I've come to a conclusion. Far too many atheists are far too willing to just accept the prejudices of religious people as being "their right" and far to unwilling to step up and call bullshit on obvious prejudice and bigotry.
This stems from an argument I had with my girlfriend last night, well not so much a true argument really. Let's call it a heated discussion. Let me give you some background, she is currently attending college online at the University of Phoenix. One of her current courses is Essay Writing, for her final project she must write an essay 1500-1750 words on a topic that will be interesting to both her and her classmates. She asked for my help picking a topic and I suggested she use the same topic she'd used for a recent assignment in her Critical Thinking class - you don't need religion in order to have morals. The difference is the Critical Thinking essay was to be posted in her private forum where only her and her teacher would see it. The Essay Writing final project is to be posted in the public "classroom" forum where all the other students can see it. And here comes the dispute - she refuses to use that subject because she doesn't want to "offend" any of her classmates.
Wate... wut?! You're afraid you're going to OFFEND one of your classmates by posting an essay that says you don't have to be religious to have morals!? In order to be offended by that topic you would have to have some very strong views that you *DO* have to be religious to have morals. I mean my girlfriend IS an atheist or at least she most certainly ISN'T religious and tends to agree with me that organized religions are BS and generally dangerous to humankind. If anything she'd be a deist, but agnostic is probably the most accurate description. It blew my mind. We're talking about people who are basically saying that you're a bad person who lacks morals and has no sense of right and wrong - just because you don't believe in god. You don't want to offend THEM?! How is it possible that you aren't offended by their whole world view?
"But that's just what some people believe." She says to me.
And? Some people believe that they are superior to other people based purely upon the color of their skin. We don't go tip-toeing around watching our words to make sure we don't offend THEIR beliefs, do we? She just couldn't seem to comprehend why I was so fired up about the issue. It ceased to have anything to do with the subject of her paper. It was purely about this insane statement that we should watch what we say or write so as not to offend people who's very world view is offensive to us. To me, it would be like her saying "I don't want to write my essay about racism because it might offend racist people." It's the same thing. You're talking about a group of people with a bigoted view of the world who pass judgment on those they've never met and think they're superior to another group... hey, is this sounding familiar yet?
Why do religious people get a free pass? Why do we allow them to get away with things that NO other group would be allowed to do or say just because "god told them" that's the right way to think. Why are we expected not to "offend" this outdated, ancient, archaic belief system? How is it considered wrong and unacceptable to say anything negative about religion when they find it perfectly acceptable to spread their own contempt for homosexuals, atheists, and anyone that doesn't follow their interpretation of their "holy" book? How does the guy standing outside a soldier's funeral holding a "God Hates Fags" sign cry foul when somebody says something that hurts his feelings?
What is the deal with this double standard that expects people to treat the religious with some kind of specially reserved respect while they are allowed to show zero respect for anyone that doesn't share their beliefs? What kind of BS is that?
Or maybe I'm just looking at it the wrong way. Maybe it's kind of like people with Down syndrome being held to a lower standard than normal people. If that's the case let's start calling it like it is - this is a group of people with a severe mental disorder/handicap. We should hold them to lower standards because their disease restricts them from understanding that they are acting like a bunch of arrogant, judgemental douche-bags.
While we're at it can we separate them from the normal kids like we do other children with "special needs"?