First of all, I would like to follow up on my piece regarding the ‘Two wrongs make a right’ subject about racism. I had scathingly criticized the accepted racist terms used in a recent article heralding the irrelevance of such notable authors and atheists as Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, Prof. Richard Dawkins and Daniel Dennett and would like to elaborate further. The terms were used in reference to the above mentioned “privileged white guys” and the need to accept that they are no longer relevant due to the fact that the face of atheism has become much more diverse in recent years. I, of course, couldn’t disagree more! Just as I would never approach my graduation podium and announce to my professors that due to my graduation into their field of expertise, they are no longer relevant.
The architects of the New Atheist Movement paved the way and broke down immense barriers to what was once reviled completely as another form of Satan worship. Hitchens repeatedly eviscerated verbally the fundamentalists and dogmatic propagators of ignorance to spread the truth and eliminate the general mistrust and animosity directed to those who would live their lives free of oppressive mythology, and it worked! The more he and his contemporaries wrote and debated, the more freedoms atheists felt. The more time that was given to them on network TV, the more and further the word spread that atheists could now come out of the closet and help to bring the truth of science into the forefront. Many highly regarded scientists have been publishing for years, but the New Atheist Movement directly took on the ignorance of religion and it’s constant meddling into the teachings of science in the public school system.
Those who grew to adulthood in the 60’s remember being told that vocal groundbreaking atheist Madalyn Murray O’Hare was a ‘tool of the Devil’ spreading ‘His’ lies and poisoning the youth of the nation, when all she was was a mother fighting the religious oppression of the times. The Four Horsemen, as the above mentioned are often called, brought the ‘in your face’ challenge into the fray with constant challenge to established religious interference in public venues. They established a much publicized and politicized front of reason that constantly chipped away at the wall of ignorance established by the GOP types that existed in places that allowed them to proliferate their poisonous lies against demonstrable evidence.
The racism demonstrated in some articles regarding the Horsemen cannot be ignored. Why does racism get a free pass when doled out by the formerly oppressed peoples that originally vilified this very practice up until this very day? I remember when I was ordered to formation in the Army in 1990 and told that the ‘N’ word would result in the automatic expulsion of anyone who used it no mater what! The following week a black female enlisted person called another person a “white cracker greymeat motherfucking white asshole” in front of the entire company of enlisted folks and was totally ignored for this racist rant. I now feel that this is being exercised in the article that described ‘The Four Horsemen’ as irrelevant and passe because people of color had recently come out as atheist and were now activists.
These people obviously viewed videos and read books by these people and came out of the atheist closet related to their encouragement by these people and owe them a debt of gratitude. I, as an atheist, owe Christopher Hitchens a debt of gratitude because of the opening of my eyes related to his ‘in your face’ writings and videos related to atheism and give him his due respect. I could care less about the color of his skin and conc entrate upon the message of this great man as opposed to his color! If he and the others were black or hispanic, I would have done the same things in response, but they were not and that is that!
I respect and follow the example set by the Four Horsemen because of the strength and grit that they showed in the face of the faithful rebuttal and the vilification that was heaped upon them by these very same people that they opposed that claimed that they were peaceful. Religious people were not peaceful or accommodating to the community of non belief. They were antagonistic and intolerant of these people that challenged the belief in mythological bullshit!
I learned my atheism from the Four Horsemen and others in the atheist movement that inspired Southern Baptist adherents to declare their atheism. Why do they now declare racist declarations in the name of atheism to diminish the incredible works of the Four Horseman in the liberation of atheists!! I will stick with them and thank them to the end no matter WHAT the DIVERSE community declares. The Four Horsemen and others were the first to announce our freedom to the world, and will be given that right! I look to Hitchens and Harris as role models and will proceed from there. I will not become a racist atheist as some have done!