The perils and potential of N.A.L.T. (Not All Like That)

Columnist Dan Savage has a message for “liberal Christians”:

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In this video, Savage says:

Sometimes I forget to qualify “Christian” with “fundamentalist evangelical right-wing bats–t Christian.” And I’ll write something taking “Christians” to task for their abuse of queer people. And I’ll get emails and I’ll get calls from liberal Christians, whispering in my ear, “We’re not all like that. Psst, we’re not all like that.” I call them NALTs now, for Not All Like That Christians. NALT Christians.

When possible, I try to avoid that kind of phrase — “We’re not all like that,” or “Yes, I’m a Christian, but not that kind of Christian.” I don’t like the idea of defining or identifying myself based on what I’m not — or based on what I’m against.

Plus that just seems like setting the bar way too low. There’s more to following Jesus than simply not being a right-wing batsh–t loudmouth or not abusing others. That’s a minimal threshold of human decency, not the pinnacle of discipleship.

Dan Savage wants Christians who aren’t anti-gay to stop telling him we’re Not All Like That — and to start saying it to our fellow Christians who are like that.

Also, “I’m a Christian, but not that kind of Christian” seems like the sort of thing that has to be shown rather than just said. If I put myself in a situation in which it is unclear whether or not I am an abusive loudmouth, then it’s unlikely that I’ll be able to clarify things at that point just by asserting that I’m not.

Having said all of that, “Christian” remains a vast and immensely diverse category. There are some 2.3 billion Christians in this world and there’s a great deal that we do not all agree on. Belonging to a group that large and that diverse makes it inevitable that every Christian will, at some point, need to say “We’re not all like that” about something. We may need to say it in response to inaccurate stereotypes or to broad generalizations based on someone’s limited experience with only one particular kind of Christian.

If I meet someone whose only idea of Christianity comes from seeing televangelists, it may be necessary to relieve their fears by reassuring them, “Don’t worry, we’re not all like that.” And if I meet someone whose only idea of Christianity comes from reading the Gospels or a biography of Martin Luther King Jr., it may be necessary to disappoint them by saying, “Alas, we’re not all like that.”

But there’s yet another context in which saying, “We’re not all like that” can be more than just a useful clarification. There’s a context in which Not All Like That can be a powerful tool for transformation.

When those words are said to others — to those standing outside of Christianity and looking in — then they seem at best merely practical and at worst disingenuous. But when those words are spoken within Christianity — by Christians addressing other Christians — they can be a source of hope, relief and liberation.

When spoken to other Christians, those words can be a revelation — the delightful news that there are choices, options and possibilities they may not have realized (or been allowed to realize) existed.

Dan Savage seems to understand this. He addresses his NALT Christian friends:

But the reason so many of us have the impression that you are all indeed like that, and why Christian has become synonymous with anti-gay, is because of these loud voices on the Christian right. And they’ve hijacked Christianity, with your complicit silence enabling their hijacking of it.

And you know what? Liberal Christians, you need to do something about it. You need to tell them you’re not all like that. We know — liberals, lefties, progressives, queers — we know that not all Christians are like that. The religious right: They don’t know. Tell them.

… If you’re a NALT, stand up for your beliefs, stand up for liberal Jesus. Start a dialogue with your chapels and churches. … Figure out ways you can make your place of worship, your church, a more welcoming and tolerant place.

So stop writing me and telling me that you’re Not All Like That, and start doing something about it. Start telling them you’re Not All Like That.

 

  • EllieMurasaki

    I do not agree with the way certain people, as exemplified by PZ Myers, pushed for Atheism+. They basically said, “Either you agree with me or I don’t want to associate with you.”

    I don’t know anything about what PZ Myers has said about Atheism+, but…one of the raisons d’etre of A+ is social justice, with particular attention to various axes of privilege. Either you agree with me that gender qua gender shouldn’t matter (that is, shouldn’t grant one privilege or subject one to discrimination), gender vis-a-vis sex-assigned-at-birth shouldn’t matter, sexual orientation shouldn’t matter, race and ethnicity shouldn’t matter, etc etc etc, and we should all work together for a world in which none of those things matter, either all that or no I do not want to associate with you.

