Recently the mayor of San Antonio, Texas, Ivy Taylor, ignited a controversy when she make a statement in a mayoral candidate forum that seemed to say that persons who don’t believe in a creator are the cause of social ills, are unable to have a good relationship with others, and are not productive members of society. Predictably, we atheists, who don’t have a relationship with a creator and yet manage to be productive people with healthy relationships, took objection to this.
It is important to point out that the mayor never said that “atheists cause poverty” because she never used the word atheist. But she did state that poverty and social ills are caused by people who don’t have a connection to a “creator” under the assumption that a fake connection with a mythical creature somehow grounds a person with a morality that others are incapable of. Specifically this is what she said:
“…to me, it’s broken people. People not being in a relationship with their creator and therefore not being in a good relationship with their families and their communities and not being productive members of society.”
After the entirely predictable objections, the mayor followed up with a statement via Facebook in which she doubled down on her belief that all people are “broken” until they forge a relationship with their “creator” and then touted her own claimed work to reduce poverty and other social ills in San Antonio.
In response, American Atheists issued an invitation to the mayor to meet with atheists in San Antonio and get to know our community but since she clearly believes we are broken, the odds of that actually happening are pretty much zero.
If I had a chance to meet with the San Antonio mayor, I would tell her that social ills, poverty, and suffering are caused by religious nonsense, not relieved by it. Every time a poor women is forced by law into having a baby she cannot care for, every time someone is denied life saving medical treatment because a religious belief prevents doctors from delivering real medical care, every time teens are denied knowledge of how to prevent pregnancy, every time some politician decrees social safety nets and poverty prevention programs are unnecessary because there are churches to help, poverty and social ills are reinforced.
There is no amount of begging the mythical sky being that will make the slightest bit of difference whatsoever towards reducing social ills and making lives better.