Skip to comments.Atheists say it's time to 'push back' fundamentalism
Posted on 05/22/2005 6:53:03 PM PDT by NormsRevenge
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - To the uninformed, this weekend gathering here may have seemed like a church revival, full of zeal and fervor. But worshipping God was most decidedly not part of the agenda.
The attendees of the "All Atheists Weekend" gathered to discuss what they call the rise of fundamentalism in the U.S. and the blurring of lines between church and state.
Attendees also took time to view documentaries that question the historical accuracy of the Bible - and to hear lectures about the dangers of religious icons on public property and problems with President Bush's so-called "faith-based initiative," which seeks to give religious groups equal footing in seeking federal grants to provide social services.
Organizers said they expected more than 250 people to take part in the event, which featured a lecture by Ellen Johnson, the president of American Atheists. The gathering began Friday and continued through Sunday at various spots throughout the city.
The religious right's increasing involvement in U.S. politics has triggered an angry backlash among the godless, say Bay area atheist groups, five of which organized the weekend event.
"It's time for us to push back," said psychologist Jaime Arcila, 52, of San Francisco, who was accompanied by his two children, Javier, 15, and Amanda, 12, in a tiny theater Saturday night just south of downtown.
Arcila, who is not an official member of any atheist group, said he was prompted to attend Saturday's showing of "The God Who Wasn't There," along with about 100 other people, because of what he sees as a growing intolerance in the U.S. for people with alternative views and lifestyles.
Arcila, who was raised by Catholic parents, said the nation needs more dialogue about "peace, tolerance, justice, and love," not exclusion based on a difference of ideas.
Ali, a 36-year-old native Iranian, agreed. He declined to give his last name because he said he wants to return to his Muslim-dominated homeland someday and fears that he could be persecuted should he be identified as an atheist.
Ali said he knows all too well the effects of religious fundamentalism on a society from his own experiences in his native country.
Nations that accept only one set of values or beliefs are "restrictive and stifling," Ali said.
"I was a Muslim but stopped believing after a lot of pain and after a lot of thought," he said. "Being here at this event is encouraging me not to be afraid. It strengthens me and helps me stand up for what I believe."
But just how tolerant of Christianity and other religions are the atheists?
"We don't hate Christians," said David Fitzgerald, 40, an insurance broker and member of San Francisco Atheists. "People in this country are free to believe in whatever they want."
Nonetheless, during the Saturday night movie, the crowd booed and hissed when a photo of Pat Robertson was displayed on the screen.
Robertson, the founder of the Christian Broadcasting Network and a former U.S. presidential candidate, is a leader in the efforts by some religious groups to return America and its government to Christian values.
Fitzgerald offered no apologies.
"Robertson and other Theocrats scare the hell out of us," Fitzgerald said. "They want to turn a democracy into a theocracy. Even Christians are afraid of that."
Why do you wake up listening to a commie network like the BBC (BritishBullsh**Corporation)?
I think that THAT is the question that YOU need to answer for us.
Das Kapital got a bit too boring for you, eh?
Ah yes. Mr. Anti-religion cult member, the Freeper Sub-Genius.
Keep boasting of your anti-God agenda.
You are a bigot pushing your own anti-faith. We DO have the right to proclaim our faith in this nation. Don't silence us, you prankster.
Scientology IS a religion now (although originally it was a "science"). You must have slept though the Clinton years when John Travolta bent the Bent One's ear.
| Early warning shots-- the War against Religion...
I do not see how you come to that conclusion, unless you consider "reason" to possess some form of extra-sensory perception as would be needed if one were to allow for the existence of a god as a real entity.
"Agnostic" was a term made up by Thomas Huxley at the end of the 19th century. I suppose that it is a way for the irreligious to avoid being characterized (and condemned) as atheists, but IMHO that is a timorous concession to irrational superstition.
the crowd booed and hissed when a photo of Pat Robertson was displayed on the screen.
LOL, consistency isn't the liberals cup of tea, huh?
But he said he wants to return to his Muslim-dominated homeland. If that's the case, I have the feeling his spiritual castration won't last too long.
yes, but it sounds like he wants to return there alive . He'd like to continue living there in good health, all parts intact, someday.
Ahhh... could this be the same group that claims to be for women's rights, but are quick to attack educated, strong women like Condi Rice, Janice Brown, Priscilla Owens,and Terri Schindler Shiavo?
They've lost any credibility they might have once had.
Good to see you, Jay.
I am stunned... did I see the Republicans cave on Judicial nominees?
Goes to show you the only faith we can trust in is God. I can't believe these cowards? I used to admire McCain. I have nothing but contempt for this guy. What a coward...
Sorry to vent, but I can't believe what I am seeing.
This deal is ridiculous. It benefits the Democrats, and we're back to zero.
They can filibuster whenever they want and call it extraordinary circumstances." In the meantime the Republicans won't be able to do a thing about it.
I know about McCain for the last 8 years, and I don't trust him.
Many things, including the death of Terri Shiavo, the death JP the Great, and the election of Pope Benedict continue to strengthen my Catholic beliefs.
I will not compromise on those, and will continue to further my resolve of what my faith calls me to do.
It is so very nice to see you again.
School is still in session, so I best be getting ready for bed.
God bless, and good night, Victoria.
Don't go too far, Jay. We need as many conservatives as we can get. We're in the minority, but we need to stick together or we'll be defeated .
There is a BS story. Another LIE in the newspapers, as usual...
Moral Absolutes Ping.
How special, the atheists are out to convert everyone else. Are they going to bring back burning at the stake?
Let me know if you want on/off this pinglist.
Never too far. I will fight for what I know to be right and true. For that you can be assured!