Critics of religion (such as myself) are sometimes not precise enough in our criticisms.
We will sometimes lash out that the “moderate Muslims” don’t condemn fundamentalists enough or complain that liberal Christians only make space for creationists and anti-choicers (in both cases the truth is not difficult to find, for those who look).
So it would be equally remiss if we didn’t take the opportunity to condemn and distance ourselves from those whose versions of secularism, of humanism, of atheism, are diametrically opposed to our own.
First up, Quebec’s separatist government radically distorts secularism to appease it’s own anti-immigrant ends. I’ll reuse Edmonton Journalist columnist and reporter Paula Simons’ words here:
Well, Quebec’s Charter of Secular Fascism is out – and it’s just as loopy and racist as I’d feared. This commentary from the post – with the amazing graphic – condemns it, but not strongly enough, to my mind. I’m starting to grow weary of the efforts of some in the media to try to paint this as an earnest effort to promote humanist values. It’s racist. It’s fascist. It’s wrong. And I don’t think we should be afraid to say so. There’s such a huge difference between the state compelling you to one particular religious belief – which would be wrong, of course – and the state forbidding people from practicing their faith. I am a non-believing secular humanist. But it’s not my job to impose my views on others. One of the major reasons I reject organized religion is because I despise group think. Turning secularism into an extremism of its own is an abomination.
My secularism is multicultural. Not some myth where religious immigrants live in ghettos but an integrating mix of cultures and peoples who are able to learn from one other without enforcing their beliefs on others or fearing persecution for them.
It’s not about leaving the Crucifix in government buildings. It’s not about arbitrary exemptions for small crosses but not other symbols. It’s about acceptance, not discrimination.
If you have to pass laws banning religious iconography, you’re doing secularism wrong.
Second, we have Richard Dawkins saying “I look back a few decades to my childhood and see things like caning, like mild paedophilia, and can’t find it in me to condemn it by the same standards as I or anyone would today.”
While I sure as hell will: Dawkins was raped and it was unacceptable then and now.
It seems he’s fallen into some weird temporal relativism (is that a thing? if not, it needs to be) that conveniently lets his former abusers off the hook because he’s just fine. You hear the same arguments from defenders of spanking that they turned out fine, so we should clearly dispense with the mountains of evidence saying it’s an ineffective and damaging punishment.
His obfuscation sounds more awkward than when he criticizes Christians for defending the violence, racism, sexism, and other bigotry of the Old Testament with the “times were different” defence.
If your argument is as bad as the religious apologists you criticize, stop making it. (PS Sign the petition)