    Because if you think any of those privileges are a good thing that we should hold on to, then there is a group of people whom you consider more equal than everyone else and another group that you consider less equal.
    I belong to some of those less equal groups. I know people in some of those less equal groups that I do not belong to. We are all people, the same as everyone in the more equal groups, and we all have the same rights and should all be treated alike by society. Saying we do not all have the same rights or we should not all be treated alike by society, that hurts me, that hurts my people, and I do not want to associate with someone who does that sort of hurt.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Start?

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Sure, the USSR wasn’t what Karl Marx intended, and to a great extent Stalin’s influence can be seen in why Communism gets a bad rap, but the fact that the political-economic doctrine lent itself so well to that kind of abuse is something that can’t be ignored.
    There is a lesson for the “NALT” Christians there.

    Which is…?

  • j_anson

    So first off, I think it sucks that you’ve been crapped on by Christians, and as a Christian, if it helps at all, I’m sorry. You have every right not to be crapped on, and you have every right to be angry when people do. Full stop.

    Second, as one of the people (I suspect) that you’re addressing here, I should say that I’m not actually angry at Dan for saying this stuff (I’m frustrated by it, but that’s not the same thing). I do get where it’s coming from (as much as anyone can get something they haven’t experienced directly).

    But what we’re saying is not, “Dan has no right to ask us for this.” What we’re saying is, “This stuff Dan is asking us to do, that is precisely what we are doing!” So it’s frustrating to hear him talk about it as if it isn’t happening. Like I say, my church is currently being facing the possibility of being torn apart over an argument about precisely this issue, about precisely the fact that some of us are saying to some of the others, nope, we can’t stand for this, it has to change. I actually came to the Episcopal Church late in life, so I’m not as attached as many are to that broader community. But I know for many it would be very sad if the church were to schism. That isn’t stopping folks from pushing the issue, though.

    As a gay man who’s been crapped on, Dan has every right to be angry and every right to say any darn thing he wants to, frankly. But Dan’s also a guy with a pretty wide audience, whose voice reaches pretty far. To speak as if no Christians are putting their money where their mouths are, when in fact there are Christians who do so, I think tends to reinforce the dichotomy between Christians and liberals, at the very time that he’s asking us to break it down. He’s asking us to do something, and undermining that in the same breath.

    So I don’t think it’s productive. But I still think he has a right to say it if he wants to. I just find it frustrating.

  • Kryptozoon

    The way I read it, the lesson is that one should not think Christianity is an innocent victim of being turned into a doctrine of hate from the outside, but that such an outcome is to some extent inherent in the system.

  • guest

    I realised a few years ago that what Fred is calling NALT is an expression of privilege.  Privileged people expect to be treated as individuals, and are extremely uncomfortable being put in the position of being viewed as part of a group.  Those of us who grew up as members of othered groups are used to being judged individually by our group’s behaviour, having our individual behaviour being used to judge the group, being asked for the group’s opinion or view, being the token member of that group in a ‘diverse’ environment, etc.  Which is not to say these things don’t make us uncomfortable, but we understand what’s happening.  Privileged people don’t have this experience on a regular basis, and when they are suddenly faced with it it can frighten and anger them.  Think about how we react to statements starting ‘Americans’ or ‘white people’ or ‘men’ or ‘straight people’, compared to those starting ‘Egyptians’ or ‘Hispanics’ or ‘women’ or ‘lesbians’, to help appreciate the difference–in a sense, we perceive the latter as more ‘legitimate’ group nouns than the former.

    I realised this when I happened to be reading the autobiographies of a Middle-Eastern woman and a white American middle-class man (neither people very notable, but the latter grew up in a similar culture to mine, so I was interested in seeing what he brought away from it).  As I wrote at the time, after looking at the reviews of the woman’s autobiography,

    ‘I suspect that whatever criticism [white man's book] received it was unlikely to have taken the form ‘[white man] culpably misled his readers by not including perspectives other than his own’ about gender relations, ethnic conflict, the political situation or whatever else the reviewer considered significant, or ‘there was another middle class white boy who grew up in the same place and time and had an entirely different experience, so [white man's] book is wrong, or at least deficient’, or ‘[white man] plays up to/contradicts/ignores his readers’ preconceptions about what someone like him is like’. As a non-othered person he has the inherent right to his own personal story; he is not obliged to serve as the mouthpiece or model of a particular demographic group or criticised when someone else considers that he performs this service inadequately.’Also, there’s a great story in Michael Kimmel’s funny and enlightening talk on ‘Mars and Venus’, where he talks about a woman saying to another woman ‘when I look into the mirror, I see a black woman, you see a woman,’ and Michael Kimmel thinking ‘oh, when I look into the mirror I see a human being.’

