I’ve long been a fan of Richard Dawkins’ Out Campaign, and think that kind of thing is the single greatest contribution to making public atheism atheism acceptable. It’s not the books, it’s not the leaders, it’s thousands of people standing up boldly and fearlessly asserting that they don’t believe in that nonsense and that we need to keep the magical thinking out of our lives.
The OUT Campaign allows individuals to let others know they are not alone. It can also be a nice way of opening a conversation and help to demolish the negative stereotypes of atheists. Let the world know that we are not about to go away and that we are not going to allow those that would condemn us to push us into the shadows.
It is time to let our voices be heard regarding the intrusion of religion in our schools and politics. Atheists along with millions of others are tired of being bullied by those who would force their own religious agenda down the throats of our children and our respective governments. We need to KEEP OUT the supernatural from our moral principles and public policies.
But what if the campaign changed? What if the RDF decided that we were maybe being a little too aggressive (they aren’t, don’t worry) and suggested an alternative strategy: keep quiet, call up your local priest, and have a private heart-to-heart with him. Tell him first that you’re thinking of coming out about your disbelief with friends and family; give him a chance to address your concerns. Let him keep his privileged authority in matters spiritual.
Not so impressive anymore, is it? In fact, the deference to the very people we oppose sounds downright pathetic and wimpy.
So you can imagine my response to the open letter to the secular community, deploring the aggressive rhetoric on blogs, and basically minimizing the hatred radiating from the anti-feminists to equate it with calling said anti-feminists mean names. It’s signed by many people I like and respect, leaders of various secular organizations, but it’s a gooey marshmallow of spineless diplomacy. Not interested. I know they mean well, and they’re just trying to find a formula to make us all one big happy family together, but I’m not about to throw causes I care about under the bus of a blithe starry-eyed atheism.
I will continue to cheerfully abuse the advocates of silence and sexism. And I won’t even pick up the phone to let them know first!