For the past ten years or so, there has been a constant tension in the secular and nonbeliever communities between the accommodationists and the confrontationalists. Both sides have their prominent champions and their seemingly valid rationales for their position. Of course, anyone who reads this blog regularly knows which side of the argument that I come down on.
At last weekend's Reason Rally in Washington, DC, Richard Dawkins reignited the argument when he closed his speech with the admonition to confront the delusionals at every turn and heap upon their beliefs the ridicule and derision and contempt that they so richly deserve. And I know that many of the accommodationists were quite taken aback by this. During her interview with Steve Hirtle on her show last Monday, Lynn Cullen made that very point by saying that she totally disagreed with Dawkins.
For my part in this debate, I have just two words for the accommodationists: Rick Santorum.
Consider the popularity that the frothy mixture has enjoyed among evangelicals in his bid for the Republican nomination for President. He has garnered as high as 80% of the evangelical vote in states that he has won. He consistently wins among those voters who say that religion is important to them. And these voters apparently make up a fairly significant portion of the electorate. Otherwise he wouldn't have won as much support as he has. And what it is about him that these people are attracted to? The most commonly mentioned attribute is that they are attracted by his sincerity; that they feel that he really means what he says and that he truly represents their beliefs and values.
Now consider what this clown's platform seems to be – a platform of extreme religiosity and unrestricted comingling of church and state, a platform of homophobia and racial bigotry, of anti-intellectualism and willful ignorance, and misogyny – in short against virtually everything that any rationalist or humanist believes in and stands for. And these people admire and salute these positions.
So I ask you, how are you going to reason with these people? They are completely irrational and delusional and are not in the slightest amenable to reason. So why waste our breath? We sure as hell don't need to worry about offending them – our very existence offends them and they are completely unwilling to actually listen to anything that we have to say since it conflicts with their hatreds and delusions. So why bother trying to accommodate them? It's certainly not going to get us anywhere. So let's just let 'em have it with both barrels – treat their idiotic beliefs with the contempt and derision and ridicule that they so richly deserve. At every opportunity and chance that we get.