Can’t we all just get along (atheist edition)?

The debate continues over Atheism+, the new(ish) attempt to join skepticism and freethought with a left(ish) slant on social justice issues. Because what I feel compelled to call organized disbelief includes people with a variety of perspectives on political issues (including a fair few libertarians and Randroids), Atheism+ is not being rapturously received in all corners of the movement.

Ronald Lindsay, president of the Center for Inquiry, is not jazzed about this discord.

For one thing, he thinks it’s a strategic blunder:

Because the A+ advocates want to work on social justice issues, but have not yet specified how they plan to go about this, including which issues they will emphasize, there’s a worry that they will divert resources from the secular movement and weaken it.

Fair enough. This is always the cry of the coalition-builder against the splitter: You’re hurting the movement. But most of Lindsay’s article is devoted to another, more curious objection: the A+ people are throwing around terms like “misogyny” to describe problems within the community itself, and obviously that’s crazy. Atheists can’t be misogynist!

But if hate-filled comments and threats to women have not been expressly called divisive, it’s because such conduct does not threaten to divide the movement.

Well, I guess that takes care of that!


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3 Responses to Can’t we all just get along (atheist edition)?

  1. leftover says:

    Lindsay’s full quote:

    But if hate-filled comments and threats to women have not been expressly called divisive, it’s because such conduct does not threaten to divide the movement. It has already been repudiated, both implicitly and explicitly, by many, if not most, of the organizations in the movement.
    [emphasis added]

    Lindsay, eventually, coughs up a grudging agreement with Myers and Christina. So he may not be in complete denial.His postscript is positively precious.

    You would be interested, I think, in Susan Jacoby’s perspective on the issue of women in the secular movements.
    A Woman’s Place? The Dearth of Women in the Secular Movement

    Lindsay should probably read it, too.

  2. Cynical Susan says:

    “Today there are many religious feminists fighting for equal treatment of
    women within their faiths—something that doesn’t interest me but
    understandably interests them.”

    But viewed from a point equidistant from faith and non-faith, what’s the difference? Doesn’t Jacoby want the same thing for secular women that feminist religious women want for themselves?

    • leftover says:

      Jacoby’s interest is focused on women in the secular movement, and I doubt if she thinks women can achieve “equal treatment within their faiths.”

      Our second task is to link the past denigration of women by conservative religion with the current relationship between theocracy and misogyny.
      …patriarchal right-wing Christian values are used to limit women’s opportunities.
      … it’s time for women’s rights to be seen not as a “special” issue but as something integral to our larger mission of freeing society from anti-rational, supernaturally based restrictions.