At Least We’re Not Like the Baptists… June 28, 2011

At Least We’re Not Like the Baptists…

I know we have sexism problems in our own movements — women aren’t always treated with respect and I’ve been to conferences that feature a dearth of female speakers. But because of people speaking out against this kind of thing, I have hopes we’ll get better in time.

All that said, at least we’re not as bad as some Baptist groups:

Apparently, women and non-white people aren’t qualified to speak about the Bible. Were they even considered…?

Note to all conference planners (atheists or Christians): Learn a lesson from the James Randi Education Foundation. This is the kind of diversity you ought to shoot for at your events.

(via Stuff Fundies Like)


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  • We’re still fairly white, but we’re getting more diversity and prominent non-white names are getting out there. I’m happy to see almost equal representation of men and women!

  • That second one is in Walkertown, NC, about 15 miles from where I grew up in Winston-Salem. Yikes.

  • I’m more annoyed by the use of the prefixed “Doctor”. Hey, look, he has a doctorate in completely made-up nonsense! Amazing.

  • Robin

    Oh wow, they’re also all “Doctors” — fancy that.

  • I wonder if the deaf interpreter is male. If not, wouldn’t that amount to allowing a woman to “teach”?

  • Do we have to drag race into this? After all, Sam Davison is listed as a “Bro.” (I know, he looks white, but maybe he has that same skin condition Michael Jackson did.)

    And they called their conference “Sword of the Lord.” That’s really quite funny.

  • Fredvegas

    1 timothy 2:12, amiright?

  • Claudia

    As one of the people who does complain about sexism within the community, I do want to note that OF COURSE we’re better than most theist communities (though I’m guessing Unitarian Universalists are just fine).

    Those posters are funny and illustrative. However if you REALLY want a shocker, I suggest interviewing these guys about their views on the roles of women.

    An interesting thing is that I’d bet you anything that they would vehemently deny any kind of race prejudice. Yet churches are just about the most segregated part of America. It’s interesting that while fundamentalist pastors will openly talk about the place of women (i.e under the man) they will simultaneously talk about how God loves all his children…to their all-white or all-black congregations.

  • Shannon

    The line up of speakers for the James Randi Education Foundation event looks absolutely phenomenal! I want to move in just so I can hear them all speak everyday

  • Funny that you post this and then a minute or two later I see this study:on more women making your team smarter

  • Allen

    As a minority atheist/skeptic, I don’t think this is something we can claim superiority in yet. Sure, maybe these two examples support your case, but on the few occasions I’ve trekked out to National Capital Area Skeptics (NCAS) events, I’ve felt a bit out of place surrounded by all the older white gentlemen. Don’t get me wrong, they’re nice and welcoming, but the group just isn’t very diverse.

  • Will

    “doctors” my ass.

  • “Apparently, women and non-white people aren’t qualified to speak about the Bible.”

    Duh, ‘we’ all know that Jesus, if dude ever existed, was white w/blues eyes..and spoke english. right.

    Kriss

  • Pureone

    What I find interesting are the groups where the members overwhelmingly comprise one gender, and rely on that and being “eye candy”. Take for example the feminist group Femen. (warning: Google leads to NSFW). Having a bunch of dudes having a topless protest sorta loses the umpf of the protest.

  • I’m more than aware that some men can be pigs, not matter what their belief system may be, however…
    Are some of us really asserting that women speakers are actively discouraged from participation in or are being turned away from atheist conventions and similar engagements? Really? Is there any documented, physical evidence to substantiate these claims?
    If this is not what is being claimed, then what is the real problem and what can be done aside from actively encouraging more women to participate? Should men bribe them? Should advertisements for women leaders, authors and speakers be placed? Maybe free-thinkers should just hold conventions for women and forbid men from participating?
    I’ve seen this topic cussed and discussed ad nauseam on this and other blogs, but there seems to be no general consensus except that white males are generally bad, racist, sexist pigs and that there is an effort (perhaps even a genetically driven, subconscious one) to hold women and other minorities back. For the record, I’m hardly lily white. 🙂
    If anyone was to try to convince me that sexism isn’t alive and well in the USA, I’d tell them they’re full of shit. My three sisters, daughter, ex-wife and current wife experience it often enough in their respective jobs for me to state with confidence that it is still a huge problem in this country. However, when it comes to making an issue out of gender equality in free-thought organizations, I fear we may be making a mountain out of a molehill. Yes, it’s important to be vigilant, but it’s far easier to see an evil bogeyman hiding around every corner than to be fair, objective and self-critical. Playing the victim requires little thought and going along with the game requires little backbone. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar and perhaps less women participate in these events because less women are currently inclined to participate in these events. Perhaps.
    I could be wrong, but until someone produces statistical evidence to prove otherwise, I’ll go with my own life experiences and personal knowledge. I simply ask that those who claim to the contrary to at least entertain the remote possibility that they might be wrong.
    Maybe these events/conventions only appear to be less women friendly and women just need to jump in with both feet, so to speak.
    Ladies, if men don’t respond to complaints, then by all means, grab them by the balls, give ’em a twist and push your way in. Men aren’t going to solve your problems and few will respond well to whining. You need to take what is yours and you give men too much credit for being able to hold you back…at least in THIS country and in this day and age. Your time has come. I raised my daughter to be strong and I’m glad I did. She knows that some men can be pigs, but that knowledge doesn’t stop her from pushing forward and she doesn’t use it as an excuse for failure.

