How to confront bigotry against atheists without sounding strident/angry

or being accused of sounding so.


To start at the beginning, I am active on several discussion boards including ActiveRain (which is by and for people involved in the real estate industry) and another general board that is just a casual mix of people.


On ActiveRain, there are periodic *joke* posts that are very bigoted against atheists. I'm sure you've all seen the "April Fool's Day" one - that is one example. For years I have ignored this sort of nonsense, mostly because I really didn't want to be "out" in a business/career setting. I've felt like I couldn't risk the loss of business from other people's prejudices.


But I am reaching a point where I can't stand not speaking up, so I did comment on two recent posts. I asked why people found the "jokes" funny and wondered if they would also be cheering on similar jokes about other minority groups. One "joke" teller simply deleted my objection while leaving all of the agreeing responses. The other replied with the typical condescending "I'm sorry if you didn't like the joke" type reply, refusing to acknowledge the blatant bigotry on what is supposed to be a professional business related board.


So then I posted about my frustration on the general board. I said that I was thinking about starting a new discussion on ActiveRain to discuss why this sort of bigotry was allowed to continue without adverse comment when we all know that similar "jokes" about any other group would be roundly censured by the majority.


I was told, among other things, that "He has the right to say it" and that "I find your tone to be very strident and combative." I feel like these people (Christians) are really saying "Just shut up if you can't take the joke."


Maybe I should just shut up. But it makes me sick to my stomach to stay silent (and I don't) when people are making bigoted jokes against gays or blacks or other groups that I don't even belong to, so why should speaking up against bigotry in this situation be any different.


Of course, people don't like being called on their trash talk against gays or Jews or Blacks or any other group either. But if they are NOT called on it, how will it ever change?

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ROFL!!  Good advice overall and the last line cracked me up!  Thanks!

yes, that may have been one I replied to. The one that really bugged me though is this one:


If you don't know GOD, don't make stupid remarks!!!!!! 


A United States Marine was taking some college courses between assignments. He had completed 20 missions in Iraq and Afghanistan . One of the courses had a professor  who was an avowed atheist, and a member of the ACLU. One day the professor shocked the class when he came in. He looked to the ceiling and flatly stated, "GOD, if you are real, then I want you to knock me off this platform... I'll give you exactly 15 min." The lecture room fell silent. You could hear a pin drop. Ten minutes went by and the professor proclaimed, "Here I am GOD, I'm still waiting." It got down to the last couple of minutes when the Marine got out of his chair, went up to the professor, and cold-cocked him; knocking him off the platform. The professor was out cold.  The Marine went back to his seat and sat there, silently. The other students were shocked and stunned, and sat there looking on in silence. The professor eventually came to, noticeably shaken, looked at the Marine and asked, "What in the world is the matter with you?  Why did you do that?"  The Marine calmly replied, "GOD was too busy today protecting America's soldiers who are protecting your right to say stupid stuff and act like an idiot. So He sent me." The classroom erupted in cheers!


It was bad enough that the joker was trying to make atheists look bad, but why are people cheering (in the joke and on the board) for a violent thug of a "Marine" who clearly doesn't understand the idea of "freedom of speech" at all?

One of the (many) things that annoys me about that particular joke is that the tellers never really comprehend the poor light it puts their religion in. Someone is disageeing with my religious views? Quick, physically attack them!!

Not to mention that any professor that pulled this kind of stunt (outside of a philosophy class, maybe) would be censured and maybe fired. Or the fact that the typemof ignorant bigot that sets up this type of joke assumes that anyone who is a member of the ACLU is an atheist and therefore bad (I am surprised there was not a comment about the professor being a communist, too), because as we all know protecting the civil rights of the citizens is a bad thing.

Authoritatian thugs, that's all they are.

LOL  Yep!  I brought up every one of your points on the other general board (EXCEPT calling them "authoritarian thugs" or even "ignorant bigots" ;-) ) when I was trying to decide if I wanted to post a full response on ActiveRain.


I was told I sounded "strident" and "combative"


I feel like it is their method of trying to shut me down - shove me back in the closet. I have a bit of a temper anyway, so I am really trying to figure out how to calmly but pointedly object to both the "jokes" and the BS accusations that immediately follow my objections to said "jokes" without letting them push my buttons.


I really admire atheists that can seem to keep their calm in the face of the most stupid ad hominem attacks.


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