Louder than a Picket Sign?

The Writers Guild of America is striking.

In the picture below, Atheist Hussy spotted the writing on the shirt of one of the guys protesting:

WGAStrike

And zoom in…

WGAStriker

Nice.

Make a couple statements at once.

I approve.


[tags]atheist, atheism[/tags]

  • http://www.a-theist.com Mark J. Seydel

    Ya gotta love it :-)

  • http://atheismandcoffee.blogspot.com overcaffein8d

    I wish I could wear a shirt like that where I live (bible belt) without getting either shot or threatened.

  • Siamang

    I have a shirt kind of like that one. Mine looks like the Oakland Athletics shirt, but it says “Atheists”.

    Hey, that was right in front of Warner Brothers. I’ve got those folks in front of my work too.

  • http://www.ohthethinksyoucanthink.blogspot.com Linda

    One question:

    Why the need to label ourselves and make ourselves a target? This is one of those “WHY” questions that I ask myself.

    Don’t get me wrong… I admire someone that has the courage to stand up for him/herself, but why? If the only intention is to piss people off, like “C’mon, I dare you to hate me…” kind of thing, then I don’t see how that’s constructive. (Believe me, I’ve done it too, and do it still at times.) This goes back to my post titled “Conflict: Our guilty pleasure?” I’d love to hear some of your thoughts.

    By the way, I refuse to wear a cross around my neck, nor do I put little fishes on my car…

  • stogoe

    Why do we need to identify ourselves? Because it’s not okay for people to make the Other a target. Because when the Other is your friend, your relative, your neighbor, your coworker, it’s much harder to paint them as monsters. Because theists assume everyone around them is a member, and they need to be reminded that this isn’t the case, that they cannot cow us by sheer numbers.

    The ability to hide in plain sight is not always a good. Standing up as a good person and an atheist is a revolutionary act against those who claim a monopoly on morality.

  • http://heathendad.blogspot.com/ HappyNat

    Why the need to label ourselves and make ourselves a target?

    The reason that you see this label as making him a target is reason enough for him to wear the shirt. When I travel sometimes I wear Ohio State Buckeye shirts, does this make me a target? People like to express who they are and sometimes do it on their clothing. I don’t see this as “standing up for himself” he is saying who he is, just like if he was wearing a Justin Timberlake t-shirt.

  • Siamang

    I often wear my “Atheists” t-shirt when I’m doing something positive and friendly with people who know me and like me. I sometimes wear it when I’m spending a day with my daughter.

    I want people to have a positive association with the word, so they can say “Well, that guy is a great father, a family guy, obviously loving and giving.”

    Often the term “atheist” only comes up when you’re arguing over beliefs. I think it’s better to have it associated with you when your doing something more positive than arguing with someone.

  • Jen

    Linda, I doubt the guy is trying to make himself a target as an atheist, though I suppose to a certain extent he is making himself a target as a striker. I don’t see any indication he is trying to piss anyone off- its not like he wore the shirt to a funeral or to church. I am not sure why an “atheist” shirt is any different from a shirt with a college logo, or a band the person likes, or a shirt with pretty butterflies- it all expresses an aspect of the person- I am an atheist, I went to this college, I like this band, I like pretty butterflies. Having an opinion, and expressing it in a non-violent, non-confrontational way is not a trying to cause conflict or get a rise out of people.

  • http://ohthethinksyoucanthink.blogspot.com Linda

    I don’t get it. I don’t see a college logo as the same thing as a label indicating our religious orientation. What about a “homosexual” t-shirt? How about “Taliban sympathizer” or “White Supremacist?” There is an obvious conflict between Atheism and Religion. I don’t see that as being any different than wearing the red or the blue bandana.

    C’mon, guys… Are you telling me that you would see me the exact same way as the next person if I were wearing a “Jesus is King” t-shirt? I don’t even look at Christians fondly when they have to advertise all over themselves who they are. What is that if not trying to set yourself apart somehow and stand on one side of the conflict, thereby perpetuating it. Aren’t we all in this together?

