A couple of days ago a Massachusetts Senate Candidate allegedly called the Boston bombings a “godless act.” He has since come out and said that he actually said “gutless” not “godless.” Perhaps he did actually say gutless even though he was quoted in at least one news report saying:
“I don’t have any doubt in my mind that they are going to identify the person or people responsible for this horrific, cowardly and godless act. I think there is going to be so much evidence available to the investigators that they will be able to put the pieces together.”
He made his clarification statement very quickly, and it doesn’t matter what he said originally. It’s good that he recognized that a big portion of his constituency is in fact “godless” and it wouldn’t pay for him to be insulting them in such an off-hand manner.
A recent survey from the Pew Forum shows that one in five U.S. Citizens has no religious preference and the number of “nones” is steadily growing. In fact, we now have a “none” in Congress from Arizona. Dave Muscato the Communications Director of the American Atheists is asking for assistance in getting the word out that Atheists object to politicians that describe heinous events like the Boston Marathon bombings as “godless.” “Godless” citizens such as Atheists don’t appreciate being excluded and shut out of the community by such slurs.
He asks that we assist by writing a short paragraph that includes the following three things:
1) Who you are and whom you represent or speak on behalf of (e.g. Matt Dillahunty is President of Atheist Community of Austin)
2) Why you’re hurt by the exclusion from the memorial and/or use of “godless” as a pejorative
3) What you would like to see happen as a solution.
He’s like us to send our replies to BostonResponse@gmail.com.
Here is mine:
My name is Donald Lacey. I’m the Arizona State Director for American Atheists, the Organizer of Tucson Atheists, a Board Member of FreeThought Arizona, the Secretary of the Secular Coalition for Arizona, the Editor of the Tucson Citizen FreeThought Blog, and Podcaster on Desert Air Podcast. I represent the freethinking community in Tucson, Arizona and, more generally, the Atheists of Arizona.
I object to the use of “godless” as a pejorative. Godless Americans are as moral as those with belief in God or gods. There are godless Atheists living good lives without the threat of eternal punishment and doing good things for people daily without the promise of heavenly rewards. Having morals and living an ethical life are not dependent on belief in God or gods. Imagine how marginalized Atheists felt just five years ago when Elizabeth Dole launched her “giant killer” attack on opponent by associating her with an Atheist group only to see the opponent, Kay Hagen, treat the implied godlessness as so offensive that it justified bringing a lawsuit. Both candidates displayed bigotry. Hopefully, we’re in a better place now but we still have a ways to go.
I’d like to see more people respond to the off-hand insults and let the politicians know that they are distancing themselves from a large portion of their constituencies. I’d like to see a growing “freethinking” community that must be considered when someone pursues political office due to the fact that the community is ready and able to respond quickly and publically to such insults with clear reasoned logic. Finally, I’d like to stop politicians from using Atheist and “godless” as insults.