Throughout my short career as an activist [particularly as an atheist activist], I’ve experienced a great deal of pushback from religious persons in many forms including governmental entities claiming a bus advertisement containing the word ‘atheists’ is an “attack on religion” and “controversial,” schools refusing to include groups for secular students amongst various other student organizations, vandalism of a banner, persons threatening to take legal action against me for honest and fair criticism of chiropractic, and much more. I’ve spoken and written about this pushback in various venues, but have not spoken much concerning pushback from fellow atheists.
A recent criticism that has been brought to my attention, thanks to the writer of ‘Women Left Behind by Mainstream Feminism,’ who does not herself make this criticism, is that I am a ‘whiny activist.’
What might this mean? Might persons voicing this criticism be objecting to my tone or complaining when my activism is stymied — in one way or another — because of what seems to be religious persons, persons who want to make free speech be a selective privilege for only certain groups, or government officials who appear to be either incompetent or intentionally difficult to deal with.
When a banner I put up, for example, is vandalized by a Christian individual who makes inflammatory and uninformed comments about atheists, I am going to draw attention to the vandalism and the rhetoric of the vandal. Is this ‘whiny?’ It is ‘whiny’ to expect to be treated as an equal in a free speech zone who has, like other groups presumably had, paid $50 to obtain permission to have a banner displayed for one week?
The banner, at the time of this post, has been vandalized ten days ago and still has not been restored by the city despite local officials knowing about it and the great attention which has been drawn to the matter. Am I ‘whiny’ for pointing this out and objecting to what seems to be a local government which doesn’t care about the interests of secular individuals who, like others presumably did, went through the required steps to be afforded a display?
I have pointed out the fact that atheists are often treated quite unfairly — and even perhaps discriminated against — by government officials, family members, and ‘joe shmo religious folk.’ While not all religious individuals behave poorly, there exists a significant number of religious individuals who do that merit a post like this and what some consider my ‘whining.’
It’s quite interesting that those who talk about my ‘whining’ ignore what seems to be the discrimination and unfair treatment which follows activism. If there were not a problem, why would the discrimination and unfair treatment follow the activism? If a problem did not exist, one would expect less ‘whining’ from me and mostly ‘smooth sailing’ concerning what I do. It overwhelmingly appears to the be the case that pushback is experienced because the ‘message’ is connected to atheism; in so many cases, there is no pushback to ‘Christian messages.’
If you are an atheist who doesn’t like my tone, does not approve of my activism, or considers me to be ‘whining,’ I invite you — as I do to everyone else — to get involved with atheist activism in a public way in which you feel comfortable. Show me a way to go about activism which merits your approval. Speak with local press and other individuals upon engaging in activism and show me how to participate in interviews. Make a mark on not only the internet, but also your local community or your country.
If you don’t want to become involved and ‘show me how it is done,’ please feel free to directly address me with your complaints rather than complaining to others and providing no helpful constructive criticism whatsoever. As always, I am quite a public person who is very easy to contact.