Down In Front, Kittens (And Other Things That Are More Positive Than Atheist In-Fighting)

Look, just skip to the end of this blog-post and check out the cute kitten video, if you like.

Perhaps it’s that time of the year, but I’m rather fed up with online debates and fights and name-calling and nasty behaviour, particularly amongst people who have ideological similarities and common goals (not pointing out anyone in particular, just a general observation) – and I’m just going to post this instead and head out tonight to the cinemas and enjoy myself instead. Nyah.

What are some of the uplifting things have I noticed? I discussed this post with fellow FreeThought bloggers, raising a few concerns which I think were well-taken (it’s a post that, I’m certain, will become very popular – if it hasn’t become so already). I am glad that the conference is four months away and more than likely all of this will have died down and I’ll just consider it another example of how fellow atheists do indeed care about each other’s well-being and are considerate of online safety in general.

I’m dismayed that there hasn’t been much notice taken of this blatantly anti-Islamic statement by Ernest Perce V, PA State Director of the American Atheists:

I will say to you Islam, “I do not respect your filthy, repugnant, and vile views. I will not allow you put fear in my mind or those whom I know! I will not be silent with my disdain and disgust for your culture or your terroristic ways. I am an American Atheist, and I am not afraid to deal with you openly and in the same manner that I treat christianity. I am not afraid to publicly blaspheme your pedophile prophet Mohammed of Islam. I will do this on a corner, in a crowd or a parade! While so many others draw mohammed, I am Mohammed in open public! Am I worried about being attacked or death threats? I’m more worried that if I stay silent that the energy and emotion within me will be worse to me than being attacked or even death threats! So do your worst and I will do mine.” – Ernest Perce V, PA State Director

However, Daniel Loxton and Chris Steadman has Tweeted about it already, and I’ve since learned of this blog post – Reaction To A Hateful Post on Open Road Journal:

Now returning briefly to my personal story, My sister, much to my chagrin, wears a head-scarf in Houston, she gets called towel-head, stared at and mocked everywhere she goes. A teacher recently even tried to hold an ‘intervention’ for her telling her she was in America now and free to ‘escape’ from her ‘controlling’ husband. Now and then, she gets told to ‘go back to her country’, even though she was born in Illinois. I can see she has made a voluntary choice to follow a faith that is very difficult to follow in this country, it’s not a choice made lightly or with fundamentalist blindness. I have had long discussions with her, but I respect her right to dress as she does even if I do not agree with her. Are atheists respectful for those of us like her, those ‘fools’ who subject their bodies to crazy clothing because of an ancient Abrahamic stricture? Can you offer her something positive, instead of mocking her belief and driving her away? How can I introduce her to you, if that is what is posted boldly on your website? 

Chris Steadman had a blog-post from 2010 for suggested reading, which relates to the PA State director’s statement.

In other good news – I really enjoyed this blog-post: Skeptiko Host Alex Tsakiris on Monster Talk / Skepticality, and More on How to Spot Pseudoscience.

…and now I’m worried that writing about my thoughts at all is indicative of a ‘narcissistic update’?

I don’t know nor particularly care at this point. I must be a narcissist, damnit.

Regardless, I hope you have a good weekend. Here’s your kittens:

About Kylie Sturgess

Kylie Sturgess is a Philosophy teacher, media and psychology student, blogger at Patheos and podcaster at Token Skeptic. She has conducted over a hundred interviews including artists, scientists, politicians and activists, worldwide.
She’s the author of the ‘Curiouser and Curiouser‘ column at the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry website and travels internationally lecturing on feminism, skepticism, and science.

  • cmv

    I think the only real problem with the statement is the term “terroristic”. Of course it is anti-Islamic. Atheism, by it’s very nature, is anti-Islamic and anti-Christian and anti-whatever-other-religion-you-want-to-put-here. He draws a very specific comparison to his treatment of Christianity, and states that he will not treat Islam any better than he treats Christianity. Frankly, there are a lot of reports of death threats against people who openly “blaspheme” against Islam. He is simply stating that he will not be silenced in this way.
    The response you quote from doesn’t seem to be responding to the statement you linked to. In no way has Perce suggested that people should be mocked for wearing culturally specific clothing, or that they should be expelled from the country for their beliefs. This reads, to me, as a blanket statement that the religious beliefs of Islam will be no more respected by him than will the religious beliefs of any other group. Religion doesn’t get a free pass.

    There is more than a little irony in the first video – she had her hair, makeup, and nails done. She dressed nicely. She worked with the light to make herself look as presentable as possible. And then she recorded and posted this video, as if everyone in the world would be interested in her opinion of narcissism on Facebook.

    • Kylie Sturgess

      The quote I linked to is from a larger post, that I think should be read – and certainly emphasises that Muslim people are people. I disagree that atheism by its very nature is anti-Islamic or anti-Christian, it doesn’t have to be that way.
      Someone else pointed out that the ‘check me out on Twitter/Facebook!’ statement at the end of the video was kind of laughable too!

  • starskeptic

    and you wondered why kittens weren’t allowed in movie theaters…

    • Kylie Sturgess

      They fall asleep in your popcorn, for a start.

      • starskeptic

        …and chasing jujubes down the aisle…

        • Kylie Sturgess

          This one on my carpet at the moment cries during the sad bits. Loudly. And then insists on sitting on my lap, right in my line of view during the dramatic moments and being petted with loud purrs. She’s so never going to be invited back to the independent theatre circuit ever again as a festival judge. >:(

          • starskeptic

            …but very popular at the local poker game…

  • JOJO

    It’s a brutal criticism of the religion, but I wouldn’t say it completely unwarranted given such instances of brutality from the religion itself as the bombing of the Danish Embassy because a newspaper published cartoons it didn’t like.

    I wouldn’t confuse that with criticism of individuals whom the writer clearly doesn’t know from a bar of soap. Nor with mockery, as the second quote casts the criticism as.

    He’s not saying so and so’s sister is terroristic, he’s saying Islam is. I’ll give the stance is challenging, but no less than many statements I’ve seen from the religious. There are some times where making strong criticisms is necessary, other times where it is necessary to be diplomatic and speak to the individuals.