Discovering the secularist cause: New post at Examiner.com

Here's my latest at Examiner.com, under my new title, "DC Secularism Examiner." It's a brief history of what brought me to writing about atheist activism.

A taste:

As I put my career in professional theatre temporarily aside (populated by a generally liberal and socially tolerant demographic) and toward politics, I came to realize that while my own "soft" marginalization was surely unwarranted, I really didn't know how bad atheists had it in America at large. No one was keeping us from voting, setting police dogs on us, or subjecting us to formal inquisition, but I was exposed to polls that showed atheists among the country's least trusted and least liked groups. I found that with insanely rare exceptions, atheists were effectively (and in some cases explicitly) barred from public office. It felt to me like a major part of the 20th century's push for equal civil rights for all had not truly realized its full potential, for not only were there great strides yet to be made for the larger minority groups, but atheists were among those who almost no one had thought to include in the struggle -- that few wanted in the struggle.

So atheists in the political sphere became my thesis topic. Looking only somewhat closely, it was suddenly very clear that I lived in a culture that saw atheists as any or all of the following; immoral, misguided, untrustworthy, nihilistic, narcissistic, egotistical, and even existentially dangerous. Apart from the public perception of atheists, the rise of the New Atheists like Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Daniel Dennett fueled a separate imperative: Not only was it time to give atheists social and political equality, but it was also time to remove the force field of unquestionability from religion as it encroached on public policy. I saw that the faith-based mindset was not always a simple matter of private reflection, as contorted notions of political correctness have led us to think, but that it could have enormous impact on what our leaders do and how our neighbors decide how to vote. Not only were atheists being marginalized, but so was reason itself.


Click here to see the whole thing, and thanks!

Views: 7

Tags: analysis, atheism, columnist, dc, examiner, journalism, politics, public, relations, washington

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Comment by unholyroller on March 1, 2009 at 12:55am
HAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAA......Thanks, but I would rather eat broken glass, die and go to hell than get in volved in politics///at least overtly ;)
Comment by Paul Fidalgo on February 28, 2009 at 12:39am
So glad you all dig it. Unholyroller: most and least trusted? Sounds like you're ready for politics. :)
Comment by Rosemary LYNDALL WEMM on February 28, 2009 at 12:35am
Great stuff!
Comment by unholyroller on February 28, 2009 at 12:34am
Every year that poll comes out that lists the most and least trusted members of society. Nurses consistantly are listed as the most trusted, atheiats as the least. I'm an atheist nurse. Where does that put me??? Also, I deeply resent being considered less moral and worthy than child molesting priests/ministers, politicians, and used car salesmen. I've been a quiet non-beliver for 35 years, but reading posts from this site and joining the local atheist group (Yes! Atheists in Oklahoma!) have prompted me to become much more outspoken and active. I predict my life will get very interesting in the future. Thanks for your informative and entertaining column.
Comment by Paul Fidalgo on February 27, 2009 at 4:40pm
many thanks!
Comment by cj the cynic on February 27, 2009 at 4:17pm
Congratulations on the Examiner column!

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