Confrontational Atheism…My Reason For Reason

8 04 2008

Some people point out that religion isn’t especially relevant to daily life and has little impact on our existence, so why am I such an outspoken atheist?

I could give you a drawn out dissertation on the contrasting utility of reason over faith, but that’s the not it. I could offer you my philosophy that all religion should welcome questions so that they can prove their specific validity over other false faiths, but that isn’t the best answer either. I could even go one further and argue that I secretly wish one of the many religions is actually true and this is just my way of flushing out the one true religion so I don’t waste my time with the bogus ones, but that reason would be lacking.

All those reasons above are in some small way true but the main reason I am such an outspoken atheist is because I can. That answer perhaps sounds a bit glib but in this country the only way to defend your right to free speech is to assert yourself and vigorously exercise that right. You may still think that I am making a spurious point because my freedom of speech is not under attack and that my right to speak as an atheist is secure. I can argue that you would be wrong.

On Wednesday April 2nd there was a hearing where Rob Sherman was challenging the constitutionality of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s questionable $1 million grant for Pilgrim Baptist Church. You can look up the specifics of the hearing and the merits of his argument, but Rep. Monique Davis (D-Chicago) took great offense at his challenge largely because Sherman is an atheist. She then asserted that that his very lack of faith should preclude him from offering his opinion on this issue. Here is the audio of the exchange and I offer an excerpt from the exchange:

Davis: I don’t know what you have against God, but some of us don’t have much against him. We look forward to him and his blessings. And it’s really a tragedy — it’s tragic — when a person who is engaged in anything related to God, they want to fight. They want to fight prayer in school.

I don’t see you (Sherman) fighting guns in school. You know?

I’m trying to understand the philosophy that you want to spread in the state of Illinois. This is the Land of Lincoln. This is the Land of Lincoln where people believe in God, where people believe in protecting their children.… What you have to spew and spread is extremely dangerous, it’s dangerous–

Sherman: What’s dangerous, ma’am?

Davis: It’s dangerous to the progression of this state. And it’s dangerous for our children to even know that your philosophy exists! Now you will go to court to fight kids to have the opportunity to be quiet for a minute. But damn if you’ll go to [court] to fight for them to keep guns out of their hands. I am fed up! Get out of that seat!

Sherman: Thank you for sharing your perspective with me, and I’m sure that if this matter does go to court—

Davis: You have no right to be here! We believe in something. You believe in destroying! You believe in destroying what this state was built upon.

Indeed, this is a precise example of why the founding fathers constructed the legal wall between church and state. Many religious faithful are taught concrete intolerance towards those of other religions perspectives and it is wholly unacceptable to them to respect these points of view. That is a infantile and ignorant point of view that they are entitled to exercise as a private citizen but it is intolerable in a government such as ours. Rep. Davis might find her style of reasoning more acceptable in Iran but not here in this country.

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7 responses

8 04 2008
SuperJesus

I called Rep. Davis’ office (the staffer there was very pleasant) and politely asked her about the feedback that has been coming in on this. Thus far Davis has received calls that are unanimous in condemning her comments. Everyone has been disappointed or outraged and not one call has supported her ignorant outburst.

I would encourage you to very politely call and express your opinion as well. This kind of “leadership” should not go unchallenged. I feel embarrassed for the people of the 27th district and I hope they make a change at their next opportunity.

8 04 2008
ruthrap

Here we go with that politics/religion mix..always spells trouble…the lady was out of line clearly..I don’t know enough about either of these people to comment any futher…but I do see a problem with her inobjectivity. She could stand an attitude ajustment to say the least!

8 04 2008
Chris

I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours. -Stephen Roberts

8 04 2008
Barbara

Wow, I listened to the audio,

“What you have to spew and spread”

“And it’s dangerous for our children to even know that your philosophy exists!”

“You have no right to be here! We believe in something. You believe in destroying! You believe in destroying what this state was built upon.”

Obviously she is in fear and probably doesn’t even know what her fear encompasses other than the fact that he is a non believer. Or even to that extent she says “I don’t know what you have against god”. She doesn’t even really entirely understand what she is so angry about, his lack of belief or that he just doesn’t like god.

The sad thing is though, maybe part of the problem with atheism and the attitude it generates is that as well as being vocal we should be working in our communities to build a better communication so that possibly it will bridge an understanding. You can’t explain things to people unwilling to listen, and they won’t listen if what you represent or how you represent yourself only serves to cause fear, incite or anger them.

9 04 2008
Barbara

I sent an email to Ms. Davis. I think a pretty good one. Not sure that she’ll ever read it, but everyone is getting so mad at her. Unfortunately if people start acting like the inquisition it’s only going to solidify her opinion. I hope more people educate her and don’t re-elect her.

9 04 2008
Jeff

It is the moral responsibility of Atheists to expose religion for the fraud it is.

10 04 2008
Alice

What is of course disturbing here is that she is just spouting rhetoric. This doesn’t seem to be an opinion contrived independently by her, it is one that is continually repeated over and over again by her and her like minded compatriots.

“You believe in destroying what this state was built upon.” <– This argument has been used in multiple forms for so long now. It doesn’t surprise me that one more person is utilizing it now. What is unfortunate about it and about her actions is that it goes against what most states and what this nation was founded upon.

There is a vital reasoning behind separation of church and state, but the laws have become increasingly lax in regards to political monies to religious organizations. I really hope things improve soon.

I hope that the emails and phone calls work and that she learns her mistake. Her beliefs won’t change, but her public behavior should especially when she is in a recorded debate (albeit onsided).

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