  • Claudia

    @The Godless Monster, I’ll make this brief because I’d frankly prefer to focus on the overt, clownish sexism of fundamentalists today rather than the comparably much tamer version in atheists. You can read the links Hemant left, or also watch this and certainly this (not strictly related, but well worthwhile). Personally I find the vehement denials and over-the-top attacks on women who mention being bothered by percieved sexism as itself illustrative of the problem. Though many people engage constructively, there’s always a “STFU and stop being such a whiny bitch” wing that constitutes much of the problem. I somehow suspect that if a gay person were to mention finding homophobia in the community they would be listened to more attentively and not have their feelings dismissed out of hand by so many. It mystifies me as to why the nonbeliever community is so friggen awesome about LGBT issues and not quite there yet with issues of sexism.

    (So that was my definition of “brief”, we now resume our regular scheduled fundie-bashing).

  • Trace

    well, one surname sounds French,two Italian and a few others could be German.

    Does that count for diversity?

  • OneTrueKinsman

    Wait a minute? I don’t see Fred Phelps on the roster? Isn’t he ‘one of them’?

    For those of you surprised by the title ‘Dr.’…don’t you know there is such a profession as doctor of crapology?

  • @Claudia,
    My approach was not dogmatic in the least. I’m always open to discussion and new ways of approaching problems.
    Please point out the “vehement denials and over-the-top attacks on women” in my comment. I’m inclined to think that mere disagreement with you is enough for you to accuse me of sexism. I communicated myself clearly and respectfully, never once indicating that women should STFU. This is quite an unfair and nasty characterization of me and my position.
    To the contrary, I believe in the empowerment of women. I just don’t think that men (or any dominant group) are inclined to give up power without a fight or struggle. If you wish to argue with the historical record, be my guest, but I respectfully submit that history supports my position better than yours.
    Men are the problem, so I don’t see them as being the solution as you apparently do. I see empowered women as being the solution.
    TGM

  • Claudia

    Please point out the “vehement denials and over-the-top attacks on women” in my comment.

    Oy, I didn’t want to get into it not to lengthen the comment, but another thing that makes the conversation difficult is people interpreting objections as personally directed at them i.e “Women are told to STFU” — “How dare you accuse me of telling you tu STFU?!”

    I was not referring to you personally. If you’ll read the comment again, you’ll notice I talked of “vehement denials” towards “women”. None of that was directed at you in particular, whom I disagreed with partially but didn’t find disagreeable. It’s partly my fault, since I know that those kinds of misinterpretations are rampant in this sort of discussion. Cheers.

  • Hey, Dr. Lou Rossi looks like he could at least be…. Italian…?!

  • Jon

    Hemant,

    It seems like you are concerned more about forced statistical diversity, rather than actual, realistic diversity. It’s not surprising that this Baptist (nor any other Baptist group) has a group of male speakers leading their conference, after all it’s in Christianity. Also, most Baptists DO tend to be WASPS, no surprise there either.

    The Baptist conferences you’ve pointed out probably aren’t the misogynistic, anti-diversity crowd you make it out to be. I can only speak for Hagerstown, MD being that it is on the PA border. Have you ever been to Hagerstown, MD? Seriously, the only diversity you’ll find there are different shades of white people. It’s country man.

    I know you claim to be all about equality, but your implied misandric, anglophobic platitudes are getting old.

    I can sense white people across the nation, especially white males, getting sick and tired of being the only race group capable of being racist.

