An answer to those who wish that NoBeliefs.com eliminate or tone down the war and political articles.
by Jim Walker
Originated: 20 July 2004
I have received many emails from people who have applauded my inclusion of political articles and my stand against the Bush administration, and I appreciate that greatly. However, a few freethinkers, skeptics, and atheists have written to me stating that I should not include politics on my site or that I should "tone down the political rhetoric." Now I don't know if those people represent one individual (perhaps a Republican or a Christian) who has created several email accounts in order to convince me otherwise (a troll) or if, indeed, they represent the general thinking of American freethinkers that wish to limit the political expression on this site. If it comes from the latter, I find it confoundedly puzzling and disconcerting that freethinkers would object to political expression regardless of how it goes against their views.
I suspect this very lack of political feeling within non-believers explains a lot as to why we have absolutely no representation from our government leaders and why most Americans shun us. Note that the birth of freethought occurred during heated political thought. Our very form of secular government (the first in history) came from political freethinkers. The greatest American freethinkers (Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, Robert Ingersoll, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and many others), all had strong political views and involved themselves with the politics of their day. Our civil liberties came from secularists, not religious fundamentalists.
It doesn't make a bit of sense for this site to abstain from politics, especially when freethinkers have always fought against religious influence on government. If we wish to sustain the separation of church and state, don't expect religious fanatics to uphold it. And unless we do something about it, you can pretty much guarantee that the United States will lose its secular nature.
Moreover, exposing the politics of this present administration has everything to do with the purpose of this site. George Bush and his far right-wing Christian henchmen, his gut-instincts, his evangelical and non-scientific view of the world, and his push for faith-based institutions threatens the secular nature of our government. His dictatorial support for corporations has shifted our government toward fascism. His war against terrorism and 'evil' comes directly out of religious type thinking. Thousands of U.S. soldiers and hundreds-of-thousands of Iraqi civilians have already died as a result of his intransigent mind-set. In a few years, an even larger number of deaths will occur when the effects of cancer kicks in as a result of American forces using depleted uranium weapons. History shows us that war almost always comes out of religious justification (moral war). Any nontheist who supports the concept of preemptive war, naively and unwittingly supports a very bad religious idea.
The religious influence on the United States government has become a slippery slope that started with the innocuous motto, "In God We Trust" on our coinage, the addition of "under God" in the pledge of America, to the government funding of religious institutions (all unconstitutional). Every day, right-wing Christians fight to make the United States a theocracy. Who do you think will stop this slide it if not for individuals like yourselves? Today, the Constitution, the last remaining fortress for liberty, remains in the control of Right-wing Christian conservatives, the very people who wish to dismantle it forever.
For those who hold to freethought, skepticism, or atheism, and especially those who represent freethinker organizations, web sites, etc., I encourage you to come out of the closet and become political and to help take control away from Christian fundamentalists. You may think that reason enough will do the job to convince others, but do you really think that religionists (who depend on irrational belief ) will listen to reason even though the separation of church and state actually protects their religion? At the very least, you can demand representation and support candidates that come closest to your position.
One person wrote to me claiming that "all political convictions is just another form of belief" and that to hold a political position means believing in it and, thus, contradicts the concept of no beliefs. I couldn't disagree more. No doubt most people believe in their political convictions (which doesn't bother me a bit) but don't put everyone in that "all." I own no beliefs of any political concern, liberal or otherwise even though I may hold opinions (guesses) about them even if others label them liberal or conservative. As Darwin once wrote, "All observations must be for or against some view if it is to be of any service." But arguing for a view does not require belief, only a point of view, a view that does require thought, but not necessarily belief.
For those who wish that I lay off the political articles, forget it; you will just have to live with it. I will not abstain from including politics on my site, and any protest against this, regardless if it comes from Republicans or alleged freethinkers, will only encourage me to accelerate the political thrust. For those who disagree, you can use your freedom of choice by ignoring the politics or by refusing to visit this site entirely.
Please put freethought back into your hearts and into the political spotlight!