    I’m of the firm belief that who we are expresses itself without signs or labels. Does a flower need a sign around its neck to be recognized? A flower just blooms the way it was mean to be, and the whole world KNOWS that it’s a flower. It doesn’t even have to verbalize it. It just is…

  • Siamang

    Linda,

    First off, “white supremicist” “taliban” are extremist, polarizing figures. An “atheist” is hardly in that league. If your analogy cannot work without plugging in murderers and hate-mongers, then it’s a very weak argument.

    Second, about half or more than half the people I meet seem to wear a cross necklace. To me, it’s as ubiquitous as a wedding ring. It’s not perpetuating a conflict, it’s just who they are.

    Third, everything everyone wears makes a statement about who they are. I can tell you something about someone and their self-image just based on their shoes, the length of their shirtsleeves, their collar, neckware, casual vs dressy, their economic status, often their sexual orientation…

    Clothes are part of living, it’s both a label and the way the flower blooms. Sometimes clothes have words on them. I learn a lot about someone just based on whether their clothes say “Prada” or “Nike” or “Mustache Rides 5 Cents.”

  • http://ohthethinksyoucanthink.blogspot.com Linda

    Siamang,

    Yes, I guess you do have a point. You are arguing from your perspective. I completely understand that. But you have to realize that I’m privy to the vew from the other side.

    I don’t like how WE (my circle, excluding me) look at you when you wear the t-shirt. I don’t like how we judge you by the words that are on there. I don’t like how we don’t even get the chance to know who that is underneath the shirt. I’m the one who came here, remember? I’m on your side.

    I didn’t come here to criticize you. I came here to tell you… forget it… I’m getting too emotional again.

  • http://heathendad.blogspot.com/ HappyNat

    I don’t get it. I don’t see a college logo as the same thing as a label indicating our religious orientation. What about a “homosexual” t-shirt? How about “Taliban sympathizer” or “White Supremacist?”

    Did you choose these examples because you think they would bother the “other side”? Wearing a college logo in certain places and situations does exactly the same thing. It is often used to draw attention to yourself and you can’t expect comments from people who agree and disagree with the school you support. And I might add many people take their football/basketball teams more seriously than god or religion.

    Are you telling me that you would see me the exact same way as the next person if I were wearing a “Jesus is King” t-shirt?

    Last night I saw a guy wearing a Jesus is King shirt in the style of the Burger King logo. Other than thinking the shirt was too small on him and bit dirty I didn’t think much of it.

    What is that if not trying to set yourself apart somehow and stand on one side of the conflict, thereby perpetuating it. Aren’t we all in this together?

    What about Jews wearing yamikas? Are they trying to set themselves apart?
    It seems you don’t like it because it stikes a cord with you and it is a conflict (atheism and religion) in your mind. It is not that way for everybody. Should we all wear blank wordless clothes in the hopes of not stirring a conflict in somebody?

    Does a flower need a sign around its neck to be recognized?A flower just blooms the way it was mean to be, and the whole world KNOWS that it’s a flower. It doesn’t even have to verbalize it.

    Now this is just goofy. Little do you know all my flowers wear athiest hats. :)

  • Jen

    Linda, the fact that you are using “homosexual” as something that should make people as angry as “Taliban sympathizer” or “White Supremacist” makes me think you are a little closed-minded.

    People are flowers? What? Let me just say this: I can recognize the difference between ‘flower’ and ‘rock’, but I have a harder time with all the different types of flowers. At most places showcasing flowers, they put little signs in the dirt telling you if it is a tulip or a carnation, and, further, the scientific name as well as the common name. So… labels are good for flowers, and it must follow, good for people.

    I’ll admit this: I would roll my eyes at someone wearing a “Jesus is King” shirt, sure, but I would if their shirt said “straight’ or ‘white’ or ‘American’ (in America). I see the point in identifying yourself as a minority of some sort, to set yourself aside from the usual and say, hey, I am not what you might expect. But wearing a shirt that might as well say, hey, I am a part of the majority of people seems like a pointless exercise.

