Atheists excluded from Boston interfaith initiative.

Today there will be an interfaith event to mourn the victims of the Boston bombing.  The President himself will be in attendance.  But when they say interfaith, they really mean interfaith.

According to the program (PDF) for today’s “Interfaith Service” at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston, which will be attended by the President and the Governor of Massachusetts, atheists will have no representation there.

Speakers include representatives from the Protestant, Greek Orthodox, Catholic, Jewish, and Muslim faiths. But no Mormons and no Humanists, surprising given the religious makeup of Boston.

Do they imagine that out of 180 victims that somehow none of the grievers would be atheists?  Do they just not care if they are?

And part of the atheist response bugged me even more.  This is part of the press release from Zach Bos and the SCA of Massachusetts:

“It won’t be for lack of trying that we aren’t represented in the collective response to this tragedy,” said Zachary Bos, co-chair of the Secular Coalition for Massachusetts, and State Director for American Atheists. “We know that historically it’s been a easier to engage with people who are religiously-identifying and more likely to be organized. That is why we’ve been pro-active in calling elected officials and reaching out to religious colleagues, to find a way to be involved. If anything, the events of the past week tell us that we should be cultivating these relationships anyway, so that when tragedy does strike we are ready to respond immediately, a community of different philosophies united in common cause.

“We’re telling them we’re here and available to stand beside religious leaders at any interfaith event, so that these public responses can be representative of Bostonians of all ethical traditions. We seek to stand with our neighbors in showing compassion and resolve in the face of terrorism.

“This bombing has affected people of many different faiths and none. We’re doing all we can to give civic leaders the chance to make sure any interfaith event is truly inclusive.”

You’ve given them the chance to involve atheists and they haven’t.  I know the Harvard Humanists won’t quit begging for entry into the faith club, but at this point why should other atheists follow suit?  Set up a vigil just to fucking mourn, not to exclude others, and welcome anybody who wants to come.  Yeah, you won’t have the President, but you’ll at least have some integrity.  Here we have a group that has clearly discriminated against us for the crime of believing human beings, not magical beings who rise from the dead and who watched the bombers conceive and execute their scheme while not even calling the police, are the only source of relief and justice on this planet (funny how the medics, charity workers, and investigators who are all acting like this is the case aren’t similarly shunned).  What does it say about you that you’re so eager to join the ranks of people who clearly think less of you?

You’ve established you’re willing to work with people of faith.  Good on ya.  I support that.  But if the interfaith lot has decided, again, that turning their nose up at atheists and the needs of the atheist community is more important than working together, fuck ‘em.  They clearly have different priorities than we.

And if they want to splash “faith” over everything we do even when they do deign to allow us a place at the table, ditto.  Compassion for the grieving and charity belong to humanity, and shouldn’t be leeched to make the faithful feel more special than any other person.

Read this on the CNN article and thought it was relevant:

The city will make a formal effort of that Thursday with the planned 11 a.m. interfaith prayer service featuring Obama, Patrick and Cardinal Sean O’Malley, among others.

It’s time to “make room for love, said Lisa Conti, a graduate student in Boston.

“Imagine how much deeper the wound would be if we filled the empty spaces with hate instead of love.”

Yeah, make room for love…but not atheists.  Sorry if there’s not room for both.

I just…we’re the ones saying that sympathy must be extended to everybody regardless of their religious beliefs.  Why whine and beg to be a part of their club as if you think they’re better than us?  Your argument is that the mourning process should include everyone.  Why do you want to be all chummy with the people who clearly don’t think that’s the case?

I won’t beg to be included among people I don’t admire.

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About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.