Last month, I created a petition calling on atheists to show their support for feminism and diversity. That petition, with more than 2,000 signatures, was delivered to the leaders of the largest atheist and secular organizations in time for the HEADS meeting at the end of January. I think it’s served its purpose, although I’m not planning to close it soon; anyone who still wants to add their name is welcome to do so.
The petition also attracted over 400 comments from people who wanted to further explain why they were signing. Most of these comments were excellent, and I want them to be seen more widely. In this post and over the coming weeks, I’ll be spotlighting some of my favorites.
I’m signing this petition because my skepticism guides my entire life, not just my opinion on religion. I am also skeptical about my society’s treatment of women and other previously marginalized groups, and the same values that make me question religious dogmas make me oppose the misogyny of today.
I am an atheist woman, I have two atheist daughters, one of our closest relatives is an atheist lesbian, and our family + a large part of the extended family are language minority atheists. This is directly about us: are we a part of this community or not?
God is not needed for ethics. Social justice is part of ethics. Feminism is part of social justice.
Harassment, bullying and other exclusionary behavior are contrary to secular and humanistic ideals. We’re already a small minority. Deliberately alienating like-minded people is not only wrong, but also stupid.
Simple. Because it is the right thing to do. Because in my opinion, the goals of A+ are laudable and will do pretty damned much to enrich the atheist/skeptic community, in contrast to the harassers’ efforts.
I have been interested in possibly attending some of these conferences, but as a woman I feel quite nervous and anxious about attending considering all the reports of harassment.
Because I consider myself a longstanding member of the community of atheists, skeptics and nonbelievers, and I want to be able to continue so to consider myself. Because I don’t want to see any more women driven away. Because I’m one of the targets of bullying, harassment and threats, and I do not enjoy it, and I know the other targets do not enjoy it either.
Because this is one of the last acceptable prejudices in existence today, along with atheophobia itself. We in the freethought community cannot call ourselves progressive or enlightened in any sense while allowing these issues to go unaddressed.
As the President of a Humanist organization and a feminist that has been on the receiving end of a sustained campaign of vicious harassment simply because I had the audacity to speak up, it is imperative that we stand as a community against this behavior.
Anti-feminism and anti-diversity movements are about hate. Aside from the strong correlation between religiosity and these opinions, any movements or organization *must* repudiate hate in order to have any moral authority or validity.
It is frankly absurd that this even needs to be said but plainly it does; we white heterosexual males are not the totality of the atheist movement, we aren’t even an especially important part of it. We are all in this together, and any person or portion that privileges a part of our movement over the whole does us all a disservice.—Brian Murtagh