I’ve been wanting to write about privilege and how I realized I had it even though I didn’t want it. I wanted to speak about how it affects me, or doesn’t; about how I try to minimize it where possible, and about how it makes me feel when I realize it. I wanted to discuss male gamers and their loathsome attacks on female gamers and the articles written by John Scalzi and others about this very thing. But I’ve yet to find the proper words, and so, this is not that article.
No, this article is about Christian Persecution™and how I know it’s complete bullshit.
I was in a situation just a few minutes ago that I’m still reeling from just a little bit. During a conversation, a comment was made that “You have to have a strong moral center …” which was the beginning of a comment about needing God in your life, and I said, “Why do you have to have God to have morals? I’m an Atheist, I’m moral.” I found his comment slightly insulting, but he didn’t have any problem putting it out there. But a few seconds later when discussing my mother, the Evangelical, I said “I’m not a Christian because I’m not a hateful bigot.” he got very offended. And then I felt slightly threatened. And after a short verbal shuffle where others pointed out I was talking about my mother, I apologized.
To clarify – Do I think folks who believe in God are hateful bigots? Not really, no. Do I think people who are involved in institutionalized and organized religion are, for the most part, hateful bigots? Probably not. Do I think the institutions themselves are breeding grounds for hateful bigotry? Yes, I do. For an example, Prop 8 and the African anti-gay laws. Religious institutions as the extension of a very few religious folk caused and are causing lots of problems for gay people. Prop 8 treats them like second class citizens. The African laws treat them as less than human. Both are promoted by the Catholic, Mormon, and Evangelical churches. I can’t think of an Atheist institution (assuming they exist) are promoting this sort of hatred or bigotry.
In other words, all Atheists probably don’t have a strong moral center, but it’s good guess most do of Atheists would be raping and killing and stealing en masse, and that’s just not the case; it’s far more likely a Klansman or Good ‘ol boy in a pick-up truck beating up minorities or Prop 8 supporter are religious in some way. Mainly because there are more religious folk than Atheists, but also because there are provisions within the religions that make it OK to hate people not like them. Atheists have no such mandate.
But I apologized. I received no such apology. After all, it’s OK to insult an Atheist, they’re not like real people, with feelings given by God and morals given by God and the God-given RIGHT to tell them exactly what’s wrong with them!
So, I backed off. I reversed myself. I said I was sorry to cause an issue. I left. And I felt like shit. And I can guarantee that, assuming this resonated with him at all, in his head, he was the one who was persecuted and attacked for his beliefs. And I know he feels righteous about it. Because when you’re persecuted for your beliefs, that’s how you’re supposed to feel.