As a young atheist, I kept my opinion to myself. I even hung out with a Lutheran student group at the university campus because I enjoyed the company. What I thought was a noble notion – keeping my irreligion to myself – was shattered through a knowledge of the existence of religiots such as Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, Oral Roberts, Jim and Tammy Fae Baker, etc. The never-ending Parade of Fools continues with the likes of Ann Coulter and Bill Donohue. Many people think that the so-called ‘new atheism’ (What the hell is that? Is there some new way to not be superstitious?) is some spontantaneous phenomenon that has arisen without cause.
Nothing could be further from the truth. We atheists have been around a long time, but we have respected – wrongly, it turns out – the holding of superstitious beliefs. Now these superstitions, which should have remained private and without recognition by state institutions, are affecting public policy with potentially (and, in many cases, already) disastrous and deadly results. We can no longer afford to remain silent when religion is not only being accommodated but is becoming a factor in decisions affecting everyone in which it has no business. The idea that Religion has something relevant to say on matters of public policy or law is smoke and mirrors and its adherents display such abject ignorance that can only be described as inexcusable and repugnant.
I can not stress this in stronger terms: This is wrong. This is unethical. This is immoral. Holding secularism as a virtue is the only sensible course a society can take without it tearing apart at the seams.
Perhaps the ‘new atheism’ does have one thing actually new to offer – demolishing the concept that Religion is immune from criticism. It is time to end this political correctness, draw back the curtain and expose religion for what it is: a load of harmful superstitious nonsense. Time to take off the kid gloves….