Fellow atheist activist, Lee Moore, recently published an open letter to the greater atheist community. In his letter, he has called for an end to the atheist-on-atheist flame wars and has instead called on unity to fight against the Trump administration.
Moore points out that during the Bush Administration, atheists came together to rise up against the very real threat of Christian Theocracy. When Obama became President, many atheists dwelled on our differences instead of our common cause. Obama, after all, acknowledged atheists and had a Humanist mother. Some even suggested (without evidence) that he was a secret atheist himself. While I don’t think that is true, he certainly was friendlier and more receptive to the atheist community and many of our concerns.
We were even able to find common ground with the President on many issues. Obama supported robust science education, was concerned about climate change, and supported the Jeffersonian Wall between Church and State… somewhat. He at least played lip service to that one. Thanks to Joe Biden and the growing strength of the gay community, Obama finally “evolved” on the issue of marriage equality too. For atheists, Obama was pretty good. He wasn’t Bernie Sanders good, but still pretty good.
Now that Trump is President there is some concern. While Trump personally probably doesn’t give a rat’s ass about religion, he has surrounded himself with the Religious Right. His VP, Mike Pence, is even more wacky religious than Bush was. Betsy DeVos, his Education Secretary, want to gut public education in favor of religious schools. The list of wacky religious officials goes on and on.
Atheists can no longer afford to fight among ourselves. We are a diverse community and we all have issues we care more deeply about than other issues. That’s fair. We should continue to fight for the issues we care about. However, we have to unite and fight together on the issues we have in common. We need to fight together on issues like science education, education in general, climate change, separation of church and state, etc. We need to fight together against those who want to use their holy book to dictate the lives of everyone else.
Moore pointed out that the last Reason Rally had a fraction of the numbers that the first one had. But that isn’t the only concern. Atheist engagement is down across the board. The last PhillyCoR Unity Picnic ended up losing money and I am guessing that attendance has been down at atheist groups and conferences across the country. The sense of urgency within our community had disappeared.
Well, now that urgency is here again!!! Trump may just be the best thing to happen to our community. He is our common enemy that we need to light the fire under our collective asses. Is there an atheist personality you have feuded with over the past eight years? Stop the feud! Be the better Humanist. As Benjamin Franklin once said, “We have to hang together or we will most assuredly hang separately.”
I am adding my name to Lee’s letter. Will you add your name?