Re: The God Squad apology
Thanks very much Bob!
I just realized that I got sent the same info in email on April 6 ... along with Gerry Dantone’s response. Frankly I think Gerry has it right on the mark: the “apology” so-called is half-hearted enough to call insincere. Why? Because it doesn’t apologize for what was offensive in the original material. They were only trying to change the subject, and make atheists sound unreasonable.
I hope Gerry doesn’t mind my reprinting his response to the God Squad apology here:
The God Squad Offers a Concession
The God Squad has finally printed an “apology” to atheists and secular humanists that is halfhearted and most likely insincere. They wrote in their column that was distributed on March 23, 2006:
“....we apologize to all atheists for any feelings of hurt they may have gleaned from our faith in God, and for our belief that faith in God is the most secure foundation for ethical thinking and for the protection of the dignity of all people, whom we believe, with a complete faith, are made in the image of God.”
No atheist has feelings of hurt because the God Squad or the religious have faith in God or believe what they believe about God. The feelings of hurt and other harm stem from statements such as, “When so many people can so easily say they believe in God, then go out and almost kill someone in the parking lot of the church, it’s hard to tell the believers from the nonbelievers?” (God Squad column, September 1, 2005).
This certainly implies that nonbelievers are more apt to run over others in parking lots, does it not? This statement was entirely irrelevant to the question being asked that week—it’s nothing more than a gratuitous insult to nonbelievers. Am I misunderstanding this?
After all, they have also written, “be glad that Sean is only an agnostic and not yet an atheist,” and that nonbelievers have “no reason to get out of bed in the morning and no reason to believe that life has an edge over death, hope an edge over despair and love an edge over hate.” (God Squad column, August 26, 2002).
I have not seen an explanation for these statements or how they can be interpreted as “inadvertent.”
Our feelings are not only hurt, our ability to be accepted in American society is damaged. Atheists are the most unacceptable class of persons in America, as a recent University of Minnesota study found. We cannot be elected to public office, and our children are the subject of prejudice in schools.
These were not “inadvertent” offenses—they were deliberate and calculated. The God Squad should not distort our complaint to make it seem we are offended simply by their being persons of faith. They should apologize for what they plainly have done, which is assert in a number of different ways on different occasions that atheists have “no reason to get out of bed in the morning and no reason to believe that life has an edge over death, hope an edge over despair and love an edge over hate” and that atheists are personally less moral than believers.
I think little has changed except that the God Squad is now trying to deflect charges of bigotry whereas in the past, bigotry against atheists could not have mattered less. This is progress.
Gerry Dantone is Director of the Center for Inquiry Community of Long Island.