Richard Dawkins wants America's atheists to stand up and be counted. He wants them to form a lobby that's capable of challenging the religious culture they inhabit. He says that about 10% of the nation is atheist - if these godless millions unite, then they can begin to influence national politics. Dawkins has even tried to start the ball rolling, by launching a movement called the Out Campaign.
The name echoes the gay rights movement, of course, and so does Dawkins' rhetoric: he talks of coaxing the nervous atheists out of the closet. The implication is that atheists are at present victims of discrimination. Dawkins cites the evidence of his postbag: he has received letters from atheists who are scared to come out, he says. Some fear the anger of families, others fear that they will be fired.
He offers another comparison:
"When you think about how fantastically successful the Jewish lobby has been, though, in fact, they are less numerous, I am told - religious Jews anyway - than atheists and [yet they] more or less monopolise American foreign policy as far as many people can see. So if atheists could achieve a small fraction of that influence, the world would be a better place."
The comparison of American atheists to both homosexuals and Jews is very interesting. It is tantamount to crying: "Let's seek influence through posing as a victimised minority!" How Nietzsche would smile at the sight of a man so blatantly trying to foster a sense of resentment. American atheists "have been downtrodden for a very long time" he says, "so I think some sort of political organisation is what they need."
What is it that Dawkins actually wants? On one level the gay rights analogy gives the answer: he wants an end to discrimination against this minority. Apparently Americans distrust atheists more than any other minority group, including homosexuals, recent immigrants, or Muslims. He wants a cultural change, in which atheism becomes seen as a perfectly respectable viewpoint.
But the gay rights analogy is actually less relevant than the Jewish one. The truth is that Dawkins does not want equal rights; he wants what he says that the Jewish lobby has: disproportionate influence. If atheists had more political power, "the world would be a better place". He wants the gospel of atheism to spread; he wants it to change the culture. (Continue Reading.)
Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Deliver Us from Dawkins
Just what the world needed. More complaining about imaginary persecution. Thanks Richard.