Saturday, August 09, 2014

Thought crimes and the Atheist Movement

One of my pet peeves with religion is the social pressure focused on thought crime. It’s an ugly aspect of repression normally associated with those I rail against. In fact, it was one of the things that drove me away from organized religion. I am sad to say that I see the concept working in the Atheist Movement by way of killing creativity and free expression. Hemanat Mehta recently launched a book idea via Kickstarter that was based on the premise the God is like an abuse boyfriend. People who had been in an abusive relationship complained, so Hemanat, caving to social pressure, killed the book project. When one is not allowed to be creative and explore the concept God as an abuse partner in a one-sided relationship, well… we all lose.

I get this a lot in the photography community. I like to take photos of homeless men and women. I feel it helps draw attention to their plight. A very vocal photography subgroup opposes photographing the homeless on the grounds that is exploitive and demeaning. If fact, they aggressively assert that I should stop my activities and choose other subjects, as long as those other subjects do not include kids, police, government buildings, pornography and, well just about anything you want to list. Even attempting to take these photos are objectionable. I listen to their concerns and assert my own position, a position that is often in conflict with a lots of other people. What I do with my camera helps shine a light on a part of society that is shunned or ignored by others. Good things have come of it. I am proud of my work.

What I’ve noticed is that because of the complaints of others, I’m constantly questioning myself and self editing. I ask myself, “Is this right?” Creativity is not a crime, nor is it wrong to explore that nature of religion via the metaphor of an abuse relationship.

Props to Atheist Revolution for getting me thinking about this subject. The sarcastic, Time for Reeducation Camps made my day.