Muslim extremists are so convinced that nonbelievers are going to Hell that they helpfully hasten infidels’ brimstoned journeys by hacking off their heads.
Christian fundamentalists call on the Prince of Peace to strike down homosexuals while they scream in the faces of parents who buried their murdered children. Zionists kill Muslims who are living on Palestinian land and raise the Torah in defense. Hindu radicals bomb mosques, and the Taliban cuts off girls’ noses for simply learning how to read. For as long as there have been theists there have been fanatics. And now atheists are getting in on the act.
Non-believers have been around as long as believers, yet because of fear of social alienation, or worse, they’ve chosen to read their Bertrand Russell books in coffee shops amongst their own ilk and not ruffle too many feathers. When the founder of American Atheists, Madalyn O’Hair, first appeared on the Phil Donahue Show in 1967 (and many times thereafter) discussing why she didn’t believe in a god, she was perceived as a threat — and an evil one, at that. And the organization that O’Hair founded has, over the years, become increasingly emboldened by a society that has grown somewhat more accepting. And now they are demanding to sup at the same table as their belligerent theistic brethren.
The American Atheists organization has for decades shown nothing but haughty disdain not just for religions in general but toward the religious themselves. Theirs is little more than a crusade in reverse and they’re as fired up as a hyperventilating preacher in a tent revival.
This election season, one of the very few things that’s garnered bi-partisan consensus is a united disapproval of the atheistic organization’s two new billboards going up next month in Charlotte, North Carolina, prior to the Democratic National Convention. And it seems Christian zealots actually have a tenuous alliance with American Atheists, in denying that Mormons are Christians – a fact made clear by the organization’s separate billboards for Christians and members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. (These same billboards will not, however, be seen in Tampa, Florida, during the Republican National Convention as requests by American Atheists to purchase space was denied.)
American Atheists’ culture of intolerance is as embarrassing to moderate agnostics and “non-believers,” as Westboro Baptist Church members are to moderate Christians. The organization’s cri du coeur that atheists and agnostics should be respected and come out of one of the last remaining metaphorical closets is a valid one, but aggressively disrespecting others’ for their beliefs is detrimental to their own cause. After all, the belief that there is no god is also a belief.