  • Steele

    We already have people saying that Pat Robertson and his ilk are morons. UCC says that Pat Robertson and his ilk are morons. The Episcopalian Church says that they’re morons. We ARE telling that to them. We are telling them a LOT that not all Christians are like that, that Christianity doesn’t have to be like that. And no-one’s listening. We have Fred Clarkes here. We have people here who are TRYING to tell their fellow Christians that we’re not all like that.

    Our fellow Christians don’t listen to us. We try to tell the media, but someone here said “I bet if a whole denomination denounced Pat Robertson…” as if there AREN’T whole denominations doing it.

    As a Christian, I want to know what I’m expected to do. Because as a gay man, I think it’d be really helpful! I volunteer, I donate, and I don’t hide I’m Christian when I do it. I try to tell my fellow Christians that we don’t need to be like that.

    But none of them ever LISTEN to me. I work my ass off trying to get them to listen to me! I want them to listen to me! Someone please listen to me! I’m trying, I really am, but all these people who tell me we need to be doing something else, please. Tell me what solution you have.

  • Steele

    Honestly, I want to know… As a gay man, if there’s anything I could be doing to help myself, and people like me, I want to do it. But no-one’s given me any suggestions we haven’t tried already. And we keep getting told we’re not doing it.

  • http://www.mymusingcorner.wordpress.com/ Lana

    No, not all Christians are like that, but its enough that most churches in the US I’ve attended have depressed me more than uplifted me. 

  • xytl

    As I understood it, it was less for ‘being a misogynist prick’ and more for saying that the atheist community should be much more concerned with abuses that are (a) far more severe and (b) perpetrated on religious grounds, and for considering the cause celebre du jour as an overblown storm in a coffee cup.

    Also, in my experience most of the people complaining about Dawkins for that whole thing take a dim view of gendered insults, too.

  • Carstonio

    Scripture itself may be a large part of the problem. Sam Harris showed himself in The End of Faith to be no less ignorant of Islam than any right-wing culture warrior, quoting passage after passage from the Qu’ran to “prove” that the religion is bloodthirsty. But he was coming to the text with an agenda.

    Someone coming to the Bible cold can’t tell from Leviticus that most Christians don’t see themselves as being bound by those barbaric laws – one finds that out only much later, in the New Testament. And it’s even less obvious to an outsider why Jews don’t execute gays. The difference is that Christianity and Islam are proselytizing religions and Judaism isn’t. I would think that any religion interested in attracting new members would want its most popular book to reflect the religion’s doctrines as accurately as possible. Or at least include a hefty introduction and concordance with these books, instead of leaving new readers adrift like the Gideons do.

    These religions arose well before easy access to books and common literacy – for centuries, most believers probably knew the text only when they heard it quoted or recited during services. It’s been suggested here that scripture isn’t something that a new reader should browse unaided. But in our age, most outsiders’ first exposure to Christianity is going to be either the book itself, or the hatemongers on TV who pass themselves off as religious leaders. If Christianity is far more than the Bible, wouldn’t it make sense to make the rest of the religion as readily available as the scripture itself, rather than risk potential members being misled about the nature of the religion?

  • xytl

    I don’t know much of Harris’s politics, beyond his notorious comments on the ethics of torture, but it’s entirely possible that he _is_ a right wing culture warrior. To be an outspoken campaigner for secularism _is_ to be a culture warrior, after all, and there’s no reason that atheists must necessarily lean left!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_FRDTPMBW7IBKWIU3763AI6FYOM Steve

    I suppose the question that comes to mind for me on this issue is  If you’re not all like that, how did anti-gay marriage referendums keep getting passed so often (until 2012, at least)?
    Clearly a lot of you are like that.  It sucks to be lumped in with bad guys, but there you are.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    It sucks to have to lump people together into one group and condemn the lot, but there you are.

