Agreed, the violence is inexcusable. But the inciting incident might not have been Justin’s atheism nor his flyering. The incident is hardly the posterboy for atheist bashing, anymore than a barroom fight over drunk mens’ opinions over each others’ mothers is about religion—have you heard Justin’s account of the event? Telling religious people to fuck off is not really a theological statement nor part of the culture wars in which we are engaged.
He was not beaten. He was punched in the face for saying something some people might find baiting. Atheism is offensive, and rightfully so. I doubt you would have been punched in the face David. Sometimes atheists are disliked not because of their atheism but because they are unlikable.
DJ you are a sick freak if you think that saying something that is related to a lack of theistic belief is offensive or that someone deserves to be punched in the face for it. Can you tell us what he said? If it was likely to incite prejudiced hatred and violence against a person or group of them, that is the only time I would justifiy someone not remembering the old sticks and stones may break my bones thing, but if the only person he offended was a made up beardy cloud-dwelling man, no one has any right to punch him except the made-up beardy cloud-dwelling guy. I hope you are just playing devil’s advocate. After all, I say an awful lot of impolite things about humanists,, but usually I’m just having a joke with them - I have nothing against them in reality other than the fact that they are deluding themselves.
Zarcus: atheists now enjoy all the civil rights other citizens have. This does not mean that our civil rights dont need defending, especially in light of the high court (just as all American;s civil rights do). Nor does it mean that we dont need to constantly be on guard against violations of church-state separation. But when some atheist leaders equate the current plight of atheists with the historic plight of gays and other racial and sexual minorities, I take exception. Thankfully here, no one seems to disagree with me on this point.
Yes, Justin told me his account. They were harassing him for the sign advertising Vic Stenger’s talk and he told them to “fuck off.” That deserves a punch in the face? I am shocked that you could believe that.
As I said above: ‘the violence is inexcusable.” Of course Justin telling the guy to “fuck off” doesnt deserve a punch in the face; the punch is inexcusable. I think its obviously also inexcusable for an employee of CFI to tell a Christian to “fuck off.” Youre accidentally making me say something I plainly did not say. But I submit that maybe the punch wasnt because he was an atheist, as much as it was that he was a jerk (jerks get inexcusably punched in the face all the time, unfortunately).
The whole question legally centers around the intentions of the guy who punched Justin in the face. Did he punch Justin because Justin was an atheist or because Justin told him to “fuck off.” Would Justin have been punched had he not told the religious person who was outlandishly upset because of Justin’s flyers to ‘fuck off”?
I tend to think it is really questionable whether or not this is a case of atheist bashing, as absolutely inexcusable as the punch was.
O.k., since I have no record, besides what I’m reading here, of the incident, I’ll see if I can envision what happened. A director was hanging a sign up outside somewhere advertising for a CFI event, when a group (“they” ?) of people started harassing the director. The director said, “fuck you”, to the harassers, so one (I’m guessing again) of the harassers punched the director in the face.
So, did the director press charges, if not, why not? Sounds like it would have been great publicity for Victor.
I can see it now, picture of a smiling Victor in the paper holding his God; The Failed Hypothesis book next to the director (hopefully with a black eye) with a caption of, Perhaps God is Not Great. Below would be the ubiquitous perp photo of the believer, frowning.
Youre accidentally making me say something I plainly did not say.
now youre the one being smeared! what the world is going on here?
I smear, you smear, we all smear for atheism!
I would think that if this guy is getting hassled for putting up a poster, told them to fuck off and then got popped in the face that it is still about intolerance to Atheism. If the guy would have put up a WWJD poster he would not have been hassled or put in the position to tell someone to fuck off. True, he could have not responded to their belligerence with belligerence, but that hardly changes why he was harassed (which was the catalyst to the assault), and it doesnt necessarily prove that he still wouldnt have been assaulted.
When cops sicked dogs onto marching kids in the 60s they could have avoided it by being polite and not provoking the wrath of Alabama’s finest in law and order. What Im sarcastically getting at is their defiance to established tradition (ie drink from here, eat here, shit here, etc) was just as offensive as how some modern theists took to not only a CFI poster advertising the evil Victor Stenger but the nerve of an Atheist to be defiant by telling them to fuck off.
How do we know he would not have been assaulted if he had used a less emphatic synonym?
This is just me, but I would have sprayed them with pepper mace and then said I felt threatened…
Well this is a disagreement we have then. As a gay man, I know that if I were flyering for a GLBT group meeting when I was in school, and someone was fussing about the flyers, I would be offended. They would be wrong. But if I told them to “fuck off,” and goaded them, if they punched me because I verbally attacked them or insulted them instead of putting up fliers which was my right, I wouldnt consider it gay bashing.
I am not arguing that atheists shouldnt be uppity, or that they should just be polite and not rock the boat. I speak publicly on college campuses all the time about very controversial topics. Nor am i arguing that atheists shouldnt be vocal (I am a pretty vocal and uncompromising atheist myself).
But telling an offended Christian to “fuck off” is not exactly engaging appropriately in the culture wars, and is certainly indefensible behavior for a CFI employee. The legal question is intent. And I think it is very questionable whether or not Justin would have been punched had he not told the already upset guy to “fuck off.”
Again, isnt it possible that some atheists are disliked not at all because of an anti-atheist bigotry but because they are simply unlikable people? I know a lot of Christians I dislike but only because of their personalties, not because of their religious belief— and similarly, some of my best friends are very likable Christians.
I think telling someone who is harrassing you to fuck off is perfectly reasonable. That person is clearly being a cheeky bastard and deserves the excruciating agony of hell that being told to go away can cause. It is never an excuse for violence. I reccomend that your man there who was putting up the fliers, avoids saying that to them and just gets in first and stabs them in the street if it’s reasonable for a verbal recourse to be met with violence.
So the harassment is ok? Harassment, even without the punch, was clearly directed at the content of the poster, and constitutes, under any convention or norm, discriminatory action based on a viewpoint… in this case, atheism. DJ’s point falls because it is demonstrably wrong, atheists get “bashed” by verbal harassment, and even violence, as with the North Carolina case of the man beaten outside a bar for his outspoken atheism.
The harassment certainly wasnt OK, andthere is recourse for that—legal recourse—that doesnt involve telling an angry man to “fuck off,” getting punched, and then claiming the punch was atheist bashing.
You claimed that Justin was beaten for being an atheist, for flyering. I think it is likely that he was punched for telling an angry man to fuck off. Overstatement like yours doesnt serve our common aims, and in my opinion may actually (although of course unintentionally) diminish the plight of racial and sexual minorities in their struggle for civil rights protections historically.
Further, to shift the discussion about a man beaten outside a bar for his outspoken atheism obfuscates. Surely youre not trying to make me say that is OK.
doesnt involve telling an angry man to “fuck off,” getting punched,” and then claiming the punch was atheist bashing
Now, just from a legal point of view, I hope that you acknowledge that nobody has the right to be “an angry man” over someone elses’s atheism. And, if someone is going to do so, and then get violent when not unreasonably told where to go, don’t you think that society would benefit from this person incurring a hefty fine or a short jail term to make him reconsider what he decides to waste his worthless life getting angry about?