Atheist Crusader and Anti-Atheist Bigot Make Peace

Chicago Tribune columnist Eric Zorn added one sideline to his piece about Rob Sherman, in reference to his battle with anti-atheist Illinois State Rep. Monique Davis:

“I’ve forgiven her completely and I’m always happy to see her at the Capitol,” said Sherman.

“I give him a hug, he gives me a hug,” said Davis. “We have absolutely made peace. I totally respect his rights as a non-believer and his efforts to separate church and state.”

As for Davis’ comment that “it’s dangerous for our children to even know that your philosophy [atheism] exists”?

“That was not the right thing to say and I have apologized to him for that,” Davis said Monday. “I was very upset because someone had just come and whispered in my ear that another child in Chicago had died (and a result to gun violence.)”

And how about Sherman’s response in which he referred to her (not maliciously, he says) as a negro?

Sherman said he has discussed with Davis his subsequent use of the word “negro” to describe her and that matter is settled as well. “We now have an excellent relationship,” he said.

Looks like a pleasant end to that battle…

Though Ben Dreidel asks a couple good questions in the comments:

So, has Monique Davis ever retracted her sentiments that it is dangerous for children to learn of atheism or that we believe in destroying instead of creating?

And if not, is there anyone running against her?

So far, I haven’t heard the answer to those.

  • Ron in Houston

    Does the word “bigot” really help? Yes, it’s true, but it’s not like either side in the theist-atheist controversy has a monopoly on non-bigotry.

    I frankly applaud Sherman and Davis for reconciling personally despite such opposing belief systems.

  • http://decentfilms.com SDG

    Does the word “bigot” really help? Yes, it’s true, but it’s not like either side in the theist-atheist controversy has a monopoly on non-bigotry.

    Indeed. In fact, as the comments in the “negro” combox bear out, the “bigot” label seems a particularly unfortunate word to apply solely to the theist side of the current equation. I’m not sure why Sherman gets to be an “atheist crusader” while Davis is an “anti-atheist bigot.”

    I frankly applaud Sherman and Davis for reconciling personally despite such opposing belief systems.

    Absolutely. Let’s see more of this, please.

  • V Profane

    She gave a typical politicians non-apology ‘Sorry you got offended’, ‘Sorry you caught me saying it’, not ‘What I said was wrong, I apologise to you and all the atheists I’ve insulted, especially the ones I’m supposed to be representing’.

    Until she repudiates her hysterical statements regarding atheism, she should be considered unfit for office and quite aptly labelled a bigot.

  • Aj

    SDG,

    I’m not sure why Sherman gets to be an “atheist crusader” while Davis is an “anti-atheist bigot.”

    Because Sherman is not a bigot for using a word marked on the naughty list in a culture he is not a part of, and claims he was ignorant of, meaning no offence to anyone. I don’t know Sherman, that’s his story, I accepted it, seems reasonable, no one has given me reason not to.

    People who care about words and not meaning are batshit, and they’ve shown themselves to also be bigots in the comments you refer to. If you think Sherman is a racist or have any other accusations show me some freaking evidence or talk to the hand. Why is Davis a bigot? Because she says shit like this:

    …it’s dangerous for our children to even know that your philosophy exists!

  • http://www.fabulouslyinthecity.com Chris (@ Fabulously in the City)

    Politicians are being recorded 24/7, so they all may say the wrong thing and not even realize it. If they’ve forgiven each other and moved on…why can’t we?

  • http://decentfilms.com SDG

    Aj,

    Because Sherman is not a bigot for using a word marked on the naughty list in a culture he is not a part of, and claims he was ignorant of, meaning no offence to anyone.

    I thought several posters in the “negro” post combox did a good job of pointing out that it wasn’t just one word, but the whole context of Sherman’s comments, that made his remarks problematic.

    As one poster put it: “It doesn’t matter what word he chose to use. The fact is, he attributed a set of actions, beliefs or characteristics to a group of people that does not universally apply to them. That’s called stereotyping. His bigotry is just as bad as hers.”

    FWIW, I’m not defending Davis’s comments. (In the case of the comment you cite, I’m not sure “bigoted” is the best possible word, although it’s obviously hostile and pedagogically reactionary as well.)

  • Aj

    SDG,

    I thought several posters in the “negro” post combox did a good job of pointing out that it wasn’t just one word, but the whole context of Sherman’s comments, that made his remarks problematic.

    As one poster put it: “It doesn’t matter what word he chose to use. The fact is, he attributed a set of actions, beliefs or characteristics to a group of people that does not universally apply to them. That’s called stereotyping. His bigotry is just as bad as hers.”

    Yes, on face value, I thought the same thing at the time. It was understandable to take Sherman’s comments that way. I also suspected he didn’t mean what he said. It looked like clumsy wording, I thought I knew what he actually meant.

    However, I read an explanation later by Sherman that stated he meant something else, and I can see how he could have made a mistaken in his wording. It’s a reasonable explanation. It would take some explanation to explain Davis’s comments.

    Not many people were making that point, they were hysterical about the word “negro” instead.

  • http://atheists.meetup.com/531 benjdm

    From a comment by Elaine:

    Monique Davis of the 27th District is unopposed for re-election, according to the State Board of Elections website. Almost half of incumbent legislators seeking re-election are unopposed.

  • Pseudonym

    SDG:

    I’m not sure why Sherman gets to be an “atheist crusader” while Davis is an “anti-atheist bigot.”

    For anyone who knows anything about history, “crusader” is hardly a nice word to use to describe someone. In fact, it’s arguably worse than “bigot”.


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