Saturday, September 29, 2012

No, I will not sit down and shut up!

Last night, a religious commenter on a thread on Facebook made the following statement in response to my comments about the Pledge of Allegiance:
“You know what, get over it. If you don't like the way something looks, don't look at it, if you don't like what someone is saying, don't listen. Just because a handful of people "may" get offended, don't ruin it for everyone else.“
In other words, sit down and shut up.

You know what?  No.  I will not shut up. Atheists have been shutting up for centuries just to save their lives, their jobs and often the lives of their families as well.  Christians have burned us at the stake, thrown us out of our jobs, refused to rent to us, and so badly demonized us that most Americans still won’t vote for an atheist running for public office.

Today, the latest polls showed us (the non-religious) as being as many as 15% of the population.  That is in an atmosphere of intolerance and intimidation, where most atheists won’t admit it, still in fear of losing jobs, friends and family.  I’d bet that the official figures are half the reality.  But even if they aren’t, we are, in numbers, greater than the muslim, jewish, hindu or buddhists - combined!

In recent years, we’ve gotten tired of sitting down and shutting up.  With these numbers, we are beginning to stand up and be counted, and that is what scares people like the commenter last night.  So, I’ve got news for her:
“Once social change begins it cannot be reversed.  You cannot un-educate the person who has learned to read.  You can not humiliate the person who feels pride.  You can not oppress the people who are not afraid any more.”  Cesar Ch├ívez
Atheists are not as afraid as we used to be.  We are learning to support one another.  We are getting the word out that there are others like us who can and will help and support other atheists to stand up for their rights.

Those rights are all we want.  The right to be ourselves without having to pretend to be something we aren’t, just to keep our jobs.  The right to get involved in the political process and have our views listened to and discussed, even if not completely accepted.  We want the rest of the country to begin following the law and stop pushing their religion on us with our own tax money.

We are not trying to prevent you from having the same rights.  You’ve just been abusing those rights and laws by doing things which are blatantly illegal and unconstitutional.  All we want you to do is to stop the illegal stuff and accept that your rights aren’t above and superior to the rest of us.

So, read this comment again:
“You know what, get over it. If you don't like the way something looks, don't look at it, if you don't like what someone is saying, don't listen.”
Lady, listen to your own words, and pay heed to them, or in other words, “physician, heal thyself”.  You are living in a multi-cultural world.   

They used to call the US a melting pot, but it is really more like a vegetable soup.  While each ingredient adds its own unique flavor to the soup, it still retains its own character while absorbing some of the flavors of the other ingredients.  Tolerance is a necessary and useful skill in a multi-cultural society.

So, get used to it, we atheists are here to stay (we’re finally coming out of the closet), and we are not going to be quiet anymore.  

I am not sorry to change the flavor of our soup.


Anonymous said...

Jesus didn't sit down and shut up either, He stood up to the devil, He laid down and died for your sins then He rose up in victory. Bless you friend, you may not understand God and mock His existence but His love for you will never change. Don't spend eternity regretting this blog and your hardness of heart. Repent and be saved. Take care friend. xx

Robert Ahrens said...

I "understand" god just fine. I used to be a christian, got to where I understood him better, and dropped it. I don't mock his existence, I don't BELIEVE he does. How can I mock something that doesn't exist?

I've nothing to regret.