Friday, August 15, 2008

On Fundamentalists and Anonymous Blogging

Anyone familiar with the blog Atheist in a Minivan (aka Possummomma) knows that someone who admits to an absence of religious faith on the internet can draw some pretty intense and unsettling attention from the God-botherer crowd. The blogger, Possummomma, has been harassed by email and at her home, had her daughter stalked by a preacher on her way to and from school, and been subjected to other "spreading of the good news" which she is understandably reluctant to discuss. This, of course, is entirely irrespective of the endless parade of religious whackaloons who traipse through her blog and try to reclaim her for the Zombie Messiah. She is not alone in this: others, such as Prof. PZ Myers, have received death threats.

A few weeks before this post was written, an atheist blogger who had been going by the name William J. Isom revealed himself as Craig A. James and issued a call for others to "come out". He states in essence that previous civil movements promoting equality for minorities succeeded because of people who stood up and rattled the cages of the established powers that be.

While I'm entirely in agreement that this was appropriate in the case of the womens' and civil rights movements, I'm not sure I buy his argument as it applies to non-believers. The rights movements of the 20th century were able to succeed because the mistreatment was based on factors which the abused did not consciously choose: you are born female or black. Those of us who abandon religion, however, do so out of choice. This does not carry the potential for empathy which physical factors beyond one's control can draw out. In essence, the populace at large doesn't give a damn about non-believers, because our situation is seen as one of our own making. This is, I think, a big reason why abuse of atheists and agnostics does not make the news: no one really gives a shit. Non-believers are on their own.

Hell, look at what society does to homosexuals, because of the FALSE perception that being gay is a "lifestyle choice". Our decision is TRULY a choice: what fucking chance do we have?

So, I think I will remain anonymous, thank you very much. While I have no fear for my own safety (I actively practice my second amendment rights), I don't trust that some well-intended but bat-shit insane god-botherer from the boonies won't shine around and harass my family to try to use them as leverage to "bring me back to Christ".

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