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HUMANISTS LAUNCH “NAUGHTY” AWARENESS CAMPAIGN

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Posted by abeodbart November 25, 2011 at 8:31 am

“This week, the American Humanist Association announced the launch of their holiday advertisement campaign aimed to raise awareness of discrimination against nonbelievers in America.

The billboards and full-page newspaper ads contain the message, “Bias Against Atheists is Naughty, Not Nice,” and features Santa Claus making up his “naughty” list. The ads are placed in cities across the United States where atheists have experienced discrimination due to their lack of belief in a traditional god.

“Nonbelievers in America continue to be the object of discrimination,” said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association. “We hope this campaign will spur a conversation about this problem that moves us in a positive direction.”

Speckhardt continued, “Many humanists and atheists in America experience hatred in their own communities when simply standing up for the separation of church and state, or fighting for other rights that should be afforded without question.”

For example, the AHA placed an ad in the Cranston Herald newspaper because a high school student, Jessica Ahlquist, endured harassment and threats—one even called her a “stupid atheist”—for objecting to the display of a religious prayer banner hanging in her public high school auditorium.

Another ad was placed in a newspaper near Bastrop, Louisiana, where a student named Damon Fowler was ostracized by his community—even his own parents kicked him out of his home—for objecting to a Christian prayer that would be held during his graduation ceremony.”

Read more at Secular News Daily (Thanks Annette)

COMMENTS
November 25, 2011 at 8:39 am
Peter says:

It’s a shame atheists are subject to such bias. No one should be because of their beliefs.


November 25, 2011 at 10:46 am
Matt says:

They say they’re being discriminated against but they’re actually OBJECTING to something that doesn’t actually harm anyone. People are entitled to believe in whichever god they want, or no god at all. They’re entitled not to have made their mind up. But here we see athiests making problems for those who aren’t really causing a problem. The prayer segment of the graduation should still go ahead, because nobody’s being harmed, but objectors don’t have to get involved. Can’t they just sit there and wait til the prayer is finished?


November 25, 2011 at 2:07 pm
roz says:

a billboard in kearny, NJ? is it really a hotbed of religious discrimination? and why always do this around xmas? why not easter too? or for that matter, ramadan? :/

i do like the ad, tho–“Why believe in a god? Just be good for goodness’ sake.” :)

this is an uphill battle…but the fight against religious discrimination usually is. :(


November 25, 2011 at 2:25 pm
Chicken says:

Amen! Finally. ;)


November 25, 2011 at 5:56 pm

@Matt you’re completely missing the point – or am I? The pure and simple act of one “uninvolving” themselves in prayer or whatnot is what causes the discrimination and “issues” to begin with. Therefore would the best way for one to stand up for their rights as well be to object to something in the first place that others would propose?


November 25, 2011 at 7:47 pm
Barbara Hughes says:

I wish you all the best – it’s time we atheists made a stand!!


November 25, 2011 at 8:00 pm
Don says:

Matt,

People are entitled to believe in whichever god they want, or no god at all. They’re entitled not to have made their mind up.

Absolutely. My understanding of the American Constistution is that you have the right to pray or not pray, believe or not believe as you wish with no interference from the state. But also that the state, or state funded institutions, should not favour one set of beliefs over another nor exclude anyone for their belief or lack of it.

Inany parts of the US atheists are wary of even admiting to their belief because of the damage it could do to their employment prospects, business or social life.


November 25, 2011 at 8:12 pm
Don says:

(cont.) Currently in Michigan, for example there is a struggle to prevent an anti-bullying law from being weakened by an attempt to exempt bullying which stems from religious conviction.

Can’t they just sit there and wait til the prayer is finished?

Yes, being a doormat is always an option. Forgetting about seperation of church and state and allowing religiosity to dominate state institutions is an option. Sitting there and keeping your mouth shut is an option. It’s probably the safest one, don’t make waves.

Yeah, that’s probably the best way to make progress. Sit in the corner and shut the hell up.


November 25, 2011 at 8:41 pm
Berber Anna says:

Matt: So why only a Christian prayer, then? Isn’t that biased against people of other religions? Should they bow their heads, be silent and pray to their gods in private, while the Christian god is honored in public?
What is at issue with the graduation prayer is that the state (as this was a state-sponsored school) should not show preference for one religion over others, or for any religion at all. If the state sponsors one religion over another (or over no religion at all), it creates a sense of bias, a sense that more importance is given to members of that particular religion. That’s why state-sponsored prayer is illegal in the US — a law that this school broke.

Let’s say the school gave a peptalk about manhood, but neglected to mention a future for the girls. Would that be ok, too?


November 25, 2011 at 9:38 pm
Adam says:

I would prefer to see a billboard that makes christians think, and maybe question all the nativity bs that they lap up this time of year. “There was no sensus.” is one of many that springs to mind.


November 25, 2011 at 10:51 pm
Shaun Slade says:

I’m going to have to disagree with Matt with his comments that religion doesn’t harm anyone. For example, I recently posted a link to my friends on an article that tells of 6 people with HIV that died after being told they no longer need their medication because God would cure them. This is but one example and if you think of the controls and restrictions that religion requires you to adhere to you’ll find a dark and sinister side to it all. See the light and read some Dawkins/Hitchens.


