If you must exist, do it in private

Greta Christina points out what I’m always noticing – that there’s a mob of people out there calling atheists every kind of name and it’s pretty much always just for existing. The mob says it’s for being shrill strident mean fundamentalist rude zealous you can finish the song, but in fact by “shrill strident mean fundamentalist rude zealous” they really just mean atheist, period. Don’t ask don’t tell, know what I mean? The only decent atheist is a secret atheist.

And if these op-ed pieces and whatnot were all you knew about the atheist movement and the critiques of it, you might think that atheists were simply being asked to be reasonable, civil, and polite.But if you follow atheism in the news, you begin to see a very different story.

You begin to see that atheists are regularly criticized — vilified, even — simply for existing.

Or, to be more accurate, for existing in the open. For declining to hide our atheism. For coming out.

Quite. Mind you, some of the people who go in for this here vilification like to say that they have masses of examples of atheist evilness, but also that they don’t want to provide it, because the ferret ate their homework. But their lack of desire to provide examples doesn’t make them at all shy about smearing people. I find this fascinating.

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