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Atheists Should Study Gay Political Playbook
Washington Post ^ | 06/29/2011 | Susan Jacoby

Posted on 07/06/2011 7:52:03 PM PDT by nickcarraway

Atheists and agnostics have a lot to learn from gays about the essential role of coming out in any long-term battle for personal respect and political recognition in American society. When New York’s state Senate passed a historic bill legalizing gay marriage last weekend, I happened to be attending a reunion of my eighth-grade class at St. Thomas Aquinas School in East Lansing, MI. A striking fact about this group of men and women, raised on the Catholic and American verities of the 1950s, was that many of my classmates, influenced by gay relatives and friends, long ago discarded the anti-homosexual biases with which we were all raised. Atheism, however, is still—if not a dirty word—an uneasy secret. Several of my classmates told me quietly that they would be happy to be interviewed about their nonreligious beliefs but wanted to remain anonymous.

What gays learned, painfully, during the AIDS crisis of the 1980s is that not only self-respect but respect from others depends on owning up to (and owning) who you are and what you believe. Atheists in many walks of life have yet to learn that lesson. There is only one self-acknowledged atheist in Congress, Democratic Rep. Pete Stark of California.

There are undoubtedly many other politicians who hide their beliefs behind nominal church membership because they fear that owning up to atheism would end their political careers. And they might be right. But there is absolutely no way to make a positive case for secular values by pretending to be religious when you aren’t.

Several months ago, a spokesman for a respected secular organization told me about a member of the House who was uncertain about how to explain a seemingly antireligious vote in his heavily religious district. He was uncertain because

(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; Government; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: atheisms; atheists; civilrights; contagiousvictimhood; moralabsolutes; religion; secularism

1 posted on 07/06/2011 7:52:07 PM PDT by nickcarraway
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To: nickcarraway

Another atheist shouting “look at me - I’m important - and smarter than all you God-believers”.

Susan - personally, I don’t care what you think.


2 posted on 07/06/2011 8:01:40 PM PDT by ilovesarah2012
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To: AdmSmith; AnonymousConservative; Berosus; bigheadfred; Bockscar; ColdOne; Convert from ECUSA; ...
[snip] What gays learned, painfully, during the AIDS crisis of the 1980s is that not only self-respect but respect from others depends on owning up to (and owning) who you are and what you believe. [end]
That's why NAMBLA exists now. Thanks nickcarraway.


3 posted on 07/06/2011 8:02:42 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (Yes, as a matter of fact, it is that time again -- https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: nickcarraway

Americans need to take that same “playbook” and start shoving it up somebody’s ***.


4 posted on 07/06/2011 8:09:28 PM PDT by FlingWingFlyer (When the going gets tough, the tough check themselves into "rehab".)
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To: ilovesarah2012

Nothing enrages my militant lesbian cousin more than 3 little words.

“I Don’t Care”.


5 posted on 07/06/2011 8:11:40 PM PDT by cripplecreek (Remember the River Raisin! (look it up))
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To: nickcarraway

Why not? If you had told me, 30 years ago, that a political movement and victim group would be born based on the improper use of body orifaces, I would think you were crazy.

Now the legislature is signing bills in CA forcing children to learn respect for the deviancy.

Sodom and Gomorrahh, here we come.


6 posted on 07/06/2011 8:12:29 PM PDT by I still care (I miss my friends, bagels, and the NYC skyline - but not the taxes. I love the South.)
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To: nickcarraway

I know that atheists have it so rough in universities and acadameia.


7 posted on 07/06/2011 8:28:29 PM PDT by LukeL (Barack Obama: Jimmy Carter 2 Electric Boogaloo)
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To: nickcarraway

This once great nation is quickly becoming a nation full of Godless, infant/toddler murdering, sexual deviants.


8 posted on 07/06/2011 8:34:26 PM PDT by FlingWingFlyer (When the going gets tough, the tough check themselves into "rehab".)
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To: nickcarraway

I had way more respect for gays BEFORE I read “And The Band Played On”.


9 posted on 07/06/2011 8:37:22 PM PDT by Amberdawn
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To: nickcarraway

Conservatives should also study the playbook. After all, if a lobby which probably represents less than five percent of the population can impose its will on the other 95 percent, they must be doing something effective.


10 posted on 07/06/2011 8:44:41 PM PDT by Fiji Hill
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To: nickcarraway
As long as a majority of Americans see atheists as people with whom they could not possibly have anything in common, secularists will never wield political influence in proportion to their actual numbers.

OK, I'll help atheists and agnostics out so they don't have to go to all the trouble of starting a movement and all that: you're good enough, you're smart enough and, doggone it, people like you.

Besides, much of the culture is already functionally atheistic anyway, so what is your beef?

11 posted on 07/06/2011 8:44:41 PM PDT by Southside_Chicago_Republican ("It is terrible to contemplate how few politicians are hanged." -- G.K. Chesterton)
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To: I still care
Why not? If you had told me, 30 years ago, that a political movement and victim group would be born based on the improper use of body orifaces, I would think you were crazy.

Back in 1970, when the New Left began to embrace "gay liberation," I thought they were crazy, that they had overreached, and that they would marginalize themselves politically. I would never have imagined that our society would eventually adopt the entire "gay lib" agenda, and then some--same sex marriage, for example, being not even conceivable in 1970.

12 posted on 07/06/2011 8:51:17 PM PDT by Fiji Hill
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To: nickcarraway

What is so obnoxious is the author’s deliberate use of a passive voice. She is so “reasonable” so uncritical of believers that you would be a fanatic to claim that atheists are the enemy. This is another devise of Satan to destroy not only the United States but the world. Miss Jacoby seems functionally unintelligent if she thinks that secularism and atheism is getting a bum rap. Sure, politically it is anathema, now,but honestly if voters in NY could vote a fornicator into office, then it is unavoidable that one day an atheist would have no problem expressing his rebelliousness towards the Lord in the open.


