April 14, 2008

Rep. Davis Must Issue Public Apology

Calling Rob Sherman to apologize for her bigoted tirade was a step in the right direction, however Rep. Monique Davis (D-Chicago) still owes a public apology to the millions of American atheists to whom her public comments were also directed. I'd like to offer a brief explanation about why this is necessary and suggest a way out of this mess for Rep. Davis.

A public apology is necessary because Rep. Davis' comments were made public on the floor of the Illinois Legislature and because they were relevant to all American atheists and not simply to Mr. Sherman. According to a recent press release issued by the American Humanist Association:
"Such a purely private apology, even when publicly reported, misses the point," declared Lipman today. "What Monique Davis said was an offense to all nontheistic people, including humanists like me, not merely an offense to a single atheist. And her words were uttered publicly, so only a public apology will suffice.
I agree. A public apology is necessary. But is is sufficient? Would this atheist be willing to move on and stop calling for Davis' resignation if she did issue a sincere public apology? Yes, I believe so.

After additional reflection, I have reached the conclusion that this would be enough for me and that I would be willing to stop calling for her resignation if she were to issue a sincere public apology in which she did more than offer excuses about her emotional state and instead followed in the footsteps of Don Imus, Mel Gibson, and Michael Richards. I realize that not all atheists would be satisfied with this, however. As the AHA press release points out:
"But this [a sincere public apology] won't mean that the godless now enjoy a level playing field. We still have a ways to go. Had Representative Davis' remarks been directed at Jews or Christians instead of atheists, she would have been forced to resign."
So, yes, I'm saying that I would be willing in this case to accept something less than what I know Christians or Jews would demand. I'm not interested in retribution; I simply want some evidence that Rep. Davis has acknowledged her bigotry and is going to do something to correct it.

For other thoughts on this important story, see:
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