Brother! Where Art Thou?
(Editorial Comment from host RJ Evans on his American Heathen® radio show – Air Date 01/28/11)
In his State of the Union address, President Obama said the following:
“Our troops come from every corner of this country — they’re black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American. They are Christian and Hindu, Jewish and Muslim. And, yes, we know that some of them are gay. Starting this year, no American will be forbidden from serving the country they love because of who they love.”
Anyone notice what’s missing? Does anyone really care? I do. And, the very fact that Atheists, Agnostics, Humanists, Secularists are missing from the Presidents accolades to those who serve our country should not go unanswered.
I tweeted a message that night. “Obama neglects to include Atheists and secularists who serve our country in harm’s way! Figures. What an asshole!”
Yes, Mr. President. You are an asshole. I gave you my vote and after two and a half years, I can honestly say that you are an asshole and a sellout. You have bought into manifest destiny, hook line and sinker. You have hypocrisy written all over your face and throughout your words. And, hypocrisy always reveals the lies.
But, who deserves the blame? Sure, we can lay blame on a lot of folks. But, the truth is that we can only blame ourselves. The Atheist community is void of direction and without much commitment to changing the social and political paradigm. Even though a fairly significant number of Americans, about 29.5 million, claim to be without religion, only 902,000 positively claim to be Atheist. Why? Why are there so few people willing to live and breathe their non-belief? Apparently the closet is the place to be.
All over the internet, one can find the only vestige of Atheist openness in quantity. Here you can find all matter and manner of opinion and protest. But, outside of this binary venue, the visible voices of non-belief are hushed at best, at worst, they are absolutely silent. And, while the religious run roughshod over human and civil rights, the only visible, non-binary complaints are from Atheists who refuse to live in the dark and desolate closet bought and paid for by religion. These Atheists are not afraid to identify themselves as Atheist, and in some cases make it crystal clear. They are not afraid to wear the badge of non-belief openly and honestly, and they defend the default position of Atheism with honor and vigor. But how few.
If one were to take the binary world of Atheism at face value, one could easily assume that a war against irrational, unreasoned, religiously driven bigotry was well underway. A battle so loud and fierce that no one could possibly miss the evidence of its carnage. Laws changing, people reeling from an onslaught of reason, logic and science rolling across the religious, political and social landscape. But, in reality… nothing. Oh yeah, a lawsuit here, a billboard there, a bumper sticker for Darwin… Shouldn’t reason, logic and science be a universal language that demands an open and aggressive defense?
From my open and aggressively Atheist mountaintop, most of us appear to be cowards. Keyboard warriors in the first degree. For whatever reasons… check that… excuses, Atheists would rather hide in fear than live freely and openly. They would much rather bitch, moan and complain from the comfort and perceived safety of their binary bitch terminal. For me, this screams cop-out, irrational, unreasoned, unsubstantiated fear. I ask, where are your balls? Where is your commitment to force change? Where is your desire to live a life of freedom and liberty? How long will you remain in the shadows giving religion a free pass? How long will you continue to play a helpless victim? How much longer will you allow religion to soil and tarnish the word atheist, a word that simply means lack of belief?
Go ahead and hide! Give religion what it wants! Give it your silence! Let religion’s shame of the word atheist be your shame! Sure, pick a different word or phrase to camouflage your lack of belief. Make it more palatable to your conqueror. Appease the self-righteous bigots and their bastardization of the definition of the word atheist! But, remember… you may eventually have to swear allegiance to their god of choice. Your silence, your inability to stand for reason, logic, science and evidence, has consequences. Not only for you but the rest of humanity. For all your bloviating in cyberspace… for all your bravado on the bits and bytes of the world stage… Is there at least one of you who has the courage to live in the real world unafraid? Is there at least one of you who can live a life of godlessness outside of your closet?
You know Mr. President… Maybe I was a little to hasty to call you an asshole and a sellout. Maybe you were right to exclude Atheists from your speech. From the looks of things, I’d say that we really don’t give a shit enough to deserve that kind of significance when we refuse to stand up and be counted.