The Atheist Activist, or
The Freethinkers Forum, or
The Humanists Hitlist 12/25/2008
• Our brethren should never be involved in violence of any sort, and violence is not condoned here. This is a list of suggestions that thoughtful nonbelievers can mull over, use if they like, modify and add to if they will, or simply ignore as they sit and drink eggnog around the fire with their religious friends this Christmas. The majority of nonbelievers fear repercussions if they “come out of the closet”. Jobs may be in jeopardy, political positions may be rejected, friends may leave for good, and society can turn nasty.
• Some nonbelievers understand that they have a responsibility to oppose believers for many clearly articulated reasons, among them, the future thinking of children, the continued abuse of children by religious communities and individuals, the continuous infusion of religious beliefs into decisions which affect all of us, willy-nilly, the affects of religious dogma on scientific advancements which will save lives - millions of lives, the affect of the ignorance of the faithful on the improvement of the many issues facing our planet, and demands by religious groups that everyone think as they do.
• These are some suggestions of what nonbelievers can do to act against the superstition and stupidity of religion. Suggestions that offer nonbelievers the opportunity to show their opposition to religious action that, for thousands of years, has often gone unquestioned, and which, today, affects more people adversely than ever before. Nonbelievers have, in the past, been isolated. Individual nonbelievers have suffered badly at the hands of believers because of this. Today, we have the opportunity to come together, to participate in clear and active opposition to religious action and thought.
• These suggestions may help to bring some of us together as we consider where we stand and how we should act when threatened by religion or the negative and often dangerous actions stimulated by religion. This list is not exhaustive.
I. The Problem of Apathy:
Fence-sitting is the art of appearing to support both sides of a question. Apathy is the child of fence-sitting, and process of not processing: seeing nothing, hearing nothing, watching nothing, not being involved in anything, not feeling threatened. Apathy is a the kind of lazy indifference that expects others to it all. Apathy is not a choice - it is a state-of-mind instilled over time and accepted as a way of life after one has persuaded oneself that one cannot do anything substantial, anyway, so why bother? Most nonbelievers are apathetic.
II. Beyond Apathy:
• Target conscience: focus on thoughts of right and wrong, of good and bad and where you might fit in doing the correct thing. Read about others who have done the correct thing.
• Ask questions of yourself and others, and give honest answers.
• Define boundaries: how far might you go? Where will your opposition go? Where are you never prepared to go?
• Consider what you think growth and expansion of your knowledge, understanding, opposition, and action might look like.
• Use concrete examples in your thinking: “What happened when….....” “What might happen if….......” “What have people done…......” “What happened when people did nothing…....”
A. Know your subject intimately before you start - not only the things you object to, but their daily actions, where they go, when they go, why they go, and how they travel.
B. Be prepared to challenge groups and individuals publicly and directly.
C. Does it work - yes, it makes the religious uncomfortable, they feel the necessity to warn their flocks, they respond in kind, and each time they respond we have made an impression.
1. Write letters to the media, to individuals and to groups such as the National Council of Bishops.
2. Organize sit-ins, opposition marches, or just stand with your opposition poster on a church steps in your community.
3. Go to a church during a service and stand up in the service and object vocally.
4. Send out e-mails by the dozens.
5. Join religious blogs and start arguments on the blogs.
6. Write positively to the scientists and support their work.
7. Talk with friends about the issues and encourage them to work with you.
8. If you have Catholic friends ask them how they can support this damaging stuff. Suggest that they talk to their priests. If they continue to insist that they support the stuff, go to the pub with them and call them on it in a loud voice during prime time and let the crowd get involved.
9. Bring up the issues with your doctor, your priest (if you have one or even if you know one) with your grocer and butcher, with your girlfriend, significant other, partner, wife or husband and ask all of them to discuss them with their contacts.
10. Get a crowd of friends together, call the local paper and tell them you want to make a public statement about the issues opposing the Church or whoever else is involved.
11. Call for the boycott of groups/stores/organizations involved in issues.
12. Public fasting: this takes courage and preparation including knowing exactly what to do, when to do it and how to do it. If you intend to do it for any length of time get your doctor involved.
13. Use silence: get a group together and sit in a public place silently and moving as little as possible. People will want to know what is going on.
14. Picket churches, businesses, organizations, private homes.
15. Use loud noise to attract attention: drums, beating on tin cans, recorded noise, sound system feedback.
16. Interfere in/Harass groups involved in public displays such as religious processions.
17. Hold candlelight vigils.
18. Create signs and posters to be put up all over town.
19. Spread information and disinformation through handouts and on the internet.
20. Use Key Words in speeches, on posters, in handouts, and keep emphasizing them over and over again.
21. Use mass mailings.
22. Use Photography and Video, particularly on places like YouTube, but also to send in to local TV stations. Post religiously offensive YouTube video references on their blogs.
23. Use High Holy Days as target times - the groups get together, they discuss items together, they are confused by numbers, they say things they don’t mean to say in a group to show others they are in control.
24. Use their own tactics against them - look for newspaper articles, TV appearances and respond, go to meetings and shout them down, always using words like “liars, lies and dishonesty”, join their blogs and overwhelm them with attack materials.
25. If you have the means (money or a lawyer who will work pro bono) start law suites against the opposition - both for action they have taken and for action they might take.
26. File Amicus briefs to support other atheists or atheist groups in their suites.