As of late, I have been hearing three common pleadings coming from people of varying points of view, even my fellow atheists. Be diplomatic. Be tolerant. Don’t point fingers. The fact that these admonishments are not just coming from the undiplomatic, intolerant finger pointers that we lovingly refer to as “right wing nut jobs”, but from a few in our own camp is funny, but not “ha ha” funny. More like a Pennywise the Clown funny.
The truth of the matter is that we Freethinkers are, by default, diplomatic and tolerant and generally advocate the right for people to believe what they want, in peace and without interference. Many of us also know, however, that there are times when these attributes are to be cast into the wind, so to speak, and a line in the sand be drawn.
Generally, it is not our modus operandi to start trouble, but we are not likely to turn the other cheek, either. Diplomacy only works when both parties agree to be diplomatic. The religious right, extremists that they are, usually have no interest in being diplomatic when dealing with anyone who does not share their particular brand of <insert revealed religion of choice here>
When they begin a discourse with something similar to “God said it, I believe it, that settles it” (or those exact words, in many cases), there is an immediate breakdown in the likelihood that a reasonable, rational, intelligent and diplomatic conversation is going to take place. Those who believes that their god(s) have given strict, unbending, draconian, bronze-age commands on certain issues put them squarely on the flat, worn out face of the brick-wall of intolerance. Many times these beliefs, indoctrinations and superstitions end up with horrific results against humanity, either directly or indirectly. Then, the finger pointing is not only justified, it should be done with the fervor of a crowd of eight-year-olds pointing out the creepy stranger in the trench coat who suddenly appears with a bag full of candy bars and sticky hands. The lack of diplomacy and intolerance should be as zealous as the parents who catch him.
I’ve got permanent palm prints on my face from my own hands as a result of being told by some of these kooks that, under no uncertain terms, they believe that:
- Homosexuals should be killed
- Cross-dressers should be killed
- Adulterers should be killed
- Members of other religions should be killed
- Members of no religions should be killed
- Children should be beaten with sticks
- Television is the gateway to hell
- The Internet is the gateway to hell
- The movies are the gateway to hell
- Women are the gateway to hell
- Dead babies will burn in hell forever
- Mentally ill people will burn in hell forever
- People who drink alcohol will burn in hell forever
- People who drink coffee or tea will burn in hell forever
- Eating certain foods will send you to burn in hell forever
- Everyone “else” will burn in hell forever
- A blood transfusion will get you and your soul annihilated
- Women should not be allowed to own property
- Women should not be allowed to vote
- Women should stay at home and have babies
- Women should always be submissive to their husbands
- A husband has the right to beat his wife
- A husband has the right to rape his wife
- A husband has the right to have more than one wife
- A husband has the right to a pre-pubescent wife
- Pedophilia by the clergy is the fault of atheists and secularists
- Obama is the Anti-Christ and should be destroyed
- The United States was founded as a Christian Nation
- The <insert holy book version> is the only true word of god
- The earth is 6000 years old and Satan just made everything look a lot older
- The earth is 6000 years old and god just made everything look a lot older
- Evolution was invented by Satan and evolutionists worship him
- Members of other religions are insane and suffering from delusion
- Members of no religion are insane and suffering from delusion
- There is no such thing as mental illnesses; it is just the results of living in sin
- Only god and faith can be trusted for healing (thousands of children die each year as a result)
- The earth is really flat (yes, these people still exist)
- Black people are cursed by god to forever be servants and slaves
- Some people should be burned alive
- Some people should be tortured, then burned alive
- If their god tells them to kill strangers, they are compelled to obey
- If their god tells them to kill their friends, they are compelled to obey
- If their god tells them to kill their family, they are compelled to obey
- If their god tells them to kill someone for drawing a harmless cartoon, they are compelled to obey
- If their god tells them to kill themselves in the process, they are compelled to obey
I think you get my drift. Now, mind you, there are very few people who hold ALL of these to be commands from their god, as they represent a few different religions. However, while holding any one of these beliefs signifies a possible breakdown of the ability for rational thought, there are some sects and cults of both Christianity and Islam who can claim most of these as part of their dogma. Too many of them, in fact, and some of them are considered mainstream. Many of the people who hold a significant amount of these beliefs currently occupy seats in the United States Senate and House of Representatives, key White House cabinet positions and a couple have recently held the office of the President. Worse yet, there are hundreds of thousands of them who hold local offices, are teaching in our public schools, are responsible for the careers of subordinates and walk around with guns and badges. The number of people who hold many of these beliefs that are in our military is simply frightening, because they hold positions all the way up to the rank of General.
It is toward these people that many of us non-theists draw the line of diplomacy and tolerance, and where we insist on pointing a finger in the direction it belongs. The unwillingness of the extreme right wing, ultra-conservative Christian/Muslim to budge from their positions and beliefs, no matter how many times they have been proved utterly and incontrovertibly wrong, predicates the need for being decidedly undiplomatic in our discourses and intolerant of their intolerance.
I have received a fair share of admonishments from fellow unbelievers about my polemic attitude toward these nut jobs. Some of them still believe that it does more damage than good to hold the positions that I do, and that my attitude does not engender in these whackos a desire and willingness for them to listen to our side of the discussion. Well, they are right. However, what they fail to understand is the immense size of the fuck that I do not give. When it comes to these people, I see no other way to communicate with them. Look, I interact with perfectly normal believers all day long. My wife is a Christian, my niece is a Muslim and in the mix are Jews, Deists and even a Buddhist or two, and I’ve got news for my fellow diplomatically minded atheists, most of them are just as equally fed up with these denizens of douchebaggery as we are.
So, if you say it is not fair to be undiplomatic, intolerant or to point fingers at these people, I say to you, tough shit. I am not out to win a Nobel Peace prize, nor am I out to make friends with anyone who holds the items I listed above as truth. I don’t give one, single iota of credibility to their beliefs and I will continue to make it my mission in life to make it as difficult as I possibly can for them to be perceived as anywhere near resembling normal people.
They are dangerous, ignorant, uneducated, hate-filled, narrow-minded, bigoted, intolerant, self-righteous fucking idiots that have been brainwashed into believing that committing some of the most horrific acts of inhumanity toward their fellow men, women and children are the want, will, desire and command of their sick, twisted, perverted, megalomaniac prick of deity.
Those who think that these whackos deserve to be treated diplomatically or with any tolerance for their beliefs, or who think that their points of view even deserve to be included as equal in any sense of the word with rational, reasonable discourse are hereby invited to collectively kiss my atheist ass.