    Except, wait, no one has to do that.

  • fraser

     In much the same way, libertarians fantasize about how all the problems in the economic system would be weeded out if we got a totally free market and the rising tide of the free market will lift all boats.

  • Wednesday

     There’s also an important difference between PZ Myers and Pat Robertson in their stances on social justice issues and inclusion of voices other than white straight men in their movements, and in participation in public life in general.

    It’s probably better to compare Pat Robertson to one of the MRA atheists who are calling Atheism+ a feminazi takover.

  • xytl

    TIL: Abbie Smith is a white straight man. So is Harriet Hall.

  • fraser

     Much truth. I have a friend who can shriek with outrage about dismissive group statements about “all Southerners—” but has no qualms making group statements about Muslims.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_FRDTPMBW7IBKWIU3763AI6FYOM Steve

    Way to not address the central point, Sarge.

  • fraser

     The media have a definite sense of which views are inside Overton’s Window and which ones are, as you say “fringe” (FAIR has noted several times how reporters and political analysts will label a position they approve of as “not ideological”). In 2006-8, when the Iraq War was wildly unpopular, pundits routinely dismissed opposition to the war as a fringe leftist position.
    Same here. Nobody in the mainstream media bats an eye at Republicans pushing legislation sponsored by the religious right but if Obama were seen as supporting policy endorsed and pushed by left-wing religious groups, the media would be tut-tutting about how he needs to stand up and prove to the country that he’s not the puppet of left-wing extremists.
    None of which excuses us not speaking out of course.

  • Carstonio

     My definition of “culture warrior” is limited to folks seeking to perpetuate straight white male Christian privilege in the culture. They’re fighting against demographic and other changes that have been reducing that privilege. I don’t use the term for people who want to do away with the privilege, such as Mikey Weinstein. Saying that privilege opponents are culture warriors is like saying that abolitionists were slavery warriors.

    It would be very reasonable to label an atheist as a rightist if he or she favors privilege for rich white men but leaves out the Christian component. We’ve already seen how some atheists can be sexist assholes just as much as the fundamentalists they condemn, and Harris may very well oppose measures that reduce inequality, such as single-payer health care, access to contraception and regulation of Wall Street. His defense of torture may be simply rightist xenophobia.

  • stardreamer42

    And saying that it’s no big deal if women feel unwelcome at major atheist conventions, that they should just take one for the team and keep working toward the elimination of REAL abuses, and she’s just a hysterical bitch anyhow, doesn’t make him a misogynist prick?

  • stardreamer42

    Saying that privilege opponents are culture warriors is like saying that abolitionists were slavery warriors.

    Yes. Furthermore, it’s exactly the same kind of funhouse redefinition that labels anti-religious-discrimination laws as “persecution of Christians”.

  • esmerelda_ogg

    If Christianity is far more than the Bible, wouldn’t it make sense to
    make the rest of the religion as readily available as the scripture
    itself,

    Well. In my pretty ordinary town, within an area of about eight blocks you can find a Presbyterian church, an Episcopal church, a Baptist church, a Roman Catholic church, a Lutheran church, and a Methodist church. Anybody is free to walk into them any Sunday morning and listen and observe. For no charge. Yes, there are more aggressive ways to reach out, but it’s not like we’re copying the ancient mystery religions here – if you’re curious, investigate!

  • xytl

    Dawkins said all those things? He called someone a hysterical bitch, did he? News to me.

    He certainly indicated that he thought it no problem if people leaving a hotel bar at 4am were invited for coffee by a stranger who took ‘no’ for an answer without any fuss. In doing so he also drew attention to very serious problems faced by women in many countries, with the implication that we ought to be doing something about that.

    I don’t recall him opining at all on the larger question of whether women were comfortable at major conferences, only on one incident involving one woman. I’d check the original thread, but I think PZ has deleted all the old comments now.

    But feel free to denounce Dawkins as a misogynist. And add a gendered insult too if you like.

