The Democratic National Convention will open next week with an interfaith gathering. Representatives from Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and other faiths will be there.
No atheists, though.
We weren’t invited.
The Secular Coalition for America has tried to persuade Convention CEO Leah Daughtry to allow atheists to be a part of the gathering, but to no avail.
“Atheists speaking at an interfaith service… does that work?” a “befuddled” Daughtry was quoted as asking in a July 19 story by the AP’s Eric Gorski. “I don’t quite know. But they’re part of the party, you treat them with respect.”
The first sign that treating them with respect was not a priority for Daughtry was her lumping all notheists who include not only agnostics but also humanists, skeptics, and believers in spirit but not a personal god into atheists.
And the second came with the announcement of the lineup for what had once been thought of as a “values” and a “unity” event: no one represents the millions of secularists. Daughtry: “Democrats have been, are and will continue to be people of faith – and this interfaith gathering is proof of that.”
But what about those Democrats who are not “people of faith?” Are they not invited? Or invited just to watch others pray? Should their own outlook not even be acknowledged?
If the Democrats are trying to strike unifying chords among their entire kaleidoscopic range of liberals, moderates, and progressives, it should be obvious that secularists cannot dare be left out of the “big tent” event, and that it should be about beliefs and values, not solely about religion.
This opinion piece in the Colorado Springs Gazette begs to differ. In the process, it shows incredible ignorance regarding atheists as a whole… as well as why the writers think atheists should not be invited to the DNC:
A few atheists have their panties in a twist once again, this time fussing that an atheist leader wasn’t invited to speak at an Aug. 24 interfaith service that’s part of the Democratic National Convention.
… an amazing number of atheists have taken to confronting and insulting believers of other religions. They pretend that atheist beliefs are proven true, while others are proven false. They refer to other religions as “irrational,” and “superstitious.” Their approach to ministry is overbearing and rude. They engage in confrontation, with disregard for persuasion. It’s as if they’ve watched too much “American Idol,” where Simon Cowell briefly made it hip to be the bully.
A few short comments about that excerpt and a few others in the piece before my head explodes:
Atheists do not say “There is no God” as if it were a proven fact. We say we do not believe in a God.
Atheists do not claim “absolute knowledge” as the article states. Which, incidentally, is a different view from a religious person who “knows” God exists despite any physical evidence.
The article says PZ Myers “stole and destroyed the Catholic Eucharist,” when in fact, someone sent him a cracker which was handed out for free.
The writers of the piece are taking the actions of a few atheists and generalizing them for everyone.
The Secular Coalition for America has no intention of going to the DNC and starting shit with the other faiths. We just want to be included among those with religious beliefs. It’s a matter of respect and awareness. Not hostility.
The Gazette piece gets worse. Note this particular juxtaposition:
Hitler imagined a world without Jews. The Freedom From Religion Foundation rented a billboard near the Colorado Convention Center that says: “Imagine No Religion.”
Are you fucking kidding me?!
Since when are words on a billboard the equivalent of killing 6,000,000 Jews?
They go on to write about what would happen in a religion-less world — apparently, there would be more Pol Pots, more Stalins, far fewer charities, no Golden Rule, and we’d be rid of most hospitals and great universities.
As I read that, I wanted to respond to each point separately… and then I read the end of the piece:
Democrats will nominate a Christian gentleman who respects others. It’s likely they didn’t invite atheists to their faith service because they didn’t want embarrassing guests. Atheists might bring pseudointellectual proselytizers, who are intolerant, self-aggrandizing and rude. Atheists should fund universities and hospitals. They should feed and clothe starving kids. They should act more like Christians and Jews. If they do some of that — if they contribute to a diverse humanity — they might get better party invites.
I know you’ve heard this before… but you replace “atheist” with “Muslim” in that paragraph and lots of people would be out of a job.
As it stands, there’s not much reaction from anyone.