Anybody feel that American Atheists causing some atheists to disassociate with it? I know as of right now I view it as hurting the intellectual movement. Seeing them trying to get the so called 9-11 cross to be removed from the memorial just seems...petty. David Silverman does not seem fit to represent atheists as a whole in my opinion. There are much more productive ways to fade religion out of society and filing lawsuits on anything that seems remotely religious just seems like a gross allocation of resources. In my opinion the cross thing was a symbol of hope for people and it is a part of history so it should be in the memorial. There were thousands of beams just like that in the centers so it is not unique. What are your thoughts on AA and how the represent atheists in America?

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You both have a point that David Sliverman is not tactful and can be rude. But American Atheists has worked hard against the Texas creationism curriculum and on a lot of other important issues. The cross gets a lot of press because it is a fox news friendly issue. "Symbol of hope and part of history" are debatable but the cross doesn't bother me that much personally.  I don't agree with 100% of what AA does (I dislike some of the billboards)  but I still support them in the big picture. Those petty lawsuits are the building blocks of equality for us.
I agree with AnneT.  The big picture of what AA does makes me still support them, however, the petty lawsuits are holding us back and causing divisiveness.
prepare for metldown:

ahhhh like cool refreshing (I can't stop cracking up tears in me eyes mayteez!)
I agree with all.  The cross thing is very petty.  To make such a stink about something like that puts us on their level.  The cross is going up anyway.  My reaction to theistic events like this is similar to my reaction to aggressive drivers on the freeway.  If you yell out of your window and gesture, you're the same as they are.  I think it a much more powerful statement to turn away as if to gesture them as insignificant morons, as they really are.
If you can't teach an old dog new tricks, and  it's (religion) a virus and some people can't be cured, so why not make fun of it, if you can't do anything else.
I don't belong to AA; I call myself a Humanist rather than atheist.  But I've never belonged to a group in which I agreed with everything the leader said. 

Personally, I'm a fan of Dave Silverman and very much appreciate the coverage and work he's done.  He certainly showed up the faux news people in the clip posted here.  Likewise with his handling of O'Reilly.  We're still getting mileage from "the tide goes in, the tide goes out."  In fact, my AA membership had lapsed for a couple of years until Dave re-energized me.  I wouldn't be surprised if their membership #s have gone up sharply this year.

 

It may be a close call on the 9/11 cross - it depends on how they place it.  If it sits as one of many exhibits, saying "some people saw this as a sign," then I don't have a problem with it.  If it's placed up front, saying "look, a sign from god, in an attack against us Christians" then it's not ok.  And, without knowing how it will be used, we have to have these challenges.  Each little bit of established religion counts as precedent.  I haven't dug too much into that lawsuit, but the Non Prophets Podcast of Aug 6 had a good discussion.

A couple of more thoughts...

 

Don't feel you have to defend AA or that they represent you.  Remember that atheists are not a religion or club.  Our only definite definite commonality is lack of belief in gods.  So, if you're ever put on the spot with "you atheists suing over such and such," you have the right to say "it's not me."  But, we should all look into AA's reasons for the lawsuit so that we can present any part of their case that we do agree with.

 

So, thanks for reminding me...  I'll do a bit more reading of various viewpoints on the matter.

I have mixed feelings about David Silverman.  Sometimes he makes me cringe and sometimes he makes me crack up.  I think he is definitely on the extremist side. Madalyn Murray O Hare was also an extremist and a completely vile woman.  But she got shit done.  She was responsible for getting rid of gov't-sponsered prayer in school. So, while I may not agree with everything the AA does, in the end, they'll do more good than harm.

John D - thanks for the link to Silverman's video.  Like you, I agree with Silverman, and have already sent AA $$ in support of their work.  We are constantly bombarded with "in your face" examples of the intolerance of the religious toward us.  And I, for one, don't agree that the appropriate response always has to be the warm and fuzzy approach. There are times when it is appropriate to look them dead in the eye and simply say, "Fuck You! I'm not putting up with your shit."  

 

In the video, Silverman mentioned the "Reason Rally" to be held in Washington D.C. in 2012.  The date set is March 24, 2012, and for more information, the web site is http://reasonrally.org/  

John D thanks for that link to the Silverman interview.  I've recently come out as an atheist after being quiet about it for 40 years.  I didn't know exactly where I stood as an atheist, but since seeing David Silverman, I know that I am a "strong" atheist.  I agree with everything he says and I love the way he says it.  I'm not a softie.  My silence was not accomodationist, it was fear.  With a guy like David in my corner, I'm less fearful, and more proud to be an atheist.

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