Got religion? How would you like a sharp stick in the eye from an atheist for it? Well, yeah, I didn't think so! It was a rhetorical question after all! Yet some atheists around here simply refuse to ask themselves that rhetorical question or, in asking, provide themselves only one answer: I. Don't. Care.
This strident self assuredness only reinforces itself in comment threads such that nothing is off limits and no suspicion runs too deep. Basically, if you believe in God or are otherwise religious, any other attitude, opinion, etc. seems to be, to borrow a verse, fruit of a rotten tree.
Now is that anyway to behave at a rock-n-roll concert?
(Borrowed another line there.)
I'm an atheist myself. But I'm writing this diary because some folks are giving atheism a bad name.
Think about it. Gallup just did a survey and found that 92% of Americans believe in God! 92%!
For 92% of Americans, God exists. With that kind of plurality, why don't we just lock up atheists? Answer: Secularism.
In short, secularism is the act of keeping religious doctrines out of public policy. Sometimes it's thought of as the separation of church and state. It is not atheism. In fact, a secularist approach would hold atheism in roughly the same light as its opposite religions. This is where some of my atheist friends seem to go off the rails. They seem to think atheism is the key to good public policy and they brush aside secularism.
Candidates for office, fellow Kossacks, and the public at large mostly hold some degree of religious belief and practice. Yet even where the most crucial public policy questions of the day are scientific questions such as global warming, secularism is more than adequate to the task of guiding the discussion.
It is fair game to ask candidates questions whose answers will define whether they intend to adhere to secularism. And it is fair to look at a candidate's record in that light. However, these questions should be asked of all political candidates whether they carry deep, tepid or no religiosity. This isn't a religious test. This is a test as to whether the candidate intends to uphold the constitution itself.
Progressives and liberals are now and have been in a pitched battle with conservatives in areas of social policy. Beyond the very legitimate goals of reproductive freedom, marriage equality, a color blind society, science education etc. for real people is the overarching goal of obtaining a secular society. Conservatives who fear a secular society often confuse it with an atheistic theocracy (if you will). Yet they seem to have no fear of theocracy itself as long as it is the one they impose.
So some stuff has gotten republished to the "Trolls" group and doughnuts have been a flying. Heck, I tossed one at one point. Thus the title of the diary. I think it's deserved. (Update: on the eve of publishing this diary, I've noticed one of the users whose behavior prompted me to write this now has that boney mojo!) There's a better way forward. One that does not insist on dividing the community along religious v. non-religious lines, but instead calls on this community's highest virtue. That's the adherence to secularism.