May 29, 2008

Atheist Liberation

Drawing on the Civil Rights movement for inspiration and tactics, the Gay Rights and Women's Liberation movements accomplished a great deal. While their work is by no means finished, each of these movements has made massive strides once difficult to imagine. Along with others, I have previously suggested that we atheists can learn a great deal from those that have been successful before us. Atheist liberation is possible in the form of an organized atheist movement, and while it will not be easy, nothing worthwhile ever is.

Comparisons with Civil Rights, Gay Rights, and the Women's Movement make many Christians uncomfortable. Given that some Christians still oppose one or more of these movements, this is not surprising. But even those progressive to moderate Christians who supported these causes are often reluctant to think of atheists along similar lines. To do so would require an admission that we are indeed subject to anti-atheist bigotry and discrimination. This naturally puts many Christians on the defensive, conflicting with their desired self-perception.

Even more important to my mind are the negative reactions many atheists have to the suggestion that atheist liberation is needed. I am not claiming that we have it as bad as any of the other groups before their liberation movements. The point is simply that we deserve better than our current circumstances.

Believe it or not, some atheists adamantly deny that anti-atheist discrimination, bigotry, and intolerance occur. Some reason (and I use the term loosely) that because they have not personally experienced these things, they are not real problems. I have little patience for these folks and will not waste any more time on them.

Others simply do not care. They are willing to live with "In God We Trust" on their currency and may even dismiss blatant examples of anti-atheist bigotry as excusable. Sometimes this is done out of self-preservation, as it may be easier to go along. But I am firmly convinced that apathy, and even ignorance, are also involved.

I am tired of the bigotry, the intolerance, the condemnation. I have no more patience for politicians pandering to every religious and cultural group but ours. I am sick of the myths about atheists spread by religious leaders to inoculate their congregations against reason. I am rapidly approaching the point where I can no longer bite my tongue to protect myself from consequences ranging from social rejection to physical assault.

Atheists are a vital and contributing part of American society. Anti-atheist bigotry is a Civil Rights issue. It is time to demand our equality. It is time for atheist liberation.

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