I am constantly dunned by email and tweets from the haters and sick scumbags, and I read stuff by my colleagues who get far worse, and at times it is just too depressing and dismal — there really are reactionary fanatics within atheism who refuse to recognize the responsibility to work towards equality. And I just want to give up.
But then…perspective. Step away from the smears and assaults and slime and look at the movement as a whole: look at the leading organizations of the godless. You know what you’ll see? None of them support these loons. They’re all progressive and committed to improving the diversity of the atheist community and broadening our engagement with the greater culture.
Really. Look at American Atheists, the American Humanist Association, the Center for Inquiry, Atheist Alliance International and Atheist Alliance America, the Secular Coalition, the Secular Student Alliance, and the Richard Dawkins Foundation. They are not supporting these petty, resentful snipers; they are working towards a future in which those goons are irrelevant.
That’s reassuring. There are loud, obsessive, creepy people who should not be ignored, but it’s always a good idea to step back and look at the bigger picture, and see that their skirmishing is born of desperation — they’re the past, they’re the failures, they’re the ones who have no productive role to play.
Rebecca Watson has a different perspective. She’s less sanguine about organizations (and particularly the RDF), and I’m not going to argue with someone who has been the target of so much hatred, some of it inspired by Richard Dawkins’ remarks. I will agree entirely that any virtue in these organizations rest on the efforts of individuals who have struggled hard to bring inherently conservative institutions towards a more just perspective, and we cannot rest — we all have to keep fighting that fight.