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Tue Nov 4, 2014, 02:03 PM

 

Atheist author Peter Boghossian suggests gays shouldn’t be proud. Is he proud to be an atheist?

Chris Stedman | Nov 4, 2014

A few days ago, Peter Boghossian—a philosophy professor, speaker for the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science, and author of A Manual for Creating Atheists—caused a stir when he posted the following statement on Facebook and Twitter:

Peter Boghossian @peterboghossian

I've never understood how someone could be proud of being gay. How can one be proud of something one didn't work for?

12:38 PM - 30 Oct 2014

Many atheists, such as LGBTQ atheist author Greta Christina, responded—but Boghossian dug in and continued to defend his statement, tweeting additional statements like “Questioning that one can be proud to be gay is a leftist blasphemy.”

As a queer atheist, I too am perplexed by both Boghossian’s question and his defensive reaction to criticism—especially from someone who lists “reason, rationality, critical thinking” in his Twitter bio.

Perhaps he truly doesn’t understand why some LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer) people feel proud to be LGBTQ. Rather than assume a more cynical motive, I’m going to treat his question as sincere. But when confronted by an LGBTQ-related question you don’t understand, the reasonable next step is to ask LGBTQ people. And it doesn’t take much investigating to find out why many LGBTQ people feel a sense of pride.

http://chrisstedman.religionnews.com/2014/11/04/gay-pride-atheist-peter-boghossian/

56 replies, 2418 views

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Arrow 56 replies Author Time Post
Reply Atheist author Peter Boghossian suggests gays shouldn’t be proud. Is he proud to be an atheist? (Original post)
rug Nov 2014 OP
merrily Nov 2014 #1
ZombieHorde Nov 2014 #2
merrily Nov 2014 #4
ZombieHorde Nov 2014 #12
merrily Nov 2014 #13
ZombieHorde Nov 2014 #14
merrily Nov 2014 #15
ZombieHorde Nov 2014 #16
merrily Nov 2014 #17
phil89 Nov 2014 #3
rug Nov 2014 #5
Fumesucker Nov 2014 #28
rug Nov 2014 #29
Fumesucker Nov 2014 #31
rug Nov 2014 #32
Fumesucker Nov 2014 #34
rug Nov 2014 #35
Fumesucker Nov 2014 #36
rug Nov 2014 #41
cbayer Nov 2014 #44
AtheistCrusader Nov 2014 #37
rug Nov 2014 #42
AtheistCrusader Nov 2014 #53
rug Nov 2014 #54
AtheistCrusader Nov 2014 #55
rug Nov 2014 #56
cbayer Nov 2014 #19
Fumesucker Nov 2014 #33
cbayer Nov 2014 #43
Fumesucker Nov 2014 #45
cbayer Nov 2014 #46
Fumesucker Nov 2014 #47
cbayer Nov 2014 #48
Fumesucker Nov 2014 #49
cbayer Nov 2014 #50
Fumesucker Nov 2014 #51
cbayer Nov 2014 #52
AtheistCrusader Nov 2014 #38
beam me up scottie Nov 2014 #39
Jim__ Nov 2014 #6
rug Nov 2014 #7
Jim__ Nov 2014 #10
rug Nov 2014 #11
NYC_SKP Nov 2014 #8
rug Nov 2014 #9
cbayer Nov 2014 #20
NYC_SKP Nov 2014 #21
cbayer Nov 2014 #22
Promethean Nov 2014 #23
cbayer Nov 2014 #24
NYC_SKP Nov 2014 #25
cbayer Nov 2014 #26
cbayer Nov 2014 #18
digonswine Nov 2014 #27
Fumesucker Nov 2014 #30
Dorian Gray Nov 2014 #40

Response to rug (Original post)

Tue Nov 4, 2014, 02:13 PM

1. After centuries and/or millenia of having been shamed for being what one was born,

one HAS to become proud of what one was born. That is true for both gays and African Americans. Too bad this guy is so obtuse.


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Response to merrily (Reply #1)

Tue Nov 4, 2014, 02:24 PM

2. I think that is only true if you make those qualities a part of your identity.

Pride is one beneficial option, abandoning the identity is another beneficial option.

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Response to ZombieHorde (Reply #2)

Tue Nov 4, 2014, 02:31 PM

4. I may not be understanding you what you mean by "identity."

I was born female. It's not a choice for me to make being female part of what I am. Or to not make it part of who I am. Ditto someone born gay or born African American. It's not all of who I am, of course, but it is definitely a significant part. And, again, not a choice.

So, I conclude that you are using "identity" in a way that may be different from how I use it.

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Response to merrily (Reply #4)

Tue Nov 4, 2014, 03:55 PM

12. I'm 5'7" tall, but my identity is not 5'7" tall person or a short guy.

I have no choice in my height, but it's still not an identity for me.