  • Tricksterson

    No, it wasn’t what Marx intended. Maybe.  The problem is that Marx was very vague about how to get from capitalism to the Promised Land of the proletarian paradise.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    The doctrinal material Marx and Lenin created turned out to be easily appropriated to justify authoritarian power structures.

    The doctrinal material Christians have for themselves contains passages and phrases which can be easily appropriated to justify reinforcing social and economic privilege of one group against many others. Among them, QUILTBAG people.

    As I have noted so many times over my life, the same people who handwave away slapping a ham and cheese sandwich together happily haul out “A man shall not lie with a man as a man lies with a woman, for it is an abomination and both shall be put to death.”

  • Carstonio

    Thanks. My own interest is not in joining any particular religion, but becoming more knowledgeable about the particular religion that is still predominant in US culture.

  • xytl

    Is ‘appropriated’ the right word here? Lenin’s writings weren’t appropriated to justify authoritarian power structures – they were written to justify an authoritarian power structure. The man was a dictator himself!

  • Jenny Islander

    As has been said, there are churches everywhere and their doors are wide open on Sunday (with possible outliers where strangers get the side-eye, although I’ve never seen one).  The religion is freely available.  The prevalence of fundamentalist and Jesus-wants-you-to-get-rich types on TV is a separate issue, having much to do with what sells on TV.  

    For example, an ordinary Lutheran or Episcopalian service is some untrained people singing, reciting or chanting pretty much the same words every week except for the hymns, Psalms and appointed prayers, settling down to hear lay readers (i.e. not polished orators) read Bible passages, listening to a fairly brief and calmly presented sermon with possibly a cute and very brief children’s sermon preceding, breaking off to shake hands indiscriminately in the aisle, then more singing, reciting, and chanting with perhaps a choral solo, and then everybody lines up at the altar rail for a bite and a sup and there are a couple more prayers and perhaps some announcements that are only of interest if you are a regular at that church and another song and everybody files out to the coffee room shaking hands with the pastor/priest along the way.  Decoration and costumes are fairly minimal and uninteresting unless you can get a close-up on the minister’s scapular.Compare this with the productions put on by TV preachers and you begin to see the problem.  Most of us dull mainstream types don’t want to participate in that kind of performance because it gets in the way of what we go to church to experience: something that IME and IMO is much less flashy, but more profound.

  • Jenny Islander

    In some ways Christianity resembles Dungeons & Dragons: to really get what it’s about, show up and participate, or at least watch the group do its thing.  Talking about it doesn’t give the whole picture.

    Also keep in mind that Christianity is as various as chili.  Taste frequently and widely.

  • Carstonio

    How much is an anti-theist who falsely assumes that James Dobson is typical of Christianity like a fundamentalist who assumes that D&D and Harry Potter are gateways to Satan-worship?

  • J-

    Well perhaps the comparison of the Internet to a Series of Tubes is incorrect. But more plausibly, it can be seen as an enormous conference center. In the center are a million little break-out rooms with whiteboard walls. And in each little room are 15-20 people. After sufficient accumulated weight of thread-speech, each of these groups of 15-20 people eventually convinces themselves that They Are a Movement.

    There are like 1,800 liberal Christians from Arctic to Antarctic on this planet. And this is like a historical peak (well, down slightly from ~2,000 around 2004 when Jim Wallis was riding high, telling us if we all buckled down, climbed into the laps of conservative Christians and purred REAL hard, that maybe we could keep annual cuts to Food Stamps at 15% instead of 20%).

    Face it liberal Christians: There aren’t many of you. And there never were. And there really never will be. And your religion? Not actually as unstupid as you believe. The engrafting of women’s and gays’ and individuals’ rights onto the person of Jesus is a profound revision of history. The glasses through which you see your own ‘savior’ darkly are the Enlightenment and the Rennaissance (which, yes, I’m sure you tediously would like to lecture me were either horrible or just didn’t happen).

    If you’re a liberal, then you should be worshipping Condorcet and Jefferson, not Moses or Jesus.

