Posts Tagged 'Activism'

Bad News For Brazilian “Ateus”

The Brazilian flag reads “ordem e progresso” – order and progress. Yet, it looks like the land of samba and sugar cane still has plenty of progress left to make.

You may recall a study that came out awhile ago in which it was found that 48% of all Americans would vote against any candidate for any political office who was revealed to be an atheist. Many candidates are smeared to look like atheists, or in some cases, smeared for simply attending an event run by atheists. But compared to Brazil, this is the land of milk and honey for those who don’t believe. According to a similar survey conducted there that I recently uncovered, only 13% of Brazilians would vote for an atheist candidate. And to top it off, the nation’s most recognized landmark is a giant statue of Jesus. Ouch.

However, there is a glimmer of hope. Brazilian nonbelievers have been making their presence felt on the internet and elsewhere in the public sphere. One Brazilian youtube user, aside from confirming the belief that all Brazilian girls are hot, has alot to say about religion and why she is an ateu – an atheist – and she’s even taken the trouble to speak English in all her clips. The best thing atheists and secularists can do, whether in the US, Brazil, or elsewhere, is to increase our visibility. Most people have their public perceptions of atheists shaped by the least atheistic people out there, and by standing up we can show more reasonable people that we aren’t the monsters we’re made out to be. And if the situation improves in Brazil, some countries even worse for atheists than it is might learn by its example.

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The Gay Community’s Unwanted Allies

protests
Today is the beginning of the Calfornia Supreme Court’s deliberation over what to do on Prop. 8. I’ve done a considerable write up on the matter over at my other blog, check it out for all the deets. With Prop 8 back in the spotlight, however, I couldn’t help but think back to the campaign season. As a hetero with no intention to marry in the near future, Prop 8 was not an immediate threat to me. But as an atheist, I was deeply disturbed by the religious tactics employed by the anti-gay forces. In a nutshell, the religious stump speech for banning gay marriage was “Let us discriminate against gays or you’ll be discriminating against us”. The anti-gay marriage website carries a handy set of instructions for churches, instructing them on how to push the anti-gay agenda to the limit. Opposition to this church-based movement is framed in discriminatory terms:

Recently, we have seen organizations such as Americans United for Separation of Church and State send letters to churches in an apparent effort to suppress the speech of churches and pastors on critical social issues.

What disturbed me was how easily this tactic could be turned against atheists as well. What if the religious movement decided that atheists could no longer marry? What if we spoke out, and a well organized, well funded religious campaign was organized claiming that it was in fact us who were oppressing them? I was always a supporter of gay rights, but upon realizing this, the struggle became more personal. Many atheists seemed to share my view. One commenter on the Atheist Revolution blog had this to say:

The push to ban same-sex marriage comes overwhelmingly from the Mormon and Catholic and fundamentalist churches, who are attempting to turn their personal religious beliefs into laws for everyone. You’re damn right that should concern atheists.

To my dismay, most of the No on 8 campaign seemed to involve conforming Gay Marriage with religious dogma, and convincing Christians that Jesus woudn’t slap them on the ass for voting no. Not once did I see atheists mentioned in relation to the campaign as it was taking place. Upon researching it now, I found a sickening post on a Christian website which quite possibly linked atheism to gay marriage in hopes that the bad name of atheism would help Prop 8 pass. Greta Cristina, author of the comment above, has an in-depth post about her experiences as a gay atheist, and how the gay community is surprisingly intolerant of atheists in their midst.

However, there are still plenty of gay folks who accept our help. Sometimes, the best way for us to help may unfortunately be to stay quiet, at least until the public becomes more accepting of atheists. But we need to work together. The fight against Prop 8 is our fight too.


Blogical

I’m starting this blog as an outlet for my thoughts on religion, it successes, shortfalls, and how I get along without it. As an atheist and secularist, I often get accused of only believing in “cold logic”, to which I respond, “What’s so cold about it?" Just because I think critically where where religious people don’t doesn’t make me cold, immoral or unfeeling. I’m not anti-religious per se, though I feel some religious practices do get a free ride where they shouldn’t. The main reason I’m an atheist is that I think a life lived on secular priciples is a better way to live. In reading this, you’ll probably see plenty of ideas you’ve heard before, and hopefully a few you haven’t. With any luck, you’ll understand where I’m coming from, and we’ll both be better off.
The Out Campaign: Scarlet Letter of Atheism
(image: happy human)

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