13 posted on 07/06/2011 9:15:47 PM PDT by sueuprising (The best of it is, God is with us-John Wesley)
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To: nickcarraway

Pshh. I don’t want to be recognized or respected for my religious beliefs (or lack thereof). How freakin’ stupid. That’s a Muzzie thing. Believe or don’t believe in whatever you want. No one cares. (Yes, I am one of those very rare conservative atheists. Don’t bother flaming me, you’ll just give credence to this stupid article. Besides, I am on your side.)


14 posted on 07/06/2011 9:53:01 PM PDT by America_Right (The best thing about the Obama Presidency: McCain isn't the President!)
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To: America_Right

Are atheists trying to angle for some sort of special interest group status? I didn’t realize that atheist was such a problem, or issue, that somehow atheist is much worse than gay? Sure, the elites are trying to destroy religion, but most people don’t think about atheists at all. Specific religions like Muslim bother people, but I don’t really worry about atheists. The level of acceptance of gay is a lot lower than the author thinks it is.

A political candidate could easily take the 100% anti gay position and do well with it. Who was the last unsuccessful political candidate to try that? Seriously, we’re just getting sick of it. And transsexuals, that’s even crazier.
Can’t Rick Santorum start talking about this again, this time making a slightly different and better argument? Maybe one with words like “mental illness” “science” and “medicine”. Instead of “prayer”. When you start talking about curing mental illnesses with prayer instead of medicine, you start losing undecideds who believe in modern medicine, which is everybody. And we’ve got Marcus Bachmann who makes a living praying away the gay. I’m all for a War on Gay, instead of a War on Drugs. A better case could be made for a War on Gay.

Like: have you noticed there aren’t as many young people and so many old people. Abortion and Gay. We really shouldn’t be enouraging extinctionary behaviors. If everyone was gay, the human race would be extinct. I’m against the extinction of the human race. Same with abortions. It’s true that God doesn’t like it. But there are very good public policy reasons completely based on science and reason which indicate we should be discouraging these behaviors.


15 posted on 07/06/2011 11:12:02 PM PDT by truthfreedom
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To: nickcarraway
Nonsense. Atheists have been around for years; nobody bothered them; we do have something called freedom of religion, which also means freedom from religion if you want it. When the "atheists" get political, they're called communists. Trying to take away others' freedom is against this country and its ideals.
16 posted on 07/07/2011 12:02:00 AM PDT by Olog-hai
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To: ilovesarah2012

No, care what she thinks. Figure her out and then take her out. These people think they know what’s best for everyone else and if conservatives just try to ignore them while they infiltrate another unexplored wing of the “government-culture complex”, then they will happily go about destroying what’s left of this country’s traditions with impunity. My belief is that atheists, gays, druggies, trust fund kids, hipsters, delusional DINKs, bikers, communists, etc. should be free to ruin their lives as they see fit but in the privacy of their own homes, not in the public square.


17 posted on 07/07/2011 12:56:58 AM PDT by yup2394871293
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To: nickcarraway

I can’t decide. Who are more annoying, gays or atheists?


18 posted on 07/07/2011 1:13:03 AM PDT by dupree
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To: America_Right

What I think what many in our country have lost is the personal confidence in their own individual choices that enables people who disagree to engage in an enjoyable, intellectual exploration of their differences without coming to blows, unleashing streams of vituperative language, or coming to regard each other with derision.

If a controversial subject can be set at arm’s length, and eyed with a good degree of objectivity, speaking almost as if one has no interest in any particular conclusion, but as if exploring all the angles is the principle goal, this is the formula for the best conversation that can be had among parties who disagree.


19 posted on 07/07/2011 1:26:17 AM PDT by HKMk23 (YHVH NEVER PLAYS DEFENSE!)
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To: nickcarraway

St. Thomas Aquinas, eh? From the news/editorials touting gay marriage, it seems as if all the politicians favoring it had rosaries around their necks and portraits of Thomas More on their desktops, right next to those of their concubines. So it’s not real surprising to learn that the atheists too are steeped in the traditions of faith. At one time, we called their stance apostasy. Now it is evidently just more evidence of our fabulous diversity.


20 posted on 07/07/2011 5:15:53 AM PDT by madprof98 ("moritur et ridet" - salvianus)
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To: Fiji Hill

We underestimated the hatred for the American family, the nucleus of “God, Mother, and Apple Pie”.

All three institutions are under attack nowadays - that of faith, family, and the American exceptionalism (how prosperity comes).

Slowly people have woken up, and that is why suddenly politics has become so bitter - People who just thought others “wanted some space and some rights” have painfully come to realize that’s not the aim - the aim is destruction of THEIR lifestyle.


21 posted on 07/07/2011 7:54:59 AM PDT by I still care (I miss my friends, bagels, and the NYC skyline - but not the taxes. I love the South.)
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To: Amberdawn

Community opposition to treating AIDS like a health crisis and the resistance to closing the bath houses certainly did not help.


22 posted on 07/08/2011 8:34:46 PM PDT by newzjunkey
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To: newzjunkey

While it may be human nature to deny a problem, many gays early on held to the fantasy that someone outside themselves made them sick-The Government, CIA, Army Bio Warfare, etc. After suffering from millions of cases of other STD’s for a decade, they didn’t want to believe that they were, in essence, killing themselves.


23 posted on 07/08/2011 10:01:20 PM PDT by Amberdawn
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