November 26, 2011 at 12:46 am
The Other Matt says:

@ The first Matt:

Would you object to students being taught that there is no God in schools? Would you object to explicit mention of the absence of a God being constantly thrown into students faces? Maybe being taught that their personal faith is wrong and some other god is right, in school? Maybe taught something equally controversial but non-religious, like white supremacy? Just try to imagine being on the victim side of it, then claim it’s not damaging.

It is indeed harmful for their to be religious messages in schools. Promoting one message that not all agree with causes discomfort and raises tensions.

Is it a big deal? Not in most cases, though definitely in some others. The problem though, is that it is indeed damaging. Schools are far better off by being neutral in these areas


November 26, 2011 at 12:48 am
The Other Matt says:

@ The first Matt(Continued)

irrelevant to the students education. Every student should have the right to be free of religious pressures while they go about school. Doesn’t matter if they’re Christian, Muslim, Atheist, Jew, or Buddhist, it shouldn’t be any burden on them for having beliefs that are in the minority in their area.


November 26, 2011 at 5:12 am
spiderabc1 says:

@Matt You have reminded me of my primary school assemblies and sitting making up my own version of the Lord’s prayer. Slightly amusing though really annoying even at the age of 8. I am surprised atheism and scientific evidence of evolution requires advertising. In my opinoin all religions should be taught in school, not one over another and that empirical evidence is presented to pupils as fact not fiction. (If this is on twice my captch has rebelled : (in no way is it an act of you know who.)


November 26, 2011 at 8:45 am
Vic says:

Matt,

Would you be ok with an authority figure coming out and reminding the students that there probably isn’t a God and this is the only life they get, so try and make the most of it and respect that we’re all just lucky enough to be here at all?

If that happened where I’m from, a mob would rush the stage and beat the speaker bloody, if not kill him.

The huge double standard is the biggest problem.


November 26, 2011 at 3:32 pm
jazzderry says:

i’m an atheist and i agree with Matt above except its not atheists as a whole objecting -its politicians who are atheists.i was brought up episcopalian and am respectful of others beliefs-and yes i think the prayer segment should still go ahead-its not hurting anyone who does not believe in a god-well it wouldn’t hurt me anyway-its neither here nor there.that billboard was designed to stir up trouble and yes i can see how that would be seen as offensive to people.


November 27, 2011 at 2:39 pm
Rab says:

@the first Matt: if you think that religious belief isn’t harmful I’d like to know which sandpit your head is buried in so I can come and drag your ignorant arse out of it and into reality, you ignorant turd.


November 27, 2011 at 5:54 pm
NLP Guy says:

@Matt – How many different prayers to different gods would be acceptable then? If I believe in fairies can I demand a prayer to my fairy god and expect everyone else to sit quietly through it?

In many ways its keeping quiet and allowing such platforms that gives faiths credence that they really don’t deserve.

How about a little prayer to mcdonalds at the beginning of school assembies – After all what harm could it do?


November 27, 2011 at 8:27 pm
Berber Anna says:

jazzderry: I’m an atheist with no political aspirations apart from voting, and I object to the public funding of religion if said funding is not given, in equal amounts, to all religious, spiritual and philosophical (including atheist and humanist) organisations. That’s what was wrong with that prayer — it shows a state-funded bias towards one religion.

And I don’t see how it’s in any way offensive to point out that bias against any group isn’t nice. If it said ‘bias against muslims is naughty, not nice’ or ‘bias against jews is naughty, not nice’, would you call that offensive to christians as well? If not, then, well, why is bias against atheists any different?


November 29, 2011 at 3:07 am
wayne says:

I choose not to go to church and my children go to a multi-cultural school with no religious denomination. Yes she takes part in the holiday services at Easter and Christmas and I feel that is a bonus for her because she loves to sing and dance.

I was very disappointed when she came home sat down in a prayer position and started with a Christian prayer (she is only 5yrs old). Disappointed because we have not been consulted whether we are happy to allow the school to promote this religion to our child.

There are other religious groups in the same school and i wonder what would have been said if a Hindu or Muslim child started spouting the lords prayer at dinner time.

I agree that these are other views that should be explored when the time is right for me and my family not the school.


November 30, 2011 at 2:15 am
h4rdc0r3 d4v3 says:

at age 12 i refused bar mitzvah training and the ceremony itself based upon the fact that i simply never believed in god, and wasn’t about to get up in front of my friends, family, and the community, professing my admiration and service to a being representative of a figment of collective helplessness and fear.

got thrown in the psych ward for a month, at age 12, by my mother, the rigidly pious daughter of a rabbi, who couldn’t deal with a free thinking kid.

i doubt that having these billboards in proximity to us back then would have saved me any trouble growing up. not that they’re a bad idea…

wish i could have more to say on topic, but even stirring the memory makes me so fucking mad, thwarting clarity and reason.


December 6, 2011 at 4:31 pm
alan says:

Seems as though some humanist will have to get nailed, before they’re allowed to practice their beliefs in peace.


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