An Open Letter to Jeremy Stangroom

Dear Mr. Stangroom:

It’s come to my attention that you’ve recently devoted your blog to the purpose of highlighting uncivil statements by the so-called New Atheists. This is a laudable pursuit, as I strongly believe that the world needs to know exactly who these people are and what they stand for. To that end, may I submit some statements from my own blog, Daylight Atheism, for your consideration? After all, if you’re showcasing the viciousness and rudeness of outspoken atheists, I wouldn’t want to be overlooked.

“As you’d expect, most doctors [in Catholic hospitals] suffer agonies of conscience when forbidden to save the life of a dying woman… regardless of the actual outcomes, these accounts show the Catholic hierarchy’s cold, callous attitude. Whether a woman dies is of no importance to them, so long as their dogma is respected, and they’re ready and willing to enforce that on every woman who comes into their power. The most hideous absurdity is that these monsters have the audacity to label themselves ‘pro-life’, when their beliefs have the exact opposite effect in practice.”

“In all these stories, we’re hearing the shrill screams of Christians who’ve discovered that they’re not the only ones allowed to speak in public, and are furious over the perceived loss of that privilege. It doesn’t matter what the actual message atheists are promoting is. No matter how meek, how inoffensive, how conciliatory we make it, its mere existence will draw hatred and fury from religious bigots, because they really want is for us not to exist. Nothing less will satisfy them.”

“It’s no wonder that so many believers react with outrage and try to censor us when atheists unapologetically stand up and proclaim our existence – especially if the message is that the godless can be good people too. As peaceable as that is, from the standpoint of religious culture warriors, it’s the most dangerous message we can possibly convey.”

“Ridicule has its uses: If skillfully deployed in an argument, it can be more persuasive than anything else – nothing gets someone on your side like making them laugh. It helps break down the stifling aura of solemnity and respect that religions have convinced themselves they deserve, and that they use to smother legitimate criticism. And it communicates, more eloquently than any cool and dispassionate argument ever could, that it’s okay not to believe this stuff!”

“The one thing that absolutely terrifies a prejudiced majority is anger, no matter how righteous or how justified, from any oppressed or marginalized group. That’s why any member of such a group who does express anger for any reason whatsoever will immediately be tarred with the standard, well-worn insults used to belittle and dismiss the speaker’s concerns and equate their passion for justice to irrational insanity… The reason why they do this is obvious: because a movement led by its least ambitious, most conciliatory members isn’t going to get anything done. The guardians of tone are really the guardians of popular prejudice, concern-trolling for all they’re worth in an effort to prevent us from making anything more than cosmetic changes. They counsel us to be meek, to be mild, to be small and bland and inoffensive, because that makes it much easier to ignore us altogether.”

Thanks for your consideration! I hope you’ll post about some of these statements, as it would be just awful if I was allowed to get away with saying such things in public.

Adam Lee

UPDATE: I get a response!

Is Assisted Dying Narcissism?
Pro-Gay Christians, Wouldn't Atheism Be Easier?
Secular Students Week 2015: How to Win at Activism
If Ayn Rand Wrote Shakespeare
About Adam Lee

Adam Lee is an atheist writer and speaker living in New York City. His new novel, Arc of Fire, is available in paperback and e-book. Read his full bio, or follow him on Twitter.