  • http://ohthethinksyoucanthink.blogspot.com Linda

    HappyNat,

    Little do you know all my flowers wear athiest hats.

    Now that made me laugh. I could visualize it. Thanks for keeping it light. I get carried away sometimes with my passion and forget to have fun.

    Just know that I love you guys, and I have good intentions at heart, even if I can’t seem to be completely rid of that foot-in-mouth disease.

  • http://ohthethinksyoucanthink.blogspot.com Linda

    Jen,

    My only point was that we can all be unique without labelling ourselves.

    Why do all of you get so defensive if you have not felt some kind of pain associted with what I say?

    I’m not saying that you’re not allowed to be different.

    I don’t know what else to say… Words fail me. I’m sorry.

  • Jen

    I don’t think I am being defensive here. Nor do I think you think I shouldn’t be different.

    My points were:

    1. Don’t accuss gay people of being the same in awfulness as white supremacists, or of deserving the same reaction by wearing t-shirts that identify them as those things.
    2. Your flower analogy is incorrect.
    3. People wear labels to set themselves apart. It makes sense for people who are minorities of some type, ie: I would probably go talk to the atheist shirt guy because I am an atheist too. We might have nothing else in common, but it can be nice in a sea of people to see someone with whom you have something in common. Shirts that id someone as a member of a large group (ie: American, white, straight) would not give me a common talking point with someone else, because I could have probably guessed, based on demographics for people living in America, that statistically speaking, people I run into are likely to be those three things, or at least two or one of those things. Personally, I get excited when I see peole wearing my college’s logo, or the shirt of a band I like, or one that expresses a belief I have, because it means I can connect with that person in some way, or at the very least, something I like is getting more exposure.

    I think you are being defensive, here, because I know I could care less who wears what shirt. I think you are taking this labelling thing a bit too far. It’s a t-shirt, not a forehead tattoo. Tomorrow, that guy could put on another shirt that expresses another aspect of his personality- or a suit, a penquin costume, or a toga. At the end of the day, its just clothing.

    Again, I am not sure how wearing a shirt that implies the wearer has an opinion or a viewpoint is the same as saying that someone else doesn’t have the right to have a different one.

  • http://ohthethinksyoucanthink.blogspot.com Linda

    Jen,

    I’m not being defensive. Just sad that no one seems to understand my heart.

    Don’t accuss gay people of being the same in awfulness as white supremacists, or of deserving the same reaction by wearing t-shirts that identify them as those things.

    I was not accusing anyone of anything. I was just naming things that people in my camp would find offensive. I was just sharing the fact that by labeling ourselves as atheists or Christians, we lose out on the chance of getting to know some awesome people out there. I’m just speaking from experience of jumping head first into a blog that everyone in my circle told me not to go into. I met people here that I would proudly call my friends.

    Your flower analogy is incorrect.

    Inappropriate, maybe. Misunderstood, maybe. But not incorrect. I thought it was a good analogy. When I see a pretty flower in the wild, I don’t care what it’s called. I just want to enjoy its beauty. I’m entitled to my own idealistic dreams, aren’t I?

    I can see that you don’t care about the shirts. It’s not as simple as just a shirt. I’m just sad that when you are so blatent about your beliefs, others judge you. I hate when that happens, but it does nevertheless. There’s nothing wrong with whatever your beliefs are, as long as you are a loving human being. Even if you’re not loving, even if you happen to be hateful, I can accept that. I just don’t want us to judge each other without even knowing the person we’re choosing to hate.

  • Jen

    Alright, Linda, I think I see where we are coming at this from different angles. I am saying, yes, these tshirts are good because they can help us find people with whom we are likely to get along. You are saying, this isn’t good because many people will see a shirt and refuse to speak to them, because they have such different beliefs. For me, the shirt is a good thing that can bring together people with similiar beliefs/tastes/ideas. For you, you worry that people who find those beliefs/tastes/ideas distasteful are going to judge that person based on stereotypes about that person.

