I love Angie Jackson's letter to the editor on this, especially her opening where she points out Had Ms. Allen's acid pen been turned to another group, for example homosexuals, Muslims, or single parents, would you have published her banal rantings? For instance, would you have allowed any paragraph to begin with the phrase "My problem with gays is that they are..."
That's our internal debate as atheists/skeptics... Do we ignore them so as not to lend validity to their statements, and hope they will be seen only as fringe crazies and bigots? Or do we destroy them with evidence and logic?
She calls us tiresome? The religious folks have been telling the same stories for hundreds to thousands of years. Yawn.
And has she not noticed that not all atheist writers and bloggers were raised christian? The comment about being flogged with bibles by Sunday school teachers was incredibly stupid and immature.
The issues that atheist writers & bloggers "fixate" on are the issues that they feel strongly about. Things they feel need to be changed or that are harming society as a whole. What else are they supposed to write about in books and blogs on atheism? Their vacation to the Grand Canyon? An atheist blog or book is about atheism.
And religious folks don't fixate on issues? Abortion, gay marriage... (I am so frigging sick of hearing how gay marriage will hurt straight marriage. Living in the first state to legalize gay marriage, I can say that I have not seen anything change about straight marriage since that ruling.) And I don't have to read a book about Christianity or read a Christian blog to hear their babbling either. All I have to do is watch the TV news (which I avoid) or read a newspaper (which I do daily).
PZ Meyers' blog about evolutionary biology talks about atheism and atheist issues because those who are anti-evolution are usually religious and use religion in their anti-evolution arguments.
She also brings up a survey of how many people are atheist when discussing atheists feeling like they are hated, but completely ignores the fact that several surveys have been done that show most Americans would not vote for an atheist even if he/she was the most qualified person for the office. Hello! We are hated.
I (and just about everyone else at AN, I bet) could go through her rant piece by piece and destroy it, citing valid reasons atheists "fixate" on certain issues and whatever, but I am bored already. She would not be worth arguing with because she clearly doesn't listen to what anyone she disagrees with has to say.
If she doesn't like what we have to say, then she doesn't have to read what we write.
The trouble with evangelical Christians is that they are so boring. They repeat the same, or similar story, over and over again, assuming that I have never heard it a million times before. They tell me to read the Bible, and may even give it away as a gift. The book they press on me is often the identical KJV which I studied for years and know more about they than they do. Few of them have ever read it from start to finish. It might be new and fascinating to them but it is old hat to me.
I would hardly call that an article. Opinion piece, yes. A fairly pedestrian misrepresentation by someone who does not understand the scientific method and is happy to gloss over the immense body of evidence that atheists are reviled and, in many cases, oppressed.
"Thanks, I appreciate it, but did you also sacrifice a goat?"
That alone was full of win. The author of the opinion piece clearly meant us to read that and gasp in horror, but i thought it was pretty damn appropriate. Sounds like something i would say. It's like when i sneeze, and some random person says "Bless you" ... i'm always tempted to come back with "Really? Still believe that old wives' tale about me sneezing my soul out and demons flying up my nose?".
Also - until atheists launch a qualified jihad/crusade against believers, theists don't have a leg to stand on calling us "vitriolic" or "whiny". The author brings up the fact that only 6 states have "antique" legislation against atheists holding public office; as though the absence of a law is a guarantee of equality. Go ask a black person who was lynched how that worked out last time. Oh right ... you can't ... because religious conservatives lynch first and ask questions later (or not at all).