I recently read a post on Greta Christina’s Blog titled Atheists and Anger that attempts to address the issue. Among the many examples of infuriating issues cited by the author are the following:
I’m angry that according to a recent Gallup poll, only 45 percent of Americans would vote for an atheist for President.
I’m angry that the 41st President of the United States, George Herbert Walker Bush, said of atheists, in my lifetime, “No, I don’t know that atheists should be regarded as citizens, nor should they be regarded as patriotic. This is one nation under God.” My President. No, I didn’t vote for him, but he was still my President, and he still said that my lack of religious belief meant that I shouldn’t be regarded as a citizen.
I’m angry that it took until 1961 for atheists to be guaranteed the right to serve on juries, testify in court, or hold public office in every state in the country.
I’m angry that women are dying of AIDS in Africa and South America because the Catholic Church has convinced them that using condoms makes baby Jesus cry.
I get angry when advice columnists tell their troubled letter-writers to talk to their priest or minister or rabbi… when there is absolutely no legal requirement that a religious leader have any sort of training in counseling or therapy.
I’m angry at preachers who tell women in their flock to submit to their husbands because it’s the will of God, even when their husbands are beating them within an inch of their lives.
I’m angry that so many parents and religious leaders terrorize children — who (a) have brains that are hard-wired to trust adults and believe what they’re told, and (b) are very literal-minded — with vivid, traumatizing stories of eternal burning and torture to ensure that they’ll be too frightened to even question religion.
I’m angrier when religious leaders explicitly tell children – and adults, for that matter — that the very questioning of religion and the existence of hell is a dreadful sin, one that will guarantee them that hell is where they’ll end up.
I’m angry — enraged — at the priests who molest children and tell them it’s God’s will. I’m enraged at the Catholic Church that consciously, deliberately, repeatedly, for years, acted to protect priests who molested children, and consciously and deliberately acted to keep it a secret, placing the Church’s reputation as a higher priority than, for fuck’s sake, children not being molested.
I’m angry that huge swaths of public policy in this country — not just on same-sex marriage, but on abortion and stem-cell research and sex education in schools — are being based, not on evidence of which policies do and don’t work and what is and isn’t true about the world, but on religious texts written hundreds or thousands of years ago, and on their own personal feelings about how those texts should be interpreted, with no supporting evidence whatsoever — and no apparent concept of why any evidence should be needed.
I’ll add one more of my own to the list: I’m angry that people seem to think that they’re the exception to the rules of religion. Their believes (no matter how horrible or dangerous) are acceptable, as long as they feel that they are acting based on God’s will. They distance themselves from other religious believers who claim the same thing and do thing with which they might not agree. People need to be accountable and should oppose pointless wars and social injustice – whether it’s purportedly God’s will or not.
It was tempting for me to copy the entire article, but I highly recommend reading the entire article. I have written about many of these issues in past blog postings, and I hope that they help inform people of America’s position on religion and those who do not believe in superstition. I would have hoped that important events like the freeing of slaves and the Civil Rights movement in the United States have taught us something about what we should and should not tolerate. Personally, I find it surprising that people would not be angry at some of these things.
I would ask: If anger is not the most appropriate reaction to these outrages, what is?