  • @Jon,

    “I can sense white people across the nation, especially white males, getting sick and tired of being the only race group capable of being racist.”

    I fee your pain and definitely get where you are coming from, but the fact remains that a certain demographic (WASPs)has an inordinate amount of influence on what does (or doesn’t) go on in the USA. According to our Constitution, it’s not about the protection of the majority opinion, but of the minority position. Somehow, somewhere, that whole concept has been lost on much of the population and that’s dangerous.
    It’s also a fact that many Christian sects are,indeed sexist, but that, of course is not limited to the white race.
    If one looks at the role that many (both male and female)in the African American community have played in vigorously opposing gay and secular rights, it’s obvious that the problem is not one of race (or sex) alone.
    No single demographic has a monopoly on stupidity or evil.

  • Nicoline

    Come on, Hemant, that’s a cheap shot. You know how they can throw around all kinds of bible verses to say that women are second-class citizens. They’ve done from the first century CE onward, so it’s not really a surprise. Anyway, as long as there’s sometimes still a “dearth of female speakers” at atheist conferences, we should be the last ones to throw stones.

  • Flah the Heretic Methodist

    I’m a firm fan of Stuff Fundies Like — Darrell is awesome. Trust me, this is tame. The interview with participants of the marriage seminar was the most revealing. No women talked during the interviews; the husbands did all the talking, the women nodded. Remember, this is not just Baptist, but IFB: Independent Fundamental Baptist. It is white male run. The end.

  • I think I solved it. The answer is that there is only one speaker at the National Sword of the Lord Conference. Those pictures are actually a time series picture of him morphing between phenotypes. Who ever the speaker really is all I can say is that he is a mutant, with the ability to shift shapes into any middle-age, slightly-over-weight balding white male. Here’s the proof.

  • Eric

    I know some people who were forced to go to Elementary school at Gospel Light (The Sword of the Lord Banner). The pre-school I attended was affiliated with them. Some of the staff where I attended pre-school were very racist, defending slavery with the story of Ham, and sexism/subservience of women with old testament verses. This doesn’t surprise me in the least. First nails in the coffin of my faith. Thank “God” for such bigoted people, in that they make the path much more clear for the rest of us.

  • Carlie

    Godless Monster, this has been talked to death. Go Google it. PZ Myers has talked about it, Jen McCreight has talked about it, Rebecca Watson has talked about it, Greta Christina has talked about it, there are literally tens of posts and thousands of comments already. Read up on what’s already out there before thinking you’re the first person to spout your ideas.

  • @Carlie,
    I actually have several businesses and a household to run, so I don’t have the luxury of perusing every blog online on every subject. I’m a grown-up!
    Get it? Got it? Good.
    In addition, I never stated once that I was the first to have any particular opinion.
    Point out exactly where I stated that and I’ll arrange to vigorously osculate your posterior while being filmed and post it on YouTube.
    You’re either a silly kid or your life must indeed be pathetic.

  • Carlie

    The Godless Monster,
    No, my life isn’t pathetic, which is why I wonder how it is that you seem to discount everyone else’s time so much as to ask them to hand you everything pre-digested in a silver spoon.

    I could be wrong, but until someone produces statistical evidence to prove otherwise, I’ll go with my own life experiences and personal knowledge.

    The information is there. If you want to be educated, read it. Why is it not worth your time to seek it out, but it ought to be worth some stranger’s time to present it to you?

    Maybe these events/conventions only appear to be less women friendly and women just need to jump in with both feet, so to speak.

    And the women who have been to these conventions have already put in a lot of time to write extensively about their experiences. If you were interested, you’d read what they have to say.

    Try here for why your attitude is so tiring.

  • Vystrix Nexoth

    Godless Monster: You have the luxury of not having to understand these things. Society grants you that because you’re male. We do not.

    If you had the same intelligence, work ethic, personality, and so on, basically the same person with the same merits and value, but happened to be female instead of male by sheer chance, do you think you’d be the head of any household, or of several businesses, without having to work even harder than you already have? Would you trust your family members, employees and business partners to all take you just as seriously and be just as respectful of you and your merits?

    Your time is valuable. In the time you’ve spent nitpicking at responders and defending your ignorance, you could have been fixing your ignorance, such as by watching the videos Claudia linked to upthread, or adding another blog to the one(s) you already read. Then, the time you spend in these threads might be spent more productively.

    You don’t have to. Like I said, you have that luxury. But if you won’t, then you don’t get to demand to be taken seriously in this thread.

