I had an interesting Twitter conversation with Dave Silverman yesterday, which continued with other people later. It was about the recurring subject of having an all-inclusive political movement on the one hand, and standing by certain values or commitments on the other hand.
Dave obviously has to lean heavily toward the former, because that’s his job. The atheism comes first, by a long way, and everything else comes second. But does everything else come nowhere? I don’t think so. I think there are limits. I don’t think Dave would welcome the KKK or the American Nazi Party as allies, for instance. Just for one thing, accepting them as allies would mean the loss of a lot of other allies, so you can frame it as a completely hard-headed practical decision. But for another thing, it would ruin the brand, and I know Dave doesn’t want to do that: that’s why he always disavows things like vandalism of churches or mosques. He doesn’t want atheism (and especially AA) mixed up with that; he wants them clearly and starkly separated.
So the question turns out to be not if but where: not if there are limits, but where they are drawn. He draws them more widely than I do, because he has to. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t draw them at all.
It’s my view that over the long haul, it will be best to separate American Atheism clearly and starkly from overt noisy misogyny and sexism. I’m pretty sure AA is already clearly and starkly separated from overt noisy racism, as I indicated above; I think overt noisy misogyny and sexism and overt noisy homophobia and trans-bashing should be in the same category.
Not everyone agrees with me on this.