Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Atheists Making Atheists Look Bad

Atheists are already a despised minority here in America, to the point that many people are afraid to even admit to atheism, for fear of job loss or other repercussions. As an atheist, I find it particularly irritating when groups claiming to represent atheists take unnecessary public positions that accomplish nothing other than stirring up more dislike for all of us. Consider the picture below. This is a a new street sign in Brooklyn, honoring seven firefighters killed on 9/11. The name "Seven in Heaven" is how they are referred to locally. Some New York atheists objected, and their objection was seconded by American Atheists. Here's part of the American Atheist statement on their blog.
A street has been named for them which, unfortunately, encroaches unnecessarily on the separation of Church and State. ... Named “Seven in Heaven Way”, the street uses the tragedy of 911 to legitimize Christianity by asserting that Heaven is a real place, and that all these heroes are actually there.
I've seen some stupid and counterproductive claims by atheist groups before, but this one has to be the most idiotic. These people are just looking for something to offend them. The idea that a sign saying "seven in heaven," a phrase that can be interpreted metaphorically and which refers to no specific religion, is some sort of violation of church state separation is utterly ludicrous. Making such a claim against an innocuous memorial street sign not only promotes hostility toward atheists, but undermines the credibility of both the New York atheist group and American Atheists. The next time either organization has a legitimate case against a real violation of church state separation, it will be easy for opponents to dismiss them as extremists nuts who want to ban public use of words with any religious connotations.

7 comments:

  1. There are better fights to fight than this one. A really good ad campaign is the "... and I'm a Mormon." Youtube shorts. Of course, I disagree with the LDS, but the ads are great.

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  2. SteveBrooklineMAJune 22, 2011 at 8:52 AM

    Very well said!

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  3. SteveBrooklineMAJune 22, 2011 at 8:59 AM

    Up next, American Athiests demand renaming of Saint Paul, Minnesota. The capital of Minesota! The very capital!!

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  4. If their is one thing we should learn from 9/11 it is to question religion at every turn. If we don't another 9/11 may be around the corner. So I say the atheist are doing the right thing as christians will always say it is not the right time to question their religion anyway.

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  5. Meh. This isn't hurting atheism. I support any show of back bone on this issue, regardless of the circumstances. The religious dismiss us anyway, regardless of this case, and it can't be "used" against anyone. If religion has taught us nothing, it's the phrase, "That is a small, extreme minority doing that, not the average X."

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  6. Regardless of where you are on the claim that heaven is a real place, this is a piece of bad publicity for atheists. Pick your fights. Seven in Heaven has a nice melancholy poetic ring that Seven Five Feet Under does not.

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  7. Mucho medio ateo leo yo por aquí.
    Ateos con síndrome de estocolmo que atacan a los ateos.

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