I'm an atheist.
It's with some shame that I say this. The shame doesn't come from my non-belief, it comes from the behavior of some of the people and groups who share my non-belief.
Atheism is becoming more than a simple understanding that God doesn't exist. Atheism is being turned into an anti-religious movement. Somewhere, somehow, the atheist movement has picked up the iconoclastic fervor seen only in fundamentalist Islam today.
The group at the vanguard of this growing secular intolerance is the FFRF or the Freedom From Religion Foundation. I would support them if they were serious about actually freeing people trapped in a religion or some crazy sect. They don't go after cases of honour killings or institutionalized abuse, arranged marriages, forced polygamy, genital mutilation, sexual segregation, nothing worthy of real opposition. No. They want to protect my atheist eyes from seeing a religious symbol in public.
The latest victim of iconoclastic fury is directed at a statue of Jesus on a mountain in Montana. The Calgary Sun reports that it was erected in 1955 by World War II veterans who admired similar monuments in the old world. It's kept by the Knights of Columbus who have held a special lease for the memorial since 1953. The FFRF press release claims that its unconstitutional and urges readers to call the US Forest Service to thank them for not renewing the lease for that reason.
While I demand equal treatment under the law for atheists or any other type of believer, I do not subscribe to the idea that a statue can oppress me in any way. It was there before I was born. What right have I as an atheist to remove it? Its there. That's it. What are we the Taliban?
Must we erase everything from the past? Just because I don't believe doesn't mean I can remove the fact that there were war heroes who did believe. They made their mark and passed on. I'd like people a thousand years in the future to know who they were and how they thought.
I fail to understand why people get so bent out of shape about Christian symbols in particular. Could you imagine this selectively righteous group getting so worked up about a Buddha statue? The Calgary Zoo has a Ganesh statue that I quite like. When do you suppose these religious police will save the impressionable youth from the Hindu indoctrination? Its ridiculous on its face. Thousands of children pass that statue every year and I'll wager not a single child was compelled to Hinduism by it. Not a single atheist was offended by it either.
An atheist whizzing past a statue of Jesus on a ski hill is unacceptable to FFRF. Never did they think they required sensitivity training or something. Everyone must go out of their way not to offend poor atheists.
This organization the FFRF is afflicted with what I've come to perceive as Standard Leftist Archetype.
You see atheism doesn't necessarily dictate how an atheist group will conduct themselves. The underlying methodology and ideology is the same as any leftist group you will encounter. You can replace atheist with environmentalist, feminist, separatist, Islamist, anarchist,... you name it.
Key traits are intolerance, revisionism, self-loathing, and top down Stateist solutions to every problem. They are leftists. They are probably funded by leftists. This is the Standard Leftist Archetype to advance a cause. Each cause furthers the goal of systematically dismantling everything that made Western Civilization great.
Ayn Rand was atheist. Bill Maher is an atheist. The fundamental
difference between them, inspiring or insulting respectively, is not
their beliefs but their politics.
Its not atheism itself that is the problem. The left is the problem.