     

  • EllieMurasaki

    [citation needed]

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    J does sort of have a point. There’s been a spate of historical revisionism suggesting that the “Dark Ages” from the fall of the Roman Empire to the Renaissance in circa 1500 AD was Somehow Not Really That Bad.

    However I’m sure there are more than ~2000 liberal Christians, and while I’m sure some of them thought appealing to the humanity of Republican politicians (who don’t even match up to slime molds in usefulness*) would stave off worse cuts than the ones they were planning, the majority are probably quite clear in refusing to try and be collaborators in a fundamentally unjust brand of politics.

    * as elucidated on another thread when I compared Republican politicians to slime molds. :P

  • LL

    Most atheists (people claiming to be atheists, anyway) probably ARE assholes, and I don’t have a problem with people pointing that out. 

    When an atheist gets enough political power to give their particular irrational prejudices the force of law, I’ll feel more obligated to make public my denunciations of them. But the only people I see very publicly doing their best to deprive other citizens of basic rights using the power of the government are religious people (or those claiming that motivation). 

    I think that’s why it seems more important to most people to do something about them, rather than the pathetic, powerless atheist assholes. 

    I can’t think of a single publicly atheist U.S. Senator (or representative). And as far as we know, we haven’t had an atheist president (in this century, anyway). 

  • LL

    Don’t get me started on the media. They’re a bunch of assholes, too. I understand (I really, really do) how hard it is for reasonable people to get on TV when the batshit crazy ones are always ready and willing to go on TV and say stupid shit just to get attention. Batshit crazy is apparently what you have to be now to be considered compelling or interesting or newsworthy. It’s disgusting. I have a degree in journalism. We’re supposed to have standards about what goes on the news. But I guess those don’t matter anymore. 

  • Steele

    About 2,000?

    Where are you getting that number? That’s a very specific number. It has to come from somewhere.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Most atheists (people claiming to be atheists, anyway) probably ARE
    assholes, and I don’t have a problem with people pointing that out.

    *Ahem.*

  • Michael Pullmann

     As I understand it, most of the “historical revisionism” surrounding the so-called Dark Ages points out that, while white, Western Europe may have undergone a regressive period, the Eastern Empire, the Muslim world, and points elsewhere were doing just fine, and were in fact leading the way in social and intellectual advancement.

    And, y’know, there was science going on in Europe during that period, or at least in the Late Medieval Period. Mostly piggybacking off of the above-mentioned achievements, but still, the church was hardly burning anyone and everyone who dared use empirical methods of investigation.

    Speaking from a view of social justice, the period sucked, but so did the Roman Empire, and so did the Enlightenment and the Renaissance.

    But hey, if the Science!-as-Autobots/Religion-as-Decepticons framework works for you, rock on.

  • Carstonio

    That’s almost as ugly as J’s Christian-bashing. My theory is that we’re dealing with a personality type that transcends ideas about religion or ideology. The vocal members of any group tend to be the most extreme ones, and vice versa. These are people who go out of their way to tell you their affiliation and give you grief over your own. John Stossel and David Horowitz went from being smugly self-righteous lefties to smugly self-righteous righties, but that doesn’t say anything about the typical person in either ideology.

  • http://www.nicolejleboeuf.com/index.php Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little

     

    Dawkins said all those things? He called someone a hysterical bitch, did he? News to me.

    He certainly indicated that he thought it no problem if people
    leaving a hotel bar at 4am were invited for coffee by a stranger who
    took ‘no’ for an answer without any fuss. In doing so he also drew
    attention to very serious problems faced by women in many countries,
    with the implication that we ought to be doing something about that.

    *sigh*

    For those not familiar with ElevatorGate, xytl is leaving out two very important details. Three very important details.

    1) Rebecca Watson had just that evening given a talk on “fellow atheists, this is how to make women feel more accepted in your community.” I do believe her points covered things like not treating women as there for men’s sexual pleasure, interacting in ways other than sexualized ways, and not treating women in ways that women would find threatening, i.e. backing them up against walls while delivering pick-up lines.

    2) She left the bar in the wee hours telling friends that she was tired out and just wanted to go to sleep.

    3) The guy who propositioned her didn’t just do it in the bar. He followed her out of the bar into the elevator she was taking to her room and propositioned her in the elevator. Following a woman “home” after a late night in the bar and propositioning her in an enclosed space with no exit? That’s threatening damn behavior.

