Friday, March 5, 2010

Welcome to “Capitulation to Creeping Theism 101”

Good morning class. I’m Professor Hump. For the next three minutes I will be your instructor. Many of you have seen me on campus and know me to be an ardent atheist activist. But not today, not for this class. Today I will lead you on a field trip through the wonderful world of atheist accommodation in the 21st century.

Let’s begin by reading this news article about a man in Mississippi who demanded that the crosses carved into the courthouse pews that were salvaged from a church be removed. The Xtian mayor of the town plans to fight him tooth and nail. No whoosie THAT Xtian redneck, no siree.

You can bet your student loans, that if those pews had a Star of David carved into them the good mayor wouldn't have accepted them even for free. If they had a Wicca symbol, he'd likely have had them burned.

Now, let us examine some of the responses to this story posted by some alleged atheists to Hemant Mehta’s Friendly Atheist blog.

Atheist A: “This guy needs to be a friendlier atheist.”

I bet many of you think that no religious symbols belong as a fixture in any court room in this country, in any way, for any reason. Evidently you’re mistaken as evidenced by Atheist A who suggests the complainant should roll over and just be a “friendlier atheist.” Thank you, Mr. Step and Fetch It.

Atheist B: “If the pews are functional ignore the crosses. You can be strong enough not to be offended by the trivial.”

I know just what he means. I feel the same way about the inclusion of Intel Design / Creationism in public school science books; or a giant cross erected on public land; or Biblical verses emblazoned on military rifle sights by the manufacturer; or a Muslim crescent hung on the wall of the local Motor Vehicle Bureau, etc.

If the books, rifle sights, parks, and government offices are functional we can just ignore those chapters; ignore those symbols; we are strong enough not to be offended by the “trivial.” Thank you, Mr. Neville Chamberlain of Non-Believers.

That concludes today’s introduction to “Capitulation to Creeping Theism 101.″ Tomorrow we will open with an invocation delivered by a fundamentalist evangelical pastor. Yes, I know this is a publicly funded college and we are atheists, but hey, he insisted so let's just be nice.

Your homework assignment is to find more ways to set back secularists’ hard won advancements by 75 years.


NewEnglandBob said...

The so-called atheists (accommodationists or faitheists) who want other atheist to defer claim that their 'way' will accomplish more, even though it is the militant "New" atheists who are enticing millions of people to come out of the closet with their atheism.

Accommodationists are nothing new. There were people who wanted others to hold back in the women's liberation movement, the civil rights movement and the GLBT movement. Accommodationism is also the mode used to appease Adolf Hitler and Germany. They were wrong in every case and are still wrong.

Motorhead said...

More ways to set back secularists' hard won advancements 75 years: 1. Vote only for folks running for offices who openly express their religiousness even though you disagree with it because you're not given much of a choice. That should do it as far as the USA goes.

Until more freethinkers get voted into more and higher offices, we'll continue to have a country full of mayor Davis'.

@ NEBob and Hump: I just can't resist stating the obvious.
Hammer hit the head, perfect example. Chamberlain traveling to Germany to sign papers giving land to Hitler was like taking a wiffle-ball bat to a gun fight. It eventually turned into giving a murderous megalomaniac even more dillusions of grandeur which he turned into reality. A right jolly ol' accommodating chap indeed.

"it is the militant "New" atheists who are enticing millions of people to come out of the closet with their atheism"

Exactamundo! If the enticed millions would shed their inhibitions and show some action, we'd get a lot more done in a lot less time.

Dromedary Hump said...


Hump, I agree that appeasement and accommodation won't accomplish much. However, I read an interesting post on the Friendly Atheist on this topic. It compared the Atheist movement to the GLBT movement of the 70s, and talked about how there were disagreements on what the most effective approach would be. In hind sight, it appears that both approaches were needed. While loud demonstrations in the streets raised awareness, those who took a more tactful approach were able to negotiate for advancement of the cause behind the scenes. The demonstrations helped the negotiators keep the pressure on, but both methods were needed. So I would just say to those, like yourself, who have a talent for "stirring the pot" keep doing what you're doing. But don't withdraw your support for those who may have a talent for "attracting flies with honey"

Longhorn Believer

NewEnglandBob said...

