the “PC” term, but approving of the terms that were originally derogatory and still are among the same people who say the word “homosexual” condescendingly is, as I said, a little silly.

            Finally, the fact is that there really isn’t any term other than “homosexual” that actually means “homosexual.” We have “gay” which in modern usage means a male homosexual as opposed to “lesbian,” a female homosexual. We have “queer” as a more generalized term, but it also includes bisexual, transgendered, asexual, drag royalty (to coin a gender neutral term, I guess), and whatever other “abnormal” lifestyles you can find. Homosexual is the only word in our language, to my knowledge, that just means a being that romantically prefers his/her own gender. And the fact that it’s exactly what it says on the tin makes it really hard for me to dismiss it as some kind of derogatory language now, when it’s been pretty much the only word without bigot baggage for decades.

            Maybe, instead of saying, “Oh, this group of people who hate us have started using the common word for us in a hateful way, so no one can use it anymore,” one should actually pay attention to the context of the usage of the word. Because if we start saying that the new word for “homosexual” is quizzlenof, in about ten years when that’s become the only word homophobes can say without immediately being pegged as bigots, they’re all going to start talking about “the quizzlenof agenda” with that exact same implicit sneer and there will be people saying, once again, “Oh, this group of people who hate us have started using quizzlenof in a hateful way, so no one can use it anymore.” Seems the best solution would be to go after the actual hate that causes the sneer rather than the words used to describe the people at whom they’re sneering. Otherwise, we’re going to end up with a hundred words for “homosexual” we can’t use and haters are still going to hate.

          3. Aratina Cage

            @Michael B.

            First off, any term that categorizes human beings is othering.

            No it’s not! That is just stupid to say that. There are many words to categorize different kinds of people that don’t vilify them or demean them. We are talking here about bigoted language.

            That prejudiced groups manage to take a neutral term and charge it with their own hate doesn’t make that term a slur. If it did, we’d have to stop using terms like “evolution,” “liberal,” and “books” immediately.

            Are you fucking kidding me? Liberal isn’t a slur? Ha! What rock have you been living under? Turn on Fox News and listen to them, will you? And evolution and books are not words that describe people.

            Secondly, the fact that the alternative choices offered are “gay” and “queer” is kind of ridiculous.

            Not “a gay” or “a queer”. That isn’t what was being advocated for at all!

            If you’re concerned about a word being used with an “implicit sneer,” why on Earth would you want to make the alternative actual slurs like “gay” and “queer?”

            The usage of gay and queer as pejoratives is not OK either, and no one said it was.

            I know we “took them back” awhile ago, but I can tell you after being in the military for awhile that these words are still being used with more than a sneer. They’re still used as abusive terms of belittlement.

            I know that. What is your point?

            Objecting to a word that is, in fact, still widely used as the “PC” term, but approving of the terms that were originally derogatory and still are among the same people who say the word “homosexual” condescendingly is, as I said, a little silly.

            But it isn’t a PC term. You wouldn’t write “Homosexual Pride” in newspaper titles, for instance, because it does carry the implication of malice on the part of the publisher. You can find this stance to be silly all you want; that doesn’t change the dynamics at play with the phrase “a homosexual”.

            Finally, the fact is that there really isn’t any term other than “homosexual” that actually means “homosexual.” We have “gay” which in modern usage means a male homosexual as opposed to “lesbian,” a female homosexual. We have “queer” as a more generalized term, but it also includes bisexual, transgendered, asexual, drag royalty (to coin a gender neutral term, I guess), and whatever other “abnormal” lifestyles you can find.

            Abnormal? WTF?

            And you are wrong. Gay does not necessarily imply men are being referred to, though it often does–as does the word homosexual. “A lesbian or gay man” covers the ground quite nicely. You can also use one of the acronyms if you are short on space.

            Homosexual is the only word in our language, to my knowledge, that just means a being that romantically prefers his/her own gender. And the fact that it’s exactly what it says on the tin makes it really hard for me to dismiss it as some kind of derogatory language now, when it’s been pretty much the only word without bigot baggage for decades.

            Well you are living in your own little world then.

