Alright, so let's all be honest together and do a little introspection. We all have different backgrounds and different stories; we all have issues that we are particularly sensitive about. We can sit and have a rational discussion all day long, but then someone says something that triggers our deepest, most passionate response... and it's pure emotion. Our ability to think clearly disappears and we're raising our voices (OR TYPING IN ALL CAPS!!!!), calling names, and daring anyone to say it again, emptily threatening violence on the offender.

That issue could be breast cancer if your grandmother has recently been its victim; it could be women's rights if you were raised in a home that repressed its female members; it could be GLBT rights because your favorite cousin has been a victim of bullying; it could be vegetarianism/veganism because your love for animals is so great...

You're ready to go to war for this issue; for these people, animals, and causes that are near and dear to your heart.

My personal pet issue is women's rights and how sex offenders are dealt with. I hate pedophiles and anyone who would violate someone else's body. My body is my property. If I own nothing else in this world, my body and my life belong to ME. I can be who I want and choose whom I want to share myself with. If there is a sin in this world, it is forcing ideas/actions on a person and their being.

It's tough for me to always be rational about this issue. I've been abused, and I've been a member of a religion that tried to convince me I was inferior to men. I was told to submit and be quiet; I was told that it was my duty to have sex with my husband whenever he got the urge. I always resented and rebelled against the role I was supposed to fit into. Nothing gets my blood boiling more than a statement like, "Go back to the kitchen where you belong."

On a site like Think Atheist, our goal is to talk about ALL issues and not allow someone's personal sensitivity to bar open, intellectually honest discussion. If we get too heated about our passions, we should take a step back and try to remind ourselves that it is of the utmost importance to be OPEN to discussion and new information. We cannot be fundamentalists about anything; otherwise, we lose the battle for reason to win out over superstition. Even if we don't like what we're reading, we have to allow everyone a platform. What if they're right? Isn't that how we all ended up atheist?

What's your sacred cow? Can you be open enough to let people voice opinions that vex you to the core? Can you engage in civil discourse without storming off in a huff?

I hope so. Please share your own personal pet issue.

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But, seriously. I don't know if I have a sacred cow or not. Certainly there are issues that I am passionate about. And, at times, I have lost my cool when discussing those issues for one reason or another. But I can't think of any subject that makes me see red. Anti-science and Accommodationsts are the closest subjects at the moment that raise my hackles. Oh, and people who are obstinate in their political and world views. But, none of these are my sacred cow. I guess I'll have to go looking for ole Betsy.
Ha! Don't go looking for her. Just be aware if she shows up on your doorstep and gives you mad cow disease. :)
Just realized I listed pet peeves, not sacred cows.

Oops. Hope I didn't start a trend.
Why didn't you keep your Spanish flu to Spanish-speaking countries, then?
I have no specific direction. I just want people to air their dirty laundry sort of... to admit what they're sensitive about so they (and we) can be aware of it. Admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery, right? Not that I believe you have a problem if you're passionate about any one issue; just that you shouldn't let that passion rule you or blind you.

Those things you listed I get pretty frustrated about myself. At this point, I've been a little discouraged to even engage people because they're so hopeless stuck in their baseless opinions. I'm sickened that the GOP has poisoned people's brains and that truth has been forsaken for talking points. I am so afraid that people's sacred cows will really be the death of us all (lemme just sprinkle in a little hyperbole here). We can't talk about the fact that MMS is bleach because you want to believe it's going to cure your Crohns disease? We can't talk about the fact that it's immoral to bully someone into taking their own life because you think their lifestyle is a sin? We can't talk about FACTS because they clash with your ideals?

I don't care what the issue is, I want the truth. Think Atheist has got to remain one vestige where open dialogue is allowed. No one has the right to not be offended. And no one has the right to silence our expressions of offense, either. Just as long as no one is forbidding anyone to speak!
I get riled up when I hear of children being abused because of religious reasons. Well, let me take that back. I hate to hear about children being abused AT ALL, but when it comes out that it was because of religion... WOW.