Rachel, the Longhorn Believer:

Granted, that both approaches are needed but the huge problem is that accommodationists are telling the New Atheists to STFU and blaming New Atheists for doing damage. People like Chris Mooney are doing this and they are proven wrong. People like Mooney are doing no good whatsoever, unlike Eugenie Scott who does.

Luther said...

Got a couple of suggestions:

1) How about fasting during Ramadan, lets stop serving food in school cafeterias. And outlaw meat in public on Friday.

2) And lets on offend any Christian Science healers...let them serve in hospitals and we will just go along with their cures.

While we are at lets bring back those old chastity belts and some segregated facilities, so everyone can demonstrate to us how to go along

zarton said...

I for one am tired of hurting xtian feelings by suffering witches to live!
Someone once told Richard Dawkins that organizing atheists is a lot like herding cats. I am afraid there is some truth to that, but this cat is willing to engage anyone who wants to drive us back to the dark ages. There is a culture war out there and our side is growing and that scares the hell out of people who wants to control our lives.
Go godless heathens go!

No Guy in the Sky said...

Hump - I really appreciate the fight you bring. If all atheists were as loud. Real change could happen in years not decades/centuries.

Thank You!

Motorhead said...

Professor Brad,
Cool homework assignment. Given Brad's knowledge of secularists' accomplishments over the last 75 years (and probably more), I'm interested in how Brad is going to grade our finished assignments. What is the real meat and potatoes Brad is looking for in our assignments that will give one a higher grade than another? Will Brad grade on a curve? Who will Brad give an A+ to? Has anyone else noticed Brad's cool new car cruising around campus? Why didn't Brad's guest show up to give us an invocation this morning?

Actually, I'm glad that guy didn't show up.

Dromedary Hump said...

Hey all...
Thanks for your thoughtful replies and feedback, as always.

I have more respect for apathetic atheists who just don't care enough to get involved than those atheists who play the appeasement card.

While there is room for a more genteel approach than my tact, and the tact of Hitchens and Harris et al, it can never come at the price of accomodation of religious intrusion no matter how seemingly harmless they may seem.

Give them an inch they will take your whole freedom...history has show that.

No compromise.

PS: Motorhead ... you call me "Brad" again because of that Washington Post typo, and I'll drop a camel turd in your Wheaties ;)

Contents under pressue said...

To play the devil's advocate (so to speak) in setting back secularists’ hard won advancements by 75 years:

All-out hostility to all religious figures.

...even the ones we can learn from.

For example, more than half my proffs in college were priests.

While I don't agree with their religion, I still respect their capabilities as educators, and as specialists in their fields.

Christian Apologist said...

Is there a significant difference between the person who is offended by a cross on the end of a bench and the person who is offended by the use of the word retard?

Dromedary Hump said...

Well, that takes a little thought, so I am unsurprised you are confused. Let me help you:

One of those two things has to do with separation of church and state, a basic precept of the Constitution. Forcing religious symbolism on people in a government faciulity implys endorsement of one religion over another, or over none. A violation of the 1st Amendment and an encroagment of our freedoms.

The other is a word.

Hope that helped.

I see now why your blog is defunct and has no readership. You type too much, think too little.

Christian Apologist said...

Please, anyone with any knowledge of history, the ability to read, and access to the founding documents would quickly conclude that what the founders meant was that government would not establish any one religion as a state religion. All these efforts to eliminate religious symbols from all government property is nothing more than the establishment of athiesm as the state religion.

Dromedary Hump said...

You are woefully stupid.

By allowing a symbol of a religion to become part ofgov't property it implys endorsement. The separation of church and state clause is meant to PROTECT religions from gov't control, as well as protecting the rights of people not part of the majority.

Rev. Barry Lynn knows this, and fights hard to preserve the secular state as do most educated and historically astute theists. You are not among the educated.

You prefer a conspiratorial interpretation as thoughwe give fuck what flvor of supernatural idiocy you want to believe in.

I don't want ANY belief or non-belief symbols (including an atheist symbol) displayed on government property which I fund.

My educated guess is that if those church pews in that court house had Satanist symbols carved into them, you'd have a slightly different persepective.
You hypocrite.

Tracey said...

Hey, Xtian Apologist - ATHEISM IS NOT A RELIGION!!!!!! We have no religion. Religion requires the belief in a deity.

Dromedary Hump said...

I fear that plain and simple logic will be lost on is all other examples of reason.