Open Letter to In God We Trust

After reading about the dueling billboards, Cailin wrote this letter to Bishop Council Nedd, chairman of In God We Trust‘s board of directors.

It’s a fantastic blueprint if you wanted to write one of your own:

Dear Rev. Nedd and In God We Trust,

Your recent billboard ad revealed the ugly bigotry lurking under the surface of America. Your ad hominem attack of atheists was not only intellectually dishonest but also un-American.

I realize your need for battling against a perceived attack from “left-wing God-hating atheists” makes it seem as if your choice was a good one, but in the end you only reveal your beliefs to be incompatible with unity, understanding, or compassion. Instead, what I see when I see that billboard is divisive, close-minded, and makes a blanket statement about an entire group of Americans.

If that billboard said “Why Do Christians Hate America?” do you still think it would be ok? The sad truth is, Atheists are socially acceptable targets for bigotry and hatred, though someday I hope that common decency will be extended to all peoples (even if you don’t agree with them).

Though your campaign goal says it is trying to expose “how much the radical Atheist movement hates America and everything our nation stands for” all you’ve “exposed” is your own bigotry, short-sightedness, and lack of respect for the principles which made this country so great.

In addition, I would not support legislation to force you to take down your sign, because you have every right to make your blanket statements and attack other people whom you’ve never met. As it has been said by greater people than I: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”. Someday, I hope you will realize the error of your decision to attack your fellow Americans and embrace the more compassionate and rational part of yourself. It saddens me more than I can say to know this kind of bigotry is alive and well in the United States.

Wishing only the best for you,

[signature]

What would you say to IGWT?


[tags]atheist, atheism[/tags]

  • http://jimloomis.deviantart.com Jim

    Dear “In God We Trust”,

    You’re the reason why free speech sucks. I found your statement to be just as offending as statements made by the KKK. I’ve tolerated religion for as long as I’ve been alive, yet you still find ways to force it upon me. Hating us (non-religious people) doesn’t help anyone. I would expect better from a group of people who supposedly “spread love through the word of God”.

    One could say that our billboard did the same thing by making a brash statement about religion, but that billboard did not specify one group of people. The billboard did not assume that anyone “hated America”.

    I’m not telling you to shut up, as I have no authority to do so, just as you have every right not to shut-up. But dammit, use some tact next time, will ya?

    Bigots.

    Jim

  • http://www.myspace.com/timandjeffrey Tim D.

    I would I wouldn’t quite be so forward in my letter, but I do agree with the points this one made. For example, I agree that it was an inappropriate attack on all atheists (and that, nonetheless, they technically have the “right” to say it, even if it is stupid and ignorant), but instead I would have tried to give examples that make them relate better (like the “Why do Christians hate America?” one, which I thought was good) without piling on and being offensive.

    I know, it seems stupid, but I just find it so damn interesting how much it shocks these kinds of people when they meet a non-Christian, are unfathomably rude and condescending to them, and then still receive an open-minded response. It freaks their minds, I tells ya 0_0

  • http://emergingpensees.com MikeClawson

    I know, it seems stupid, but I just find it so damn interesting how much it shocks these kinds of people when they meet a non-Christian, are unfathomably rude and condescending to them, and then still receive an open-minded response. It freaks their minds, I tells ya 0_0

    “A gentle answer deflects anger,
    but harsh words make tempers flare.”
    -Proverbs 15:1

    “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone…
    If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
    if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
    In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
    -Romans 12:18-21

    I think we’re on the same page with this. :)

    As it has been said by greater people than I: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”. Someday, I hope you will realize the error of your decision to attack your fellow Americans and embrace the more compassionate and rational part of yourself.

    Perhaps someone should ask them why, if they love America so much, are they so offended when an atheist exercises their First Amendment rights?

  • cautious

    Huh. …yeah that’s a better letter than what I wrote. I tried to appeal to their patriotic urges by referring to MAAF.

  • Richard

    I think I would tone it down a bit – although that may not do any good. My concern is that atheists are becoming the latest target for christian fundamentalists. Before it was the gay marriage lobby. For the christian right to rally the troops they need a group to attack. The atheists are just that group – they can label us as god haters, america haters, freedom haters who are going to make all their kids little devil worshippers. If I was a christian fundamentalist, I would be overjoyed at this new target. Particularly as the gay marriage thing is getting a bit old, and has died down as an issue.
    Hitler used the same approach with the Jews. Pick a group that is a minority, and that ordinary people are a little suspicious of, and then present that group as the root of all evil and blame them for the decay in society.

    We won’t win this one with civil discourse, because it is not in the best interests of the christian right to have a civil discourse with atheists. It is their best interest to present us as evil and deeply scary.

    By the way, your blog is great!

  • http://www.otmatheist.com/ Siamang

    A wise man knows not to wrestle with pigs: you get muddy and the pig enjoys it.

    I’m not sending Nedd anything. He’s a great argument for atheism, let him continue.

  • Chris

    The letter here says it all.

  • http://atheismandcoffee.blogspot.com overcaffein8d

    February 11, 2008 at 6:29 pm

    I know, it seems stupid, but I just find it so damn interesting how much it shocks these kinds of people when they meet a non-Christian, are unfathomably rude and condescending to them, and then still receive an open-minded response. It freaks their minds, I tells ya 0_0

    “A gentle answer deflects anger,
    but harsh words make tempers flare.”
    -Proverbs 15:1

    “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone…
    If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
    if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
    In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
    -Romans 12:18-21

    I think we’re on the same page with this. :)

    Along with the usual fairy tales, blood, and gore, there’s actually some pretty good advice.

    Unfortunately
    a) People pick and choose what to follow and what not to, and
    b) There’s so much sadistic non-believer-hating stuff in there, it oughtweighs the good stuff.

    I should write a blog post about that.. Too bad i’m too lazy.

  • Vincent

    I’m just glad she attributed the quote to “greater minds” instead of Voltaire who always gets credit for that line even though he never said it.

  • stogoe

    I would probably type out in my word processor “Go boil to death in a vat your own vomit, you monstrous fucks.”

    And then I would delete that (because it’s not very nice, innit?), and let other people respond to this reckless hate, people who are not worn down to the bone by the vitriol and spite of the religious towards the non-religious, people who have not yet learned or are unwilling to learn that if you treat morons with civility, they will take that advantage and further despoil civilization.

  • cautious

    people who have not yet learned or are unwilling to learn that if you treat morons with civility, they will take that advantage and further despoil civilization.

    Yeah, but what else can be done with morons? They exist in our society whether we like it or not.

  • stogoe

    Treat them with all the respect they deserve, ie, none. Mock them for their willful stupidity; turn moronism into something to be ashamed of.

  • http://www.myspace.com/timandjeffrey Tim D.

    Treat them with all the respect they deserve, ie, none. Mock them for their willful stupidity; turn moronism into something to be ashamed of.

    I agree, except I’d like to tack on one more thing: I’d try to do it without becoming elitist in the process.

  • http://emergingpensees.com MikeClawson

    I would probably type out in my word processor “Go boil to death in a vat your own vomit, you monstrous fucks.”

    let other people respond to this reckless hate, people who are not worn down to the bone by the vitriol and spite of the religious towards the non-religious

    I do hope you realize the irony of this statement. :)

  • Pingback: God is for Suckers! - Commentary, news, and rants on the evils and stupidity of belief in the big invisible daddy in the sky. Illuminating and watchdogging the widespread attempts to institutionalize the theocratic rule of the US. Making fun of believers