Oct. 27th, 2009

joreth: (Dobert Demons of Stupidity)
Today's Atheist Meme of the Day:

Most atheists passionately support believers' right to believe and practice whatever religion they like, and we oppose anti-religious discrimination as vehemently as anti-atheist discrimination. We may disagree with what people believe -- sometimes passionately and vocally -- but we will defend with equal passion their right to believe it. Pass it on: if we say it enough times to enough people, it may get across
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It was actually quite disheartening to see the same-sex rights groups distance themselves from atheists because they are afraid of the taint that being associated with atheists would bring in their fight for acceptance from mainstream society.  Atheists were the first non-gay-themed group to stand up behind the gay rights movements, and pretty much any other civil rights group.  

Much like the ACLU (whom one can argue can be obnoxious and seems to be wanting to pick fights with people for the sake of picking fights with people, as people are wont to think of atheists), atheists are all about freedom and equality (with, I'm sure, some individual exceptions).  The core of atheism is a love of truth and rationality and logical and critical thinking.  If you passionately hold those ideals, then any form of discrimination becomes your opposition because truth and rationality and logical and critical thinking reveals the flaws in discrimination. 

Discrimination is not based on rational, logical, or empirical reasons.  It's based on fear and ignorance.  If one became an atheist by way of rational or logical thinking, eventually this way of thinking leads one to dismantle the fear and ignorance that is the foundation of discrimination.  If one became an atheist by way of evidence-based conclusions, then one requires evidence to justify discrimination, and there simply isn't any evidence to support it.  Therefore, much like religious claims, discrimination gets thrown out as an acceptable belief structure or societal structure.

I will argue and provide evidence and attempt to dissuade you from your untrue, supernatural, illogical, irrational beliefs because I think those kinds of beliefs create errors in judgement which then affect your actions, which then affect my life.  But I will fight for your right to believe any silly thing you want to believe.  I don't think you should be *forced* to believe something or prevented from believing something, nor do I even think that's possible.  That's not the same thing at all as trying to change your mind, nor is it the same thing as imposing regulations over your *actions* when those actions affect other people.
joreth: (Dobert Demons of Stupidity)
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/27/us/27cheerleader.html

So, to summarize, a group of cheerleaders for a high school made giant banners with bible verses on them that the football team ran through. A Christian law student, attending one of the evangelical universities, told the school district that the banners could get the school sued for violating the separation of church and state.

The school district and constitutional experts agreed, and the cheerleaders were required to stop printing bible verses on their banners.

The religious members of the town got all offended and started bringing their own signs with bible verses and religious sayings on them. The attitude of the people interviewed seem to be "You gonna take away our religion in our schools? Well, we'll just bring our own damn signs! How'dya like them apples, you mean old atheists?"

Except they missed the point.

Bringing personal signs are fine. It's an expression of Free Speech. Annoying, but legal. I have no LEGAL beef with their actions here, and apparently neither do anyone one else.

A 17-year old atheist was quoted as saying, pretty much the same thing. He finds the shoving of bible verses down his throat in public to be annoying, but he acknowledges that they have a constitutional right to do so.

Unlike the Christian groups who seek to ban, fine, and censor the atheist groups for their billboards and bus signs. And what about the non-Christian religious fans in the audience? How do we suppose these same incensed Christians would have reacted if a Muslim girl was a cheerleader and she wanted to quote the Koran on some game day? Judging by the typical reaction of Christians to non-Christian expressions, and judging by these people's determination to believe that their town is a Christian town, and their god pays enough attention to take sides in high school football games, I'm willing to bet money they would have been pissed off if a Muslim cheerleader quoted the Koran on the banners.

One cheerleader is quoted as saying "We are representatives of the school, but we’re also individuals, and we have the right to believe whatever religion we want."

::headdesk::

How many times do we have to say that we are not trying to legislate WHAT YOU BELIEVE?  We are trying to prevent YOU from legislating what WE believe.

The government can not endorse any religion over any other religion, and the only way to make sure of that is to keep all religious expressions out of government-sponsored activities and entities.

You have the very freedom you have to worship your crazy, temperamental, vengeful, misogynistic, contradictory, and completely illogical god PRECISELY because we separate church and state.  If we did not, your ass-backwards fundie beliefs would be illegal for not being the version of religion that was around when the country was founded and its religious clauses were written into law.  You people would not hold government offices (unless you practiced your religion in secret) until/unless your church organized well enough to overthrow the government to replace the head of state with one of your own, if ya'll didn't get arrested for treason first.

The article also says "in losing the battle, we have won the war".

No you haven't, this was our whole point from the beginning.  You CAN have personal religious signs if you want to.  No one is contesting that and none of us ever did.  Unlike you people, we are not trying to legislate your beliefs, nor are we trying to curtail your Freedom of Speech.  Our fight to keep religion out of our government is NOT a slippery slope to rob you of your beliefs.  We hope to do that by convincing you that your beliefs are wrong, not by dictating to you or mandating that you not believe them.

Every time one of us heathen liberals does something with the intention of holding up the spirit of the Constitution, such as enforcing the separation of church and state, or attempting to legalize gay marriage (anti-discrimination, under the all-men-are-created-equal thing), the religious radicals get all up in arms about how we're going to march into people's homes and rip their religion away from them; we're gonna line the schools with armed soldiers to prevent children from praying or storm the churches to carry away pastors from the pulpit for making their outrageous religious claims.

And that's just not so, as this situation proves.

You can believe any fool thing you want to.  You can express your beliefs in almost any way you want to.

What you cannot do is force others to believe what you believe.
What you cannot do is force others to listen to your message if they don't want to.
What you cannot do is use your Freedom of Expression to limit anyone else's freedoms, such as inciting a riot or discriminatory practices.

The only thing that keeps people of other religions and other denominations of your own religion from doing these things to you are the very laws and Constitutional amendments that prevent you from doing it to us that we insist on upholding.  

That very law that made the cheerleaders take down their banners prevents the school district for spending money on and promoting our own atheist beliefs, or Muslim beliefs, or Hindu beliefs, or Wiccan beliefs, or Satanic beliefs, or Flying Spaghetti Monster beliefs, or Pink Unicorn beliefs, or Russell's Teapot beliefs.

(And no, contrary to popular propaganda, science does not promote atheism, it says nothing at all about god or a lack of a god ... it's just that science-literate adults tend to lose their faith in religion when religions make claims about the world that prove to be wrong, and when they apply their logic and critical thinking skills to their ancient tomes written by Bronze-age sheepherders and find them somewhat lacking in accuracy and modern-day applicability).

You didn't win any "war", and no one is telling you what to believe.  At least one of you was smart enough to understand what Separation of Church And State means, and that's all we've ever asked for.

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