American Humanist Association
I was able to get out of the cauldron of ignorance kindly referred to as the South for a weekend to attend the 70th Anniversary American Humanist Association Conference in Cambridge, Massachusetts. I had an absolutely phenomenal time, made great friends, and met many of my heroes. Unfortunately, as they say, all good things must come to an end.
Today was my first day back at school since I left for the conference, and I had almost forgotten how ignorant people from the South are. As I walked to my car after class, I found the strangest thing on it: someone had taken two strips of masking tape and formed a cross on the back of my car. Now, I’m used to being told that I’m going to Hell. I’m used to empty, anonymous threats of untold physical harm coming to me. I’m used to funny looks. I’m used to “loving” proselytizing. Vandalism, however, is new to me.
Granted, it’s only masking tape, and the residue would likely come off with a bit of soap and water, but it isn’t the damage to my car that I’m worried about. What I’m worried about is the principle of the matter. People speak of Southern Hospitality as if it were a ‘no exceptions’ policy– it isn’t. The moment I became a vocal atheist, I became a target for every Evangelical in the area. In the Middle East, if you represent a different worldview, you stand a high risk of being a target of a terrorist attack. It is the same in the US, only it is a different kind of terrorism. The American fundamentalists will do everything they can to make your life miserable in hopes that you will simply shut up. If that fails, they will run smear campaigns and compare you to Stalin.
I say enough. Enough cowering behind ‘religious tolerance.’ Enough saying, “Oh, they are just a small fringe group.” The moderates do nothing to stop them, and, I think, secretly agree with everything they are doing. They are guilty by association. These fundamentalists must be stopped. Their weapons are fear and guilt. My weapons are logic and reason.
I’m sick of tip-toeing around in fear of offending people. I’m sick of being told to respect other people’s “beliefs.” I hold nothing but contempt for the book on which they base their belief, so how can I possibly respect the belief itself? Sure, it is absolutely their right to believe nonsense, but I won’t stand by idly while religious nutjobs bury this country for good. When will people see that, like Christopher Hitchens says, religion poisons everything?
It’s time that all atheists stand up. Join a free-thought group. Wear the scarlet ‘A’ of the Richard Dawkins Out Campaign. Just do something.