Another side to that issue is religion being taught to children as the absolute truth.
So uncivil discourse gets you riled up enough to be uncivil?
My body is mine.
I get very, VERY defensive when people tell me what I can put in it (food, alcohol, drugs)
or what I can take out of it (an unwanted fetus, a kidney to a dying family member )
or what I can do with it (Which gender I'm "allowed" to have sex with.)

I feel like the smallest infringement on any of these most basic rights opens the door for regulation of all of them.
I was very briefly in the military. When you sign that contract, you sign away those rights.
It's there. In black in white.
For a while, my medical treatments were decided for me.
I almost died because of it.
Once I had an entropic pregnancy. I was told that I had to go through 'abortion mediation' prior to a life saving surgery. (This was in Utah, and now that I'm an adult instead of a scared little girl, I know what that piece of shit doctor told me was a lie. ) I could have died for it.
Despite my legally documented last wishes, some Catholic can decide to ignore my right to not be a vegetable.
I'm afraid to live in that world like this.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not afraid to die.
I'm a deep sea technical diver. I'm an adrenaline junkie. I do a lot of things that look stupid to the outside world, but are actually very methodically planned.
If I'm going to risk my own life, it should be on my terms. How I live and die should be my choice, as long as it isn't harming anyone else.
My sacred cows that bother me are, in order of magnitude:

1) Familial/friends disgrace. Swearing, cursing, threatening my mother, father, brother, best of friends.
2) When people put restrictions on my body ( what I put in it, do with it )
3) When people don't care or are ignorant/close-minded. Conservative people who always think the old ways are the best ( because they worked before and are scared to make a change )
4) When people believe anything they are told and stick to it
5) The corrupt system ( Romania ) and corruption in general.
6) Stupidity that comes from people who chose to be that way ( not from people who didn't got a chance at education ).
The last thing you describe is a good example to me of the difference between "stupidity" and "ignorance". When someone is ignorant, they simply don't know any better. When someone is stupid, they don't want to know any better.
My latest intentional stance, influenced by Sam Harris, depends on a single question. Is this claim true at Walmart? Listen to brother Harris long enough, especially in person, to see whether he succeeds. No rancor or anxiety about the claim at all and no shouting voice trying vainly to drown out the howls of protest.

Did you think it would be easy? Then you're doing it wrong.

Did I forget to buy AA batteries at Walmart or did I look for them but get distracted? Unsatisfactoriness obtains. But not many things at Walmart are mysterious or difficult to bear.
Health Care and Education.

I spent 23 years of my life without health insurance and I am extremely lucky to have it now. What really gets me riled up is when people talk about being against universal health care for whatever reason or honestly think health care is a privilege not a right. The first thing that comes to mind is remembering how as a little kid I wouldn't tell my parents when I was sick because I knew it would cost them too much money (they already had too many health care bills from my brothers chronic ear infections), instead I'd sit and suffer. Just thinking about it makes me want to cry. My brother still has ear issues from never getting them fully/properly treated. Then people have the audacity to tell me my parents were bad parents and it was their fault they didn't have insurance... something was wrong with them, they must be lazy or stupid when I know none if that was the case.

As for education I am an early childhood educator. Studies show how integral a good early childhood environment is and it makes me sick to think about how uneducated people are about the importance of early childhood and how underfunded and supported the profession is. The constant cutting of education taxes pisses me off... right now my community is considering shutting down 6 elementary schools and making the left over elementary schools into K-3rd grade and turning the middle schools into 4th - 8th grade schools and increasing the student teacher ratio which is already something like 45 students to 1 teacher. At these ratios even good teachers can't be good teachers instead they are stressed teachers and many kids fall through the cracks, we are screwing over our children and our future by not properly funding/supporting the public education system. Then don't even get me started on higher education... its fucking insane that I have to go into years of debt just because I want to be educated and gain skills to help myself be a productive informed member of society. We should be investing in those people who want to further educate themselves not throwing them to the wolves.

*Takes Breath*


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