FreeThought Fort Wayne

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Posts Tagged ‘discrimination’

How to ally with atheists

Posted by neuralgourmet on December 17, 2008

National Tertiary Education Union.Contrary to popular belief, atheists are not necessarily loners. On the whole, we enjoy socializing with other people as much as anyone. And corrolary to that, organized atheists such as FreeThought Fort Wayne want to ally themselves with other social and community groups that share our values. We recognize that there’s power in numbers.

That can be a bit of a minefield though as many groups that might naturally be our allies can unintentionally make it hard for us by perpetuating common myths and soft discrimination against atheists. To that end, Greta Christina wrote a great article on How To Be An Ally with Atheists that lists some of the top dos and don’ts when working with atheists. I’ll summarize Greta’s points here but please do read her whole blog post.

  1. Familiarize yourself with the common myths and misconceptions about atheists — and don’t perpetuate them.
  2. Familiarize yourself with what it’s like to be an atheist, both in the U.S. and in the rest of the world.
  3. Find common ground.
  4. Speak out against anti-atheist bigotry and other forms of religious intolerance.
  5. Be inclusive of atheists.
  6. Don’t divide and conquer, and don’t try to take away our anger.
  7. If you’re going to accuse an atheist or an atheist group of being intolerant — be careful, and make sure that’s really what they’re being.
  8. Do not — repeat, DO NOT — talk about “fundamentalist atheists.”
  9. Be aware of how religious belief gives you a place of mainstream and privilege.

Now, after reading Greta’s post, some might be tempted to say, “Oh those atheists, whining and stomping their feet again.” Well, if you’re one of them I can assure you that Greta’s post went over your head. Atheists are natural allies of progressives everywhere. You may not agree with or understand our disbelief in the supernatural, but you do share, at the very least, our desire for a society in which there is equality and justice for all regardless of who they are or what they believe. And while organized atheists are a relatively new phenomenom, we are getting organized and our numbers are growing. Can you really afford to ignore us?

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