Here we go again…

Yet another post having to explain the same damn things.  This time it’s in response to a piece on the message American Atheists posted on a truck that circled the third presidential debate and then followed Mitt Romney’s campaign bus out of town.

In the article, Renee Nal says…

Really? An Atheist group attacks Mormons with a billboard in Boca Raton, Florida. The nasty and intolerant message proclaims, “No Blacks Allowed (until 1978)” and “No Gays Allowed (Current).”

Yes, it’s an ugly message.  What bothers me is why she is so angry at American Atheists for pointing it out and not at the Mormon church for creating those facts.  Renee does nothing to rebut the racism or the LGBT bigotry of the Mormon church, but she’s sure got her knickers in a twist at American Atheists for mentioning it.

The religion of Harry Reid is clearly only an issue when a conservative subscribes to Mormonism.

Wrong!  Mormonism is just as ludicrous and its history is just as tainted by prejudice regardless of who holds it.  But Mitt gets the truck because he’s running for President.  A Democrat believing in Mormonism does nothing to unmake its immoral past.

…the President of the group responsible for the billboard, David Silverman, justifies the attack by saying, “We feel that America doesn’t know or understand the possible ramifications of a Mormon president.” He continued to state, “Mormonism is marketed to us as another sect of Christianity. But it is not.” Why does he care? He does not believe in anything. He is clearly making a political statement.

Going to go out on a limb here and say that he cares because racism is bad.  So is discrimination against LGBT people.  And he probably cares because neither Mitt Romney nor the Mormon church have said that the Church was wrong for those 150 years.  That paints Romney as a person who would be obedient first to the doctrines of Mormonism and second (at best) to the laws of the United States.  Given that the Mormon church seems incapable of recognizing that racism is immoral without divine revelation, this could be a problem for the country in which Mr. Silverman lives.  That’s probably why he cares.

One would think that a secular group would be particularly understanding of freedom of religion.

We are understanding.  How is that sign infringing on your freedom of religion?  If “freedom of religion” to you means the freedom to advance racism and bigotry without criticism, do you really have to ask why we think religion is a detriment to humanity?

Why would anyone actively bash others’ deeply held beliefs?

Because those beliefs are ridiculous and those people can do better.

This billboard seems to be more about party than Mormonism. If David Silverman really wanted to expose Mormonism, he probably would have attacked Harry Reid.

Hrm, I don’t see anything on there about Republicans, just about Mormonism.  The billboard legitimately criticizes the Mormon religion and all those who agree with it.  It is pointed at Harry Reid’s Mormonism just as it is at Mitt Romney’s.

What an arrogant loser. Mormons, like secular Americans, like anyone, deserve to practice their beliefs without being mocked or demeaned.

No!  Absolutely not!  It is not arrogance to say that racism was never acceptable.  It is not arrogance to say that gays are equal human beings.  Neither is it arrogance to say that people do not rise from the dead or walk on water.  It is also not arrogance to say that Joseph Smith was a fraud.  The penalty for believing irrational things that you cannot defend is to suffer the slings and arrows of derision for it.  Calling your asinine, and anti-human beliefs “religion” doesn’t exempt you from this.

The fault does not rest with others for saying “that’s ridiculous.”  The fault lies with those who have adopted ridiculous beliefs and who expect others to respect the ridiculous.  My friend Ryan said it best:

On the matter of tolerance: While we must give everyone the right to the freedom of speech, we do not have to extend our respect for what they say. Nor should we. If someone is spreading blatantly incorrect or immoral ideas and “values”, it is our right (and I might argue duty) in a society that does not legally regulate its speech to point out how stupid and fundamentally wrong that person is. Don’t get offended if you cannot defend those ideas. Change your mind.

Neither do atheists deserve freedom from being mocked or demeaned.  The difference is that our beliefs can be defended, so we don’t need to demand they never be criticized.

Something tells this author that Silverman is not a Romney supporter.

I don’t know, honestly.  But I hope he’s not.  Mitt Romney deserves to lose this election.

(Thanks to Matt Dillahunty for the link)

  • iknklast

    I do so hate that old canard “He doesn’t care about anything”. I’ve been given that several times. Being an atheist means we don’t believe in God; it doesn’t mean we don’t believe in anything. I will “believe” in what can be established by evidence. And as for things that may not be evidentiary, I believe in equal rights. I believe in justice. I believe in fair play. I believe in extending to other individuals the same rights I claim for myself (and, as a woman, claiming for myself those rights that have been extended to other individuals). My experience with Dave Silverman suggests that he probably “believes” many of the same things I do…and, like me, his atheism merely means he doesn’t believe in god(s), not that he doesn’t believe in anything.

  • RuQu

    Openly mocking a religion negatively impacts a religion’s ability to tell their congregation blatant lies to enforce obedience and encourage tithing. The lack of strict obedience and free flowing cash limits their ability to practice their religion, just as the Supreme Court deemed that limits on corporate campaign contributions limits their right to speech.

    Do you hate America, JT? For shame.

  • UsingReason

    I fully support calling Mormons on their bullshit and I think that Mitt should have been asked some hard questions just as JFK was for being a Catholic, but I find the use of asterisks on that billboard to be deceptive. Obviously this was the intent as nobody can read the footer from their car.

    This seriously pisses me off. There is no need to be deceptive, just be honest and tell it like it is. It just makes it look like you are playing games and then I have to examine every statement made to be sure you are not playing more deceptive games. Being deceptive does not help the cause because it makes people ask, ‘why?’. Why be deceptive if you have a good argument? It is a bad billboard. My opinion.

  • Clearly About Politics

    Established: Racism and Homophobia = BAD. However, this billboard is designed to isolate “perceived beliefs” in a clear effort to disparage a political candidate. Cherry picking sins of the past is not helpful to anyone. One could point to the fact that Bill Clinton belonged to an all-white country club in 1992…but for some reason, nobody does.

    Is it “tolerance” to promote tolerance of certain groups while mocking other groups (ie Mormons). The intent is clear. It is about politics, and with the statement “Mitt Romney deserves to lose this election” says that it is for this author, as well.

    As a non-believer, I am offended by the billboard. It does not represent “reason”, it is a clear attack. All one needs to do is read Silverman’s Twitter feed to see that he is not a Romney supporter. If it walks like a duck…in this case it walks like a political attack.


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