            Maybe, instead of saying, “Oh, this group of people who hate us have started using the common word for us in a hateful way, so no one can use it anymore,” one should actually pay attention to the context of the usage of the word. Because if we start saying that the new word for “homosexual” is quizzlenof, in about ten years when that’s become the only word homophobes can say without immediately being pegged as bigots, they’re all going to start talking about “the quizzlenof agenda” with that exact same implicit sneer and there will be people saying, once again, “Oh, this group of people who hate us have started using quizzlenof in a hateful way, so no one can use it anymore.”

            That’s already been done by South Park, and better I might add. It’s a nice thought but, again, not how it works on the ground currently. You are free to do your own thing, but it is unlikely you will be able to free references to one of us as “a homosexual” from their implicit homophobia.

            Seems the best solution would be to go after the actual hate that causes the sneer rather than the words used to describe the people at whom they’re sneering. Otherwise, we’re going to end up with a hundred words for “homosexual” we can’t use and haters are still going to hate.

            The decision to utilize certain terms is a manifestation of what one thinks and wishes to convey to others. If AA spokespeople should like to not convey a slight bit of homophobia, then one way they can do that is by not sloppily saying or writing “a homosexual” as James Croft noted.

      2. Leo Buzalsky

        You cannot simultaneously respect pluralism AND tell a Chrisitian you don’t want them praying in public because you dislike it.

        The one problem I have with this is that I don’t see this as being a simple dislike of prayer. Silverman’s issue seems to be around a suspicion that Tebow is taking advantage of his popularity. It’s the idea that he may be showboating. (And it gets the AA’s attention because it is showboating using religion.) In a way, showboating is disrespectful to religion (not to mention, again, the hypocrisy in regards to the Gospel of Matthew) and definitely disrespectful to pluralism (it has a “my god is bigger than your god” taunting aspect to it). In which case, this is not hypocritical. The real issue then centers around accusing Tebow of showboating. Only Tebow can know for sure. If he’s not, then Silverman is indeed wrong. If he is, then Silverman has a good (and I would say fair) point.

  7. 7
    Rike

    I think I will go back to lurking instead of trying to get myself entangled about which expression is acceptable today – as opposed to yesterday – and allowed to be applied in instance A, but not for purpose B. English is not my first language, so I might well be missing the finer nuances for appreciating every special single application, which was my reason for commenting in the first place.

    It was not my intention to insult anybody here. However, if I was better able to navigate the language, I might have come close to Michael B’s comment. Thank you, Michael, for doing it for me.

  8. 8
    Michael Brew

    Aratina, you say that using the terms gay and queer are not okay when used as pejoratives and that no one was saying it was okay, but James specifically advocated those terms as the proper terms, while deriding the term homosexual specifically because some people have started using it as a pejorative. My point is that makes no sense to say that using these terms that have been in the past used almost exclusively as pejoratives are okay as long as you don’t use them as pejoratives, but a word that has been the universally clean term can no longer be used regardless of context because people have started using it in a pejorative context.

    I mean, when I was growing up, you didn’t call people queer, for instance. It was second only to “faggot” as the worst word you could call a homosexual person. Even when I was an ally of the QSA and we were “taking back” the term it always made me extremely uncomfortable to hear people use the term. I could never really use it, just as I can’t get myself to drop an f-bomb even today. Even gay was a bit negatively colored, as it was often used in a negative way to disparage and bully kids and even now it’s become the new “lame.” Homosexual, however, was dry, clean, textbook language. It used to be too sciencey to ever be derogatory in and of itself. It’s always the word one would use in formal conversation, much like one might say African American instead of black or mentally disabled instead of retarded. I’ve never known anyone to view the word as anything but a PC term until now.

    Of course, that’s the reason why public figure bigots use the term homosexual now when going on their diatribes. Calling homosexual folk queers or gays became a telltale sign of bigotry and too negative, so they’ve been running the term into the ground in their propaganda because it was pretty much the only term that hadn’t been used as a slur.

    For these reasons, I would hope you could understand the Bizarro-world feeling the above assertion elicited, and why I would sympathize with anyone being accused of bigotry or insensitivity when I, as a person very sympathetic to the LGBT movement, would have used the same term under the assumption that it was the correct one and would have avoided the recommended ones based on my own understanding that they were more offensive.

