HNN Readers React
Mar. 10, 2010
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Empathy for Alienated Atheist
(Re: Foreign Policy + Religion = Disaster, Humanist Network News, Mar. 03, 2010.)
The Chicago Council on Global Affairs should send someone to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva to see how making religion "integral" to foreign affairs works in practice. In fact, all 17 Islamic member states of the Human Rights Council have done just as the Chicago Council recommended–to the detriment of human rights around the world. Criticism of Islamic terror (a phrase we are not actually allowed to use), attempts to defend freedom of expression or promote women's equality, and discussions about the evils of Sharia law are all are greeted with cries of "Islamophobia."
The real problem with the Chicago Council is that they fail to distinguish between secularism –which demands neutrality in matters of religion and champions equal rights for believers and non-believers alike–and hostility to religion.
–Roy Brown, IHEU Main Representative, United Nations
Confront True Believers
Reading Humanist Network News can be very frustrating. Every issue points out many examples of nasty, unfair, illegal, violent and religiously bigoted treatment of humanists, atheists and agnostics. At the same time, you admonish the so-called New Atheists for confronting these people for their demonizing attitude toward non-believers.
History aptly teaches us that a passive, non-confrontational approach to achieving social equality and acceptance is doomed to failure. It took nearly three quarters of a million dead to abolish slavery; women took up signs and marched in the streets to get the vote; and blacks marched, rallied and used in-your-face civil disobedience to overthrow segregation in the United States and apartheid in South Africa.
Never forget that "true believers" of supernaturalism are immune to evidence and reason. They must be verbally confronted whenever and wherever they espouse demonstrably false, illegal, unconstitutional or socially unacceptable beliefs. We will likely never change the true believers themselves, but we must actively challenge their vile disregard for the human rights of non-believers and others.
–George Kalis, Brooklyn, Michigan