Bullshit Philosophy

Half-assed political and religious commentary from a cynical left-winger

BLAST FROM THE PAST: Anti-atheist Bigotry in the IL Legislature

Posted by Kevin on December 20, 2008

[originally posted 4/6/08]

I was just forwarded this piece of anti-atheist bigotry which occurred before a committee of the Illinois General Assembly. Atheist (and Green candidate for state rep. in the 53rd district) Rob Sherman was testifying against a plan to donate tax dollars to a church in Chicago. Rep. Monique Davis (D-Chicago) lashed out at Sherman, declaring that, as quoted in the title of the post, “it’s dangerous for our children to even know that your philosophy exists!” Davis continues: “You have no right to be here! We believe in something. You believe in destroying! You believe in destroying what this state was built upon.”

Follow the above link for both a transcript and audio of the exchange. Pretty disgusting stuff. More info can also be found on Rob Sherman’s site in the April 4 post, but there’s no permalink.

What Sherman encountered was not just some random fluke, but what anyone who publicly questions Christianity has probably encountered from the devout at some point. I still remember the right-wing chain email I got from my Catholic grandma (who doesn’t know about my religious beliefs) saying that the nonreligious should just be told to “sit down and shut up.” These kind of sentiments come not just from crazed fundamentalists, but from otherwise nice and well-intentioned people and/or in some cases relatively moderate believers.

Why do they view atheism as such a threat? I think it’s because to anyone who believes that Christianity is the “one true way” and those who don’t follow it will suffer for eternity, opposition is not merely a difference of opinion but is stupid and dangerous. They don’t see why they should be expected to tolerate false beliefs, or why people should have the opportunity to be led astray. From this view, it makes perfect sense to force their beliefs on people, especially children.

Anyone who questions Christianity is tends to be seen by the Rep. Davis’ of the world as a threat to society. Which begs the question: if their beliefs are so self-evidently true, then why are they so afraid criticism? Can’t Christianity stand on its own? Is the outward show of piety just a mask for their own insecurity, a la Mother Teresa?

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