An Email from an Asshole
by Noah Lugeons
I should admit that when I first started this show, I assumed that by now I’d be getting a lot more of my material from slobbering, frothing, angry Christians who were sending me improperly capitalized death threats. Up to this point, I still really haven’t had an influx of hate mail. Almost all of the feedback we’ve gotten has been frustratingly positive.
So considering that, it wasn’t going to take much to earn the title of the biggest asshole that’s emailed the show so far. But thanks to Roger in Iowa, that bar has been raised. And unfortunately, the title currently belongs to an atheist. So how did Roger earn the coveted title of king of the rectums? Here’s a brief sampling of the ranting bullshit he sent me:
Why does every atheist seem to think I give a fuck about gays? Your show is supposed to be about atheism and you spend the half the show talking about fag marriage and how happy we should all be about that. What the fuck does that have to do with atheism? Atheism is just a lack of belief in god and I’m sick of people who try to make it into a political position. So if I don’t support gay marriage I’m not a “real” atheist?
And it just goes on and on like that for seven paragraphs (and that’s not even a whole paragraph there).
Now, buried amid his horse-fart rambling is a legitimate point that should be addressed. After all, the atheist movement often finds its weight being swung behind political movements that are only tangentially related to secularism. I’m sure this frustrates the libertarian wing of atheism up a wall, as these issues are almost exclusively liberal-leaning, but before I make any attempt to justify it, I should point out that there’s no pope of atheism. If the larger atheism movement swings one way or the other it’s only because a majority of its members swung that way. Nobody has the power to move us by fatwa.
But, that being said, there’s still a pretty logical reason why the atheist movement tends to rally behind things like gay rights; the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Most of the people who get active in atheism do so because they’re sick and fucking tired of watching people oppress other people in the name of religion. I’ve yet to hear the “secular” argument against homosexual equality so when I see the gay community win a victory, I interpret it as a victory against religion and religion’s influence in our society.
In fact, the framing of the discussion in episode 20 should make that pretty obvious. Heath and I hardly touched on the basic humanitarian justifications for full recognition of gay marriage. Instead, we focused on the ranting, petty, insane reactions from prominent Christians. We weren’t celebrating a step toward full human rights (though we probably should have been). We were celebrating the group we rally against getting smacked in the face.
So that takes care of the “legitimate” part of Roger’s point. Now let me address the larger “illegitimate” part. This whole argument that “atheism is just not believing in god so stop trying to make it mean more than that” nonsense really needs to stop. Yes, you pedantic fuck, that’s exactly what atheism means. So let me stop making any point on my blog or my podcast that isn’t simply a restating of the fact that god doesn’t exist. I’ll fill thirty minutes each week with not offering an opinion on anything except the existence of god. That should be fun.
Just back the fuck off and let this movement be what it is becoming. As atheism grows it will faction off and the people who want to just not believe in god can sit in their corner and just not believe in god. But those of us who choose to take it a step further and offer secular alternatives to the traditionally religious magesteria (morality, community, music, etc.) would appreciate being able to forge our path without dodging your stones.