  • Jill

    Highlighting 2 posters that happen to have all white men is a pretty small sample. From what I remember from statistics in grad school, without an adequate sample, your results can be very skewed. I, although this is just antedotal, have know many people of many races and ethnicities to hold to a variety of religious and non-religious views and could hypothesize that I could find 2 posters, or even more, of black men holding Christian conferences.

  • @Vystrix Nexoth,
    Let me clarify a few things. By running a household, I mean literally running the household. I do ALL the shopping, cooking, cleaning, etc. Why? My wife works in a CPA firm and I work from home. She makes twice what I make and I’m not the least bit threatened by it. In fact, I busted my ass and supported her while she went to school. During my first marriage I raised my two children almost entirely on my own. I changed all the diapers, cooked all the meals, worked OUTSIDE of the home (midnights) and ran a home based business during the day.
    Despite the fact that you and a few others absolutely NEED to portray me as some sort of Neanderthal, the facts (once more) get in the way. I acknowledged sexual discrimination at least twice in my initial comment, yet you accuse me of dismissing the problem. Your desire to besmirch my rep doesn’t erase or nullify what I wrote. Facts are a real nuisance, aren’t they?
    As to the videos you and the others mentioned, I subscribe to them!!! I’ve already seen them. what I’d like to know is how could you assume to know if I’ve seen them or not. Can you read minds? Are you are omniscient? You should introduce yourself to Carlie. She’s a mind reader as well. She knows exactly what I was thinking, or at least that’s what she wrote.
    As far as society granting me something because I’m male, I don’t deny that. I also don’t deny that society granted me numerous violent physical assaults my entire life, lost job opportunities and going through all kinds of hell because of my Arab ethnicity. As a female in the Western world, tell me…how many broken bones did you suffer because of discrimination? Shattered teeth? Dislocated jaw? Ever been called something akin to sand nigger? Ever been spat on for being born female? Ever lose a government secret clearance because you were a woman?
    I’ve endured all this shit and much, much more and I still cannot bring myself to hate WASPs, yet some here really seem to have it in for men in general. I find the generalizations to be ignorant, immature, nasty and mean-spirited. It also betrays a certain degree of fear and weakness and I find it pathetic in the extreme. My daughter is a feminist and she has called me out on sexist behavior and I’ve taken the criticism for what it’s worth and learned and grown as a person. When I’m being an idiot, I’ll own up to it, but I’m not going to take the rap for something I didn’t say or imply.
    I might be male, but I bleed just as much as you do and I’ve dealt with discrimination on a scale that most people in the civilized world have not.
    Not all people are bad or privileged, etc. solely by virtue of belonging to one particular group or another. Life is much more complex than you make it out to be.

  • Ron in Houston

    Damn Hemant – don’t you realize that the only thing keeping you from being the poster child for the Baptist evil atheist poster child is that you’re male.

    Brown skin – check clearly not one of us – he can’t be a true Christian. Must be one of those closet Muslims or even worse a Jain whatever those are.

    Not a “true Christian” – check – He actually has compassion for those evil sodomites.

    Immigrant – clearly one of those anchor babies destined to undermine what’s great about the USA.

    See, you’re screwed. If only you were female then you could join Greta Christina as one of the poster children for “evil atheists.”

  • NotYou007

    I’m willing to bet that their wives do everything they are told.

    I’ve been accused of being a sexist asshole on this board for stating that the woman in The Tutor videos is hot and she is but I would love for those same women that accused me of being a sexist asshole spend a week with any of the men that are going to speak at their event.

    I will rub your feet after a long day. I will cook you dinner and then wash the dishes. I will make the bed and clean the toilet. I will call you for no reason at all and tell you I love and that tonight you don’t have to worry about the kids.

    I doubt any of those men in the above picture would ever do the same but I’m a sexist assshole for stating another woman is hot.

    Take your pick ladies.

  • Richard Wade

    The second one is held at the Gospel Light Baptist Church. Is that like Miller Light?

    “Gospel Light. Sounds great, less filling.”

  • Why do they need a conference? Are they going to add to the Bible?

  • Claudia

    @Carlie, that is a great link. I see a huge number of behaviors I recognize from theists when dealing with atheists and men dealing with women. I’ve favorited it to keep it handy (and to watch myself lest I fall into bad habits on issues of race, since in that sense I am “Privileged®”).

  • Claudia

    “Gospel Light. Sounds great, less filling.”

    Yes, and just as healthy as the full Gospel.