    1. 8.1
      James Croft

      I do understand that the constantly-evolving nature of language, and the highly-charged and emotional nature of discussions over language which relates to marginalized groups, is difficult to navigate sometimes. That’s why it’s so important to gracefully accept advice offered from the people in question themselves. I didn’t make a big point of it. I simply pointed out, in light of AA’s recent statements about Muslims and Edwin’s inauspicious opening on this blog, it is wise to be extra careful.

    2. 8.2
      Aratina Cage

      @michaelbrew

      a word that has been the universally clean term … Homosexual, however, was dry, clean, textbook language. It used to be too sciencey to ever be derogatory in and of itself. It’s always the word one would use in formal conversation, much like one might say African American instead of black or mentally disabled instead of retarded. I’ve never known anyone to view the word as anything but a PC term until now.

      I’m sorry, but I have to tell you that that is just not true. That runs counter to the history of the term and to its current usage and meaning. For quick reference, here is the Wikipedia blurb about that:

      Many modern style guides in the U.S. recommend against using homosexual as a noun, instead using gay man or lesbian. Similarly, some recommend completely avoiding usage of homosexual as it has a negative, clinical history and because the word only refers to one’s sexual behavior (as opposed to romantic feelings) and thus it has a negative connotation. Gay and lesbian are the most common alternatives. The first letters are frequently combined to create the initialism LGBT (sometimes written as GLBT), in which B and T refer to bisexual and transgender people.

      Of course, that’s [the belief that homosexual has always been PC is] the reason why public figure bigots use the term homosexual now when going on their diatribes. –michaelbrew

      I doubt that is it. I mean, newspapers and other newsworthy media and publications have rarely been able to get away with faggot, and queer has flipped its meaning so much now that to use it generally denotes one is an ally except for in an obviously hateful phrase like “You queers!”

      No, I think anti-gay bigots use homosexual in their writings instead of lesbian or gay man because they want to force the ideas of sex and sexual perversion into the minds of readers/listeners. It’s not them being PC, it’s them being malicious while getting around censors.

      For these reasons, I would hope you could understand the Bizarro-world feeling the above assertion elicited, and why I would sympathize with anyone being accused of bigotry or insensitivity when I, as a person very sympathetic to the LGBT movement, would have used the same term under the assumption that it was the correct one and would have avoided the recommended ones based on my own understanding that they were more offensive.

      Alright. I just really wanted you to know that you had it wrong about the phrase a homosexual being PC and/or neutral–it isn’t.

      1. Michael Brew

        That’s fine. My only point was that it’s dubious in my mind to call someone out for using the term if no other sign of bigotry is present. The idea that homosexual is the unacceptable term and gay and queer are acceptable run counter to my own experience, and it seems to me that someone else making the error is understandable. Don’t get me wrong, if many members of the community do find the term insulting, I don’t see anything wrong with telling the user of said terms so and asking that an alternative be used, but before that happens, I would reserve any actual condemnation of the person or organization responsible. If they keep using the term in spite of being directly informed, then I would say feel free. In any case, I’m going to say goodnight to this topic, as it seems to have derailed the main discussion just a touch.

        1. Aratina Cage

          OK, but I can’t find a place in this conversation where anyone condemned Blair Scott for using the phrase he used. James Croft only briefly mentioned that it wasn’t the best thing that Scott could have written, and that spawned an argument about it in which Croft called for greater sensitivity from AA spokespeople and I chimed in with my own thoughts. Condemnation really hasn’t been an issue in this conversation.

  9. 9
    Rike

    So why is it that people who totally side with – oh my, which term to use? – a marginalized group, must “gracefully accept advice” on how to express their support while members of said marginalized group show no signs of gracefully accepting the actual support without having to constantly find something – anything – to criticize.
    This is something that struck me most profoundly here on Edwin’s blog (his “inauspicious opening”) but I have seen it at other sites.
    I am totally in support of pluralism, but if I am expected to conform to each minority’s expectations, whatever they might be on a given day, then it will become easier to not voice my support too strongly, or not at all.
    Nobody is perfect, we all make mistakes; but if a group being promoted keeps pouncing on mostly minor flaws in the presentation of the support, then that group stands a good chance of not attracting many volunteers.