    In short,

    A) After a day in which she gave a public lecture and then had a long conversation in a bar both of which touched on the subject of “Guys, don’t do that,” a guy who had heard her say all these things did exactly “that.”

    B) It’s called “ElevatorGate” for a reason; taking “cornered her in an elevator on her way to her hotel room in the wee hours to proposition her for sex, but took ‘no’ for an answer, which is a good damn thing considering the high incidence of men turning violent when women turn them down and also considering Watson couldn’t have gotten away from him until she got to her floor, at which point he could have followed her down the hall, found out what room she was staying in, and even forced his way into her room after her, which is something rapists have actually done at hotel conventions” …and whittling that down to “propositioned her for sex and took ‘no’ for an answer” is dishonest.

    And that’s not even going into Dawkins’s response being clearly intended not as a neutral “drawing attention to very serious problems” but to shut Watson up in a textbook silencing maneuver.

    xytl, you posted either in ignorance or dishonesty. Now you are no longer ignorant; it’s your choice whether to be dishonest.

    My apologies to those for whom this situation and its nuances are old news; clearly to some it is not.

  • LL

    That we know of. People tend to be “braver” online than they are in real life. We really only know what people claim. We don’t usually get verification of it, we have to take their word for it. 

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Speaking from a view of social justice, the period sucked, but so did
    the Roman Empire, and so did the Enlightenment and the Renaissance.

    Are you denying that the manorial/feudal structures which came into being after the Roman Empire were relatively worse for the poor compared to Roman or Enlightenment Times?

  • cosmicdancer

    We probably have. they just didn’t make a public point about it .  Every day you are meeting atheists, they just didn’t tell you they were.   even people seen in church every week can be atheists at heart, they’re just not angry about it.  all atheism is, is a lack of belief in gods,  there’s no other required behavior. some people can’t deal with both participating in religious activities and not really believing  their underlying premises,  and some people can. 

    anyway, one problem with confronting fundamentlists is that they.don’t.listen. you tell them you disagree,  and they tell you that your argument is invalid and you must not be a real christian after all.   and they’re *dirty* fighters who will stoop to any insane tactic they can to win  so appeals to facts and logic simply don’t work. 

  • LL

    When a prominent TV show, radio show, publication, website has Pat Robertson (for example) on to give the “Christian” point of view, get a bunch of people to bombard that organization with complaints about putting Robertson on. Demand that they stop giving the most hateful examples of Christianity face time and attention. In the age of the internet and smart phones, it doesn’t seem like it would be terribly hard to get something like this going. 

    Leverage the supposedly vast majority of liberal, elitist, atheist-leaning news weasels and tell them that they’re enabling the hateful assholes by giving them the opportunity to spread their hatefulness. 

  • LL

    If that’s a shot at me, fine, whatever. You’re entitled to your opinion.

  • LL

    It’s based on my opinion that most people in general are assholes. But I’m not a big fan of people in general. You can think that’s mean or wrong if you want. I certainly don’t expect most people to agree with it.

  • LL

    I doubt I meet atheists every day. I’d like it if there were more of them, but I don’t think they exist in large numbers, yet. I think most people are essentially agnostic. They think there’s some “higher power” out there, but they don’t feel strongly about it, don’t want to go to church, they’re basically passive non-church people. 

    And the bottom line is, I don’t really care whether someone is an atheist or not, I mostly care how they treat other people. If you’re not a giant dick to people, you’re cool by me. Regardless of your religious beliefs, or lack thereof. 

    Savage was just making the statement that he didn’t see a lot of Christians acting on their supposed gay friendly beliefs. 

  • ReverendRef

     Well, one place to look is at All Saints in Pasadena, CA who is allowing the Muslim Public Affairs Council to meet in their building.

    Article here:  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/14/us/pasadena-church-criticized-for-hosting-muslim-convention.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20121214&_r=0

    The christian luv spewing from the right is typical. 

    Part of the problem, I think, is that our faith isn’t set to “attack mode,” so we don’t work to raise funds to fight the popular bogey man of the day.


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