I started writing this when I was still going on about the Protest The Pope campaign, and the resulting backlash against Dawkins’s few minutes of speaking to a small crowd, which for some people who weren’t there was the only important thing about the 12,000-strong day of campaigning. But then I forgot to get it finished.
And actually, this post is a return to another prominent bugbear of mine from recent weeks. This article was written in response to the Koran book-burning that didn’t go ahead last month. What would be the global reaction to a similar “attack” against a demographic who were not religious?
Atheists, who hadn’t been expected to come out in pick-up trucks with gun racks on their rear windows and circle his church with their engines revving like goaded Rottweilers, didn’t.
In Britain and France, countries that remember the Enlightenment, and in Russia, with her seven decades of secularism still befuddling her, nobody burnt Uncle Sam in effigy and mobs of unbelievers didn’t riot and burn churches, nor were believers flogged or beaten. So far the body count is nil. Atheists have turned the other cheek. Christians have called this a nasty plagiarism.
All sounds about right. And makes me wonder, in fact, whether we shouldn’t consider encouraging such an event ourselves, as a chance to demonstrate the value of chilling the hell out about shit that doesn’t matter.
So, maybe the next time some Koran-burning or similar kerfuffle makes it into the news (and you know it’s only a matter of time), this would be a way of showing what we’re about. Sure, buy up some Dawkins, Hitchens, Darwin, and the rest of them, and consign them to the fire. So long as they’re your property and you’re not contravening fire safety laws, you will find no objection from the atheist quarter. We’re proud of our message, but we don’t feel driven to indignant fury and unjustifiable personal attacks, over nothing more than an impersonal and unobtrusive sign of disrespect.
Ooh, I’ve just had a thought: Bonfire Night’s in a month. Maybe this would be a good time to make a point with a selection of literature.
(h/t The Friendly Atheist)