My brother from another, er, country*, DuWayne Brayton, recently had a run-in regarding the CFI atheist billboard initiative. In meatspace, not on the blogohedron.
This is the kind of stuff I was talking about when I originally posted the “Why don’t atheists just shut up and stay home” repost yesterday, about atheists needing to fight to be allowed to do the exact same outreach that religious folks do with impunity today. It’s a matter of privilege — the majority has the privilege to say they exist, because they’re in the majority and know it. They also have the privilege to say really stupid and hateful things about the minority via the same medium (e.g., via ad campaigns that smear irreligous folks), and there’s not enough of the minority to kick up a large enough stink over it to make a difference. Meanwhile, we make one billboard that says “hey, you can be a good person without religion”, people lose their shit.
Earlier today I managed to get into an argument with someone who overheard me talking to an acquaintance at school, who I happen to know is also an atheist. We were talking about Center For Inquiry’s “living without religion” billboard campaign, specifically about the billboard CFI MI put up in Grand Rapids that essentially asserts that you don’t need God to be a decent person. All of a sudden I felt like the internet had come alive, when this woman starts berating me about how she thinks it’s just sick how us atheists feel the need to advertise our godlessness. Her biggest concern – a concern she angrily shared rather loudly – is that she doesn’t want her children to see that, doesn’t want to be forced to explain the idea that there are people who support Satan’s plan by pretending they don’t believe in God.
Seriously, her tirade was worthy of the most painfully ignorant and hateful internet troll.
Read more. You know you love whargarbl as much as I do.
* Not a real claim of filial relationship.
Pre-publication edit: DuWayne posted another related experience, motivated by my repost yesterday. Well worth a read too.