Freedom from the Petty
Only weeks after mounting a stupendously uncreative display denouncing all religion in the Washington state capitol building, Freedom From Religion has joined other activist atheists and humanists in a lawsuit against the use of “so help me God” in the oath of office for President.
Meanwhile thousands of Christian, Jewish and Muslim charity organizations are providing food, shelter and clothing for needy individuals and families struck by economic and environmental disasters. Granted, these same religions foment violence, intolerance, and abuse.
But wouldn’t it be great if there were recognizably atheist organizations that performed similar acts of charity and humanitarian service to the people suffering misfortune? What if in July of this year we had a huge push for giving and soup kitchens and all those other displays of generosity we so often see during the winter holidays? After all, it’s not like the homeless and the poor go hungry only between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
For me this is not merely a rhetorical concern – that is, what messages such stupid lawsuits send about the values of atheists and secular humanists. What about where laytheists like yerz truly can donate his dough? Or get more seriously involved? Our society promotes selfish values of materialism and consumption that induce just enough guilt for religionists to purge at the holiday season without seriously addressing the fundamental inequalities of our economy and democracy that make poverty so difficult to escape. There are religious people working all year long to right such wrongs, but where are the atheist and humanist organizations with similar missions? We need to get beyond these petty activities that just piss off taxpayers, regardless of their religious affiliations. Surely I am not the only atheist who saw this article and thought “frivolous lawsuit.”