By Christopher Thielen on March 27, 2012
Every week, “Highlights from around the web” shares some of the best atheism news and essays collected throughout the week:
- Atheists Seek Acceptance Following Hearts, Not Faith
Ever since the 1963 U.S. Supreme Court decision that prohibited Bible readings in public schools, atheists have won recognition and standing under U.S. law. But a new generation of young atheists wants human understanding, too. “We want you to know we’re your neighbors,” says Paul Fidalgo, “and we’re not scary.”
- Can the Reason Rally resonate in this most religious of democracies?
The religious right has given the secular-humanist-atheist community a huge opening: by placing conservative religious doctrine front and center in the healthcare debate, they have raised serious constitutional questions about what religious freedom and church-state separation mean. Many of the organizations and activists who are part of a coalition of church-state separation advocates have long done stellar work in raising awareness of encroachment of religion in politics and policy-making. Being able to keep the pressure on church-state separation issues during a campaign season will be the test of the movement’s political muscle. It might make Rick Santorum throw up, but that’s kind of the point.
- CNN profiles American Atheists’ David Silverman
For him, each battle – whether over the presence of a cross at the World Trade Center memorial or Bibles in a hotel room – is worth having.
After the latest American Atheist billboards went up in Patterson and Brooklyn, Silverman said he reported death threats to the police. His attitude: just par for the course, another day in the life.
“We ask the tough questions,” he says. “We say the things that are politically incorrect if they need to be said.”
“We will win the big picture,” Silverman says, twice in a row. “(Being) the Marines of free thought means that we are going to fight the unpopular fight, and yes we are going to win.”
- Julian Baggini posts a ‘heathen manifesto’
It is time, therefore, for those of us who are tired of the status quo to try to shift the focus of our public discussions of atheism into areas where more progress and genuine dialogue is possible. To achieve this, we need to rethink what atheism stands for and how to present it. The so-called “new atheism” may have put us on the map, but in the public imagination it amounts to little more than a caricature of Richard Dawkins, which is not an accurate representation of the terrain many of us occupy. We now need something else.
Did we miss something? Let us know.