Local blogger Glenn Peoples can be relied on to illustrate the necessity of things he claims unnecessary (see Reason Rally 2012).
This time he is ripping in to The Reason Rally planned for Washington DC on March 24. This rally is aimed at combating “negative stereotypes about non-religious Americans.”
Now, many New Zealanders may not understand why such a rally is important. But have a look at this short video. The bigotry* expressed at the beginning is actually quite widespread in the US. Such ideas need to be countered by education – and this rally is obviously one step in the consciousness-raising process. Hopefully it will show that the people demonised by such bigots are actually normal, healthy, interesting people – which a recent American Religious Identification Survey found to be roughly 16% of the US population.
And as if to underline the necessity of this Rally one of Glenn’s commenters continued the demonisation with his/her suggestion that well-known scientist Richard “Dawkins should be considered as a comedian”
Oh, and the book A Better Life looks interesting too.
Glenn does have a point about how ideologically driven people tend to co-opt words for their “side.” “Reason” could be such a word as in fact humans are not reasoning creatures – our reasoning is very much linked to emotion. But, I really can’t see what is so wrong with using the word “reason” here as it is used to contrast with “faith.” Religious people are fond of using faith to justify political attitudes and policies – why can’t the non-religious contrast themselves with that?
I would be more concerned with the loose way words like “secularism” and “secular” are used in advertising for the rally. A current obsession of mine – having just been telling the recent “Interfaith Forum” that secularism is inclusive. It refers to social arrangement, not an ideology. That religious as well as non-religious can, and do, support secularism.
But surely Glenn’s counter to the Reason Rally, a little group calling itself “True Reason,” is blatantly cynical. What is it with these theological types – they think they can declare their beliefs and ideas true – just by declaring it so. And capitalising “Truth.”
*Atheists are “evil,” “wicked,” “immoral,” “stupid and should be killed” and “can’t be trusted.”