Nazis and Stasi and bears, oh my

Dear oh dear, lots of new assigned reading first thing in the morning; how will I ever catch up.

There is Rebecca’s post on being called Feminazis and Femistasi. (I read that yesterday actually, but late in a long and rather nerve-racking day, so I’m treating it as new.)

There is Paula Kirby’s eagerly-anticipated (since she announced it yesterday) Google doc “Sisterhood of the Oppressed” (gee I wonder what that could possibly be about, and what its take might turn out to be).

There is Alex Gabriel’s unanticipated and lovely mash-note to Freethought blogs. Alex’s note is especially pleasant because it includes detailed accounts of what he likes about a whole slew of particular blogs on the network, which makes a nice contrast to people who simply rant endlessly on Twitter about “FTB” as if it were allonething. It also offers the comradely suggestion to tweet #WeLoveFTB. It offers it for the same set of reasons as the one we were talking about on the video yesterday. (That was only yesterday? It feels like weeks ago now.)

All of these people are tremendous, and so are many of their co-bloggers from the little of them I’ve seen. But none of them is the biggest reason I love FtB.

The biggest reason is the same one other people have been criticizing them recently: that they speak out so often, and so eloquently, on feminism, queer and racial struggles, politics and other Causes That Aren’t Directly Related To Atheism. That while primarily they’re an atheist network, they’re a collective of atheists with other opinions, where atheist discussions on justice, ethics and politics can take place – especially where the perspectives of the marginalized are included.

If we had a word for atheists doing this, what would it be?

Oh yes. ‘Freethought’.

The criticism of religion is a very much older beast than RDFRS, or CFI, or FreethoughtBlogs itself. It’s older than the skeptical movement writers here belong to, and which focuses (don’t get me wrong, correctly) on attacking religion epistemologically.

In Europe, the historic home of freethought, and elsewhere in the world, there exists a long and esteemed tradition of thinkers and writers who called out religion for being unjust and oppressive: traditionally, feminists, Marxists, queer theorists and all the other famous bêtes noires of the Daily Mail have been the first to bash religion. There’s clearly no real dichotomy, and many people who identify with these groups also foreground science, but I relate to that atheist tradition at least as much as to Richard Dawkins or Sam Harris. And I love FreethoughtBlogs – I adore it – for representing that contingent.

So here’s my invitation to you, if you love it too. Now that I’ve set out what makes that set of writers special to me, I’m not going to try and stop people calling them bullies or totalitarian. They’re entitled to their opinion – but so are we, and while the FtB crowd are, frankly, being bombarded with abuse, I think we ought to share it.

Remember when Tory politicians said we needed to privatise health, and #WeLoveTheNHS trended? I think it’s time for #WeLoveFTB.

Tweet it. I’m about to. Tweet it so that everyone from that network knows we support them, and find love as well as hate when they search for FtB.

Thank you, Alex.