Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Atheist racism?

There is a fellow called Dan Caplis who hosts a radio show in Colorado, and last week he made a pretty ridiculous and insulting statement about a very serious issue. During a discussion about racism, he had this to say:
The roots of this kind of racism, this kind of attitude where somebody really thinks they’re superior to somebody, just because of the color of the other person’s skin? First, what it tells me, you know, my constitutionally-protected opinion about that person, is: they don’t believe in God. Nobody who believes in God can be a racist, in my view, because once you believe God made us, you mean, God made junk? God made somebody lesser just by virtue of the color of their skin? So my starting point is always: All racists must be atheists. They can’t possibly believe in God.
What!? How does that make any sense to anybody? First off, he's committing the no true Scotsman fallacy. Secondly, he is either quite ignorant or being deliberately obtuse. After a lot of complaints, this is the closest he came to an apology...
I apologize if it was taken that way, but never could’ve imagined somebody would think I was saying that all atheists are racists. That would be a goofy thing to say. I was just saying all racists are atheists…
Um, that doesn't really make things sound any better Dan. But while we're on the topic of goofy things to say, how about his entire commentary on this topic. And why is it that only atheists are in his cross-hairs? Why not anyone who believes in any religion other than Christianity as well? Then again, maybe he's at least smart enough to know that saying "all racists are Jews" would have gotten him in a lot more hot water.

But what of his claim that there is no way that believers can be racist? It should be pretty obvious that believers can be racist. I know that when I was a Christian, I was pretty prejudiced. Was that due to being a believer, or my political leanings at the time? Who knows... but I was a prejudiced Christian none-the-less. But after I left religion, and better understood evolution, I realized that we are all related and so very much more the same than we are different. So the opposite of Dan's claim is true of me.

I find Sterling's idea that Christian's can't believe that God can make 'junk' as pretty baffling. What about Sodom and Gomorrah? Or everyone that was supposedly drowned in Noah's flood? God deemed them to be 'junk', so why wouldn't a Christian?

And can Christians be racist? Of course! How about just a few examples...

The Westboro Baptist Church: Seriously, who don't they hate?

The KKK: They are a Christian organization and their website reads, "Bringing a Message of Hope and Deliverance to White Christian America!"

Church of God’s Chosen in Alabama: They hold white only events.

Then there are schools who were in the news the last few years for still holding separate white and black proms. Oh, and they are in very religious areas.

Hate Crime and Racism: When you consider that atheists only make up about 4% of the US population, there's just not anywhere near enough atheists, and far too much racism and hate crimes.

Interracial marriage: Studies have shown that believers are more likely to oppose interracial
marriage than non-believers are.

While Dan thinks Christians can't possibly be racist, I actually think that it's perfectly easy to expect that Christians (and people from any group) can be racist. I also don't think he knows his Bible very well, because some parts actually could promote racism...

God selects the Israelites as his only chosen people: God himself is dividing races or groups as inherently good vs bad. The Israelites are special, and everyone else is not. Sound familiar?

Who can be a slave: Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves. -Leviticus 25:44 Okay... So those other people, you can own them and treat them as sub-human. Wait, I feel like I remember something similar to that...

Christians? You think these assholes are Christians? It's not like
they're meeting in a church, with a priest and have a huge
"Jesus Saves" banner on the wall. Wait a minute...

Mark of Cain: After Cain killed Able he was cursed with the inability to grow crops, a required nomadic lifestyle, and a 'mark'. Admittedly, the Bible doesn't describe the mark, but some sects of Christianity did (and still do) teach that the curse was that of 'black skin'.

Curse of Ham: Ham was cursed by God for seeing his father Noah naked while he slept and not covering him up (Genesis 9:20-27). As a result a curse was bestowed that Ham's decedents (through Canaan) shall be slaves. Interestingly, the Jewish Talmud adds that Ham's skin was also 'blackened' as part of the curse. This was also a popular interpretation in 18th and 19th century Christianity. 

Considering that Christianity and Judaism did (in still do in some pockets) consider blackness of the skin to be part of a curse, is it really that hard to believe that believers can be racist after-all? It makes sense to me. Obviously not all Christians are racist, but they certainly can be (atheists, and everyone else too). So it would be nice if Dan Caplis would resign from slinging mud (and showing his own prejudices) and instead stick to the facts and the real issues at hand.

-Brain Hulk

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