I am constantly amazed that Christians care about what I think. I was reading Fundamentalist Atheists – Unbelief with an Attitude by R. Albert Mohler, Jr. this morning. I figured, why not start the New Year off by checking out the other side. As usual, Mohler takes an Atheist website and uses it to paint Atheists as out to destroy the fabric of American society by supporting things like gay rights, abortion rights, and the right to die with dignity. I know these are buzzwords for the Christian community, but why do they care? Atheists are few in this country and we do not all believe the Secular Humanist party line. There are far more pressing issues to attend to, like battling radical Islam, and the growth of Islam as a faith in America. Atheists are small change. We are few, we are unorganized, and for the most part, we really do not matter. I think marginal is the term I am looking for, yes Atheists are marginal, focus on something else, something important.
One of the things what bothers me most about Mohlers article is that he thinks he understands what motivated our founding father when they formed our nation. He seems to think the founding fathers did not include gays in their thinking when forming the Declaration of Independence and Constitution. Instead, he comes off as a typical Christian Homophobe. Who really cares what our founding fathers meant? They got slavery wrong, is it possible they got other things wrong too? What they gave us was a right to debate the issue and decide what is right through honest discourse. When you look at an issue like gay rights and take away the Christian filter, it is easy to see that they are no different from us and deserve the same protection under that law that we do. Christians argue from a position of morality as define by their Bible, just as Muslims argue from a position based on the Koran, both are tribal and tend to exclude others for not feeling, thinking, or acting like their holy texts dictate.
Mohler epitomizes my favorite problem with Christians. They don’t take responsibility for their own religions past. Mohler rails against Oxford University’s Richard Dawkins for pointing out that at one time Christians burned their own daughters as witches. The most common response to this is “but they were not part of my religion”. They say the same thing about the atrocities of Spanish Inquisition and the repressive history of the Catholic Church. I can go on and on, but why bother?
I know this post is going to incur the wrath of a few friends. They will tell me “we are different”, or “we are the real Christians”, or even better, “we believe in the bible”. As if somehow this makes a difference to me; Christians are Christians. It brings me back to my meandering point. Why do they care what I think? Atheists are few compared to the “unchurched” in America. Atheists are few compared to Islam in America. Why not focus your energy and attention on them?
Of course, we care about what you think, because not too long ago Atheists were burned at the stake too, and we continue to suffer at the hands of Christians today. Come out as an atheist at work and suffer the consequences. Come out as an Atheist in politics and kiss away any hope of public office. Why is this? We often hold high ethical standards and are model citizens, yet because we do no profess faith, we suffer. I have an idea; why not make 2005 the year Christians focus on people who need the attention? (let me give you a hint, it’s not Atheists.)