    And now looking at it from that angle, I will admit you have a point. I am probably more likely to approach someone whose shirt reflects something about me, neutral towards those whose clothes don’t apply to me, and less likely to approach someone with an opposite viewpoint, all other things equal. Hmmm, that’s something I should think about, I suppose.

    On the other hand, I find that people who hold beliefs which are opposite to mine have entirely different mindsets, and it can be hard to have a deep friendship with someone who, say, is deeply sexist. If someone doesn’t like me because of my gender, I have a hard time discussing anything with them. I also have a difficult time conversing with people who assume I am going to go to hell. Soooo,,,, I am not sure how easy it is to overcome those types of barriers against people advertising the mindset that they are somehow better than me, for whatever reason.

  • Siamang

    I think people need to learn to get along even when they KNOW they’re different in some way.

    That’s why I wear my atheists t shirt. To teach people they need to get along with those who are different.

    Or I could put it back in the closet, and atheists can all shut up and go back to being the hated invisible “other.”

    Linda, I love you, and your heart for coming here, and I know where you’re coming from (I think) and I believe your heart is in the right place. But you’ve got to realize that theres a lot of atheists here who are invisible in their normal lives. Notice, I write under a pseudonym. Note, I’m not “out” to half my family.

    I’m taking baby steps here, and being out during certain portions of my week, with that shirt. And the reason is, people tell me that they fear atheists. I find out that people treat atheists badly. I read articles about how we’re distrusted, how we are supposedly immoral and evil, and “don’t believe in anything”.

    Somehow, with most atheists being invisible, we became a hated minority. We haven’t been a large part of the national conversation. Folks dislike or distrust atheists who’ve NEVER MET an atheist. Or are unaware that they have atheists in their family, at their work, etc.

    That’s why I like the shirt. It doesn’t say “I’m smarter than you” It doesn’t say “religion is a scam” It doesn’t say anything negative or combative. It doesn’t say “You’re going to burn in hell” either. All it says is, “This is what I believe.”

    And maybe someone seeing that shirt, on humble old me, might have a bit of a different impression of atheists. “Wow, they aren’t just a bunch of burned-out narcissistic college-age loners after all!”

  • Karen

    I don’t like how WE (my circle, excluding me) look at you when you wear the t-shirt. I don’t like how we judge you by the words that are on there. I don’t like how we don’t even get the chance to know who that is underneath the shirt.

    Linda, thanks for your kindness and honesty. I really appreciate your participation here.

    We agree with what you’re saying, above. But the only way to change that negative reaction is for us to come out, be honest about who we are and prove to those who fear and hate us that we’re just ordinary people who happen not to believe in any god(s).

    If we stay in the closet (and that’s exactly where I am in many respects, I’ll admit it) people in “your circle” will never understand that we’re their neighbors, their friends and their co-workers. In many cases, we’re members of their own family, but they don’t know it!

    This is why we admire and applaud the picketer wearing the t-shirt proudly and unashamedly. Most of us wish we were as courageous as Siamang and could do the same thing. :-)

  • http://ohthethinksyoucanthink.blogspot.com Linda

    Jen, Siamang, Karen,

    I appreciate all of your comments. My hope is that one day, we can see each other as just another human being who is uniquely lovable. I hope one day, we can shed all the labels that we put on ourselves and know that underneath all the masks of pain, hatred, and judgment, there lives a child who wants to be loved unconditionally… who desires to be free, just the way he/she was created to be…

    That is the message of the Gospel according to Jesus. No one wants to understand his heart. That is why he wept, and he weeps still… He came to give us freedom, but we don’t want to be free. Everyone makes it all about religion. I truly believe someone like Vincent had Christ in his heart without even knowing it… and the world hated him and killed him…

    It’s not about religion. It’s about freedom and love.


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