    1. 9.1
      Aratina Cage

      Yes, we just scoured those words, looking for homophobic slights, didn’t we?

      Really, Rike?

      Could it possibly be that we were reading something, and it just unexpectedly popped out at us, and we feel free to lodge a complaint about it? Even a tiny little bit possible?

      1. Rike

        Ah, Aratina, maybe I come across like all I am doing is complaining about a bit of complaining. But this has been going on since Edwin began his blog here at ftb. So, ok, maybe he started with a – bad? – poor? – hard to understand? – joke, and there has been no end in sight of the ill will and sour language that has come his way. I don’t think that it bothers him too much: I had to admire how he played the field, and they all danced by his tune!
        But for a person like me who just chanced by this blog, all the bickering and name calling sounded so cheap, so – well, so religious, like a bunch of christian vultures sharing their prey. I’ve been mostly lurking here on ftb because it seemed like a place with likeminded people, but if they are not any better than the ones I left behind, then why should I hang around and take a stand on their side when I can be more comfortable back where I don’t have to worry about getting chastised when I’m trying to help.
        Don’t get me wrong – I am pretty tough and I can stand up for myself. But the trend in the atheist community has been to call people out of the closet to take a stand for pluralism. Now why would anybody want to do that after reading this blog?

        1. Aratina Cage

          Rike, I just don’t see why inappropriate usage of terms for gay people by an atheist spokesperson is something that we shouldn’t comment on. It is something that the person making the mistake might want to consider not doing in the future, don’t you think?

          The bumpy start Kagin had here was a confluence of things all going wrong: it was an old article with an old way of thinking about the matter that was presented ambiguously in a way that could be seen as his current thoughts when it might have been more like filler or a look back at the past, Kagin and the readers weren’t aware of the high sensitivity of the spam filter for several days which made people think their criticism of the piece was being scuttled, Kagin wasn’t ready for the directness of many commenters already on FTB, not many readers here at FTB knew about Kagin’s very indirect blogging style, many of the people that followed Kagin here knew nothing or little about the whole Elevatorgate fallout that has polarized a great many at FTB against anti-PCism, etc.

          And now you are hitting a row of Bingo slots: We’re religious, our language is “ill and sour”, we can’t understand Kagin’s writing, we’re just dancing to his tune… Can’t we have an argument about what pluralism entails without that fuzz flying around in the air?

          I think James Croft was right to point out that the wording by one of the AA people could be better next time when addressing gay people; that would do nothing but increase the plurality of the atheist community as far as I see it. It is a valid complaint and not one that should send you fleeing.

          1. sisu

            Kagin’s very indirect blogging style

            Is that what it’s called when you only post press releases and years-old columns, instead of generating new content?

          2. Aratina Cage

            @sisu

            Is that what it’s called when you only post press releases and years-old columns, instead of generating new content?

            I meant very indirect blogging style as a descriptor of his tendency (so far) to respond cryptically to criticism and how he doesn’t always tell us which atheists his critical commentary is about, leaving us to guess at who the target is. I’m not saying he should do it differently–it’s his blog–I’m just thinking that that was probably part of the reason for the great turbulence at the beginning.

        2. James Croft

          I strongly abject to this. There has been no sour language or name-calling n this thread at all. And the joke wasn’t “bad” or “hard to understand” – it was dripping with sexual prejudice and deeply hurtful. Most people I saw took his almost-full apology very well.

          But if you’re looking for like minded people standing up for pluralism and secular values, I do agree there are better places to find it than this blog. Take a look at some of the other FtB authors, or Harvardhumanist.org, and I think you’ll find a more pleasant atmosphere.

  10. 10
    Rike

    You’re correct, James; I guess I let some of the comments of previous threads get to me while reading the current one and I should have placed my critique where it belonged. I will try to do better in the future!
    Thank you for straightening me out and I am sorry if I offended anybody.

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