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The giant turd-in-the-punchbowl that was Charlotte Allen's anti-atheist rant has been making the rounds. I decided to write a letter to the editor about it, reworking my previous comments:

I am disappointed in your editorial choice to reprint Charlotte Allen's anti-atheist screed "Atheists: No God, no reason, just anger" in the newspaper this morning. Her complaints add nothing to the discussion of religious pluralism in this country, but instead serve only to highlight her ire and her ignorance. Unreasonable animus toward atheists is perhaps the last socially acceptable prejudice, as Allen's rant clearly demonstrates. Imagine for a moment if Allen had written the following:

"I can't stand Jews -- but it's not because they don't believe in Jesus. It's because they're crashing bores. [...] My problem with Jews is their tiresome -- and way old -- insistence that they are being oppressed and their fixation with the fine points of Christianity."
My problem with theists like Allen is their tiresome--and way old--persecution complex and their fixation on the fine points of everyone else's lives. She complains about "the obsessively tiny range of topics around which atheists circle like water in a drain," but that sounds suspiciously like the projection of a writer whose co-religionists are violently obsessed with women's reproductive choices and LGBT civil rights.

Allen tries to set up a dilemma for atheists: she accuses us of "whining" when we point out their efforts to force their religion into every aspect of our lives, and accuses us of a "frenzied fascination with Christianity and the Bible" if we rebut them with their own texts. I guess what she really wants is for all of us to withdraw silently into a stained-glass closet. Well, guess what? That's not going to happen. We're not going back, and we're not shutting up--if she doesn't like it, she can move to a Christian nation--like Vatican City.

Atheists are not clamoring to replace our nation's motto with "in no gods we trust" or inserting "under no gods" into the Pledge--nor are we interested in regulating anyone's private religious exercise. (We do object, though, to religions co-opting the power of government in support of their beliefs.) The non-religious deserve an equal place at our nation's table, regardless of how much Allen might complain about our tendency to say things to which she objects.

So, theists, how about losing the tired claims of moral superiority and the boring persecution complex and engaging non-believers seriously?

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This page contains a single entry by cognitivedissident published on May 24, 2009 10:55 PM.

PZ Myers responds to Charlotte Allen was the previous entry in this blog.

all the seriousness it deserves is the next entry in this blog.

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