Monday, June 07, 2010

The OUT Campaign


May I just say a gracious and heart-felt thanks to my immediate family, the religious and non-religious alike who, quite unwittingly, opened the door to my first questioning religion, leaving it and now standing firmly against it.

I make a point here which must not be lost: I said religion, which comes with fear, lies, and dogma, and which by its very nature is divisive and fosters me versus you: I did NOT say faith.

In my country, our constitution protects our right to - and freedom from - religion. Following on that, I believe that any time religion ventures outside its rightful place - in the home or the place of worship (and I mean to include it venturing forth in form of clothing or symbols as well) - it contravenes a fundamental part of our constitution; my freedom FROM religion and the rights my country confers on me to be from from religion and to never suffer discrimination for that freedom. Sadly, that is not reality as the religious feel it is their duty to call me names, belittle me and attack my intelligence and credibility.

That said, I am, I find, part of a growing, ever more vocal, educated, informed and supportive international group of individuals who are free from religion themselves but are at the forefront of a movement that requires religion and those to adhere to such fantasies to account for their beliefs and actions.

You can find me on Twitter at @writerwriter. You will also find Jim Gardner, @MovingToMontana, and his excellent blog, How Good is That?, and @ZachsMind. I encourage you to follow the atheists you'll find in my lists (on my Twitter profile, page right).

You will also find a huge resource of like-minded writers and individuals via Dr. R Dawkins site and through The OUT Project.

3 comments:

  1. Unfortunately, there is no right to be free from having your feelings hurt, or right to never be offended, which, essentially, is what you are suggesting by saying someone wearing a religious symbol, such as a turban, or a cross on a chain, or a shirt, or whatever, infringes on your freedom from religion.

    The right I, or anyone else has, to swing their arm ends where the person's fist touches the tip of your nose.

    In the context of religion, it implies nobody has the right to compel you, legally or through force, to attend religious observances, or observe any particular religion yourself.

    Suggesting that people not be permitted to display items related to their particular religion, however, is suggestion of infringement of their personal liberties.

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  2. Steven:
    I am not sure what you're referring to with your comment, "...right to be free from having your feelings hurt." My feelings and those of other atheists are not 'hurt' by people wearing religious clothing or iconography; we (yes, I speak for a group here) simply find it confusing that in a modern, science-based, secular society people resort to powerless talismans, firstly and in the second place say "peace and unity" out of one side of their mouths but wear clothing or symbols that instantly belie that sentiment.

    Visual displays of adherence DO infringe on my right to be free from religion in the same way that my wearing what some call 'immodest' clothing infringes on a variety of religious fundamentalists' freedoms/sensibilities. It isn't a question of hurt feelings.

    I believe you are quite mistaken in your assertion that 'it' (which I assume to mean this country's constitution) can't compel 'you' (by which I take you to mean the general 'you,' not me in particular) to observe any particular religion: The constitution doesn't compel; that is true.

    However, I assert that an avowed atheist would have a very, very difficult time obtaining public office in Canada and an impossible time in the US. An atheist, no matter how qualified, would never obtain a job in the business office of a religious organisation - and I speak from recent, person experience here.

    I also note that, in order to teach in certain schools, a real or fabricated belief in what I consider fantasy trumps one's education: all things being equal, a teacher with excellent qualifications would lose out to a religionist in some schools, as such institutions, which should be secular, require their staff to adhere. I say that, in some cases, that requirement promotes lying.

    I did not suggest people not be permitted. I said public displays of religious accoutrements infringe on my right to be free from religion. If you read me often, you will know that I am a STAUNCH supporter of this country's constitution and the conferred rights to freedom of and freedom from religion. You will also know that I think such bits and bobs serve to establish and "us/you" society.

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