There is no objective reason to choose one or more traits to identify as. Others will identity us by our traits, and I think keeping that in mind is wise, but we don't have to play their game. If we have free will, then we can choose which of our traits we identity with, or to not identify with any of our traits. Our sex, sexual orientation, and skin color may not be a choice, but our identities are a choice if we have free will.

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Response to ZombieHorde (Reply #12)

Tue Nov 4, 2014, 03:58 PM

13. I don't think height is comparable at all.

I don't think anything that has not long been a reason why people were hated, mocked, denied rights, murdered, etc is comparable at all.

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Response to merrily (Reply #13)

Tue Nov 4, 2014, 04:04 PM

14. That is a reasonable position, in my opinion.

However, if you have free will, then you have a choice as to how you identify. Right?

Oh, and those identities were created by people who hate you, not love you.

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Response to ZombieHorde (Reply #14)

Tue Nov 4, 2014, 04:15 PM

15. Yes, in theory, as you are being stalked by drunk crazies who want to kill you, you can forget

you are gay or black. And, in theory, a woman being raped can forget she is female.

Lily Ledbetter probably forgot she was female, until she had to sue for equal pay for equal work--and be denied because her time to sue had expired. Bet she didn't forget too often after that, though. Being female is definitely not all Lily is, not her entire identity, but I don't think you're being realistic

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Response to merrily (Reply #15)

Tue Nov 4, 2014, 04:36 PM

16. Recognizing other people will identity us is different than having identities.

Most of our identities were created by people who want to hurt us. The divisions benefit them more than you. Of course women should recognize sexism, and of course black people should recognize racism, and of course gay people should recognize homophobia, but that doesn't mean these things need to define us.

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Response to ZombieHorde (Reply #16)

Tue Nov 4, 2014, 04:50 PM

17. In every post, I've specified that it is not all a person is. But not to have those those things as

even part of your identity is a luxury that only a minority of the US population has. And, in every post, you've pretty much glossed over that I said that, going right back to your original wording of "identify" and "define."

We're talking in circles and we're talking past each other. Don't see a point in continuing that.


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Response to rug (Original post)

Tue Nov 4, 2014, 02:30 PM

3. Atheism is a position on a single issue.

 

Atheism does not require support of other atheists' positions. This is unlike religion, where people are told what to think. Hope this helps. His atheism has nothing to do with his idiotic anti gay statements. You can be atheist without supporting an oppressive, harmful institution...not true of those supporting religion.

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Response to phil89 (Reply #3)

Tue Nov 4, 2014, 03:05 PM

5. That's true. It's silent on homophobia, misogyny and child abuse as well.

 

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Response to rug (Reply #5)

Tue Nov 4, 2014, 08:43 PM

28. Too bad that some religions aren't silent on those things

We might have a better world.

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #28)

Tue Nov 4, 2014, 08:44 PM

29. That's a value judgment atheism neither supports nor rejects.

 

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Response to rug (Reply #29)

Tue Nov 4, 2014, 08:54 PM

31. You said that already

My point was that religion isn't value neutral on those things and that's not always a good thing.

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #31)

Tue Nov 4, 2014, 08:56 PM

32. Sometimes it is.

 

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Response to rug (Reply #32)

Tue Nov 4, 2014, 09:13 PM

34. On the whole do you think religion has been a positive thing for women, gays and children?

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #34)

Tue Nov 4, 2014, 09:17 PM

35. Without a doubt.

 

And on the whole refers to a long, long time in a wide, wide world.

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Response to rug (Reply #35)

Tue Nov 4, 2014, 09:37 PM

36. Doesn't seem to have done much for them lately

And by lately I mean the last couple of thousand years..

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #36)

Wed Nov 5, 2014, 10:47 AM

41. You should open a history book.

 

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #34)

Wed Nov 5, 2014, 11:46 AM

44. Have you seen Half the Sky?

Watch it then rethink your statement. Religious organizations are doing more for marginalized and abused women and girls than any other organizations.

You really need to adjust those blinders, Fs.

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Response to rug (Reply #5)

Wed Nov 5, 2014, 02:12 AM

37. It is silent on EVERYTHING, except whether or not there is a god.

No need to play games.

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Response to AtheistCrusader (Reply #37)

Wed Nov 5, 2014, 10:49 AM

42. There's no need to imply atheism is in the vanguardo of the fight against homophobia and misogyny.

 

It's not.

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Response to rug (Reply #42)

Wed Nov 5, 2014, 10:44 PM

53. I agree. Secular Humanism and other atheist-based philosophies on the other hand...

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Response to AtheistCrusader (Reply #53)

Wed Nov 5, 2014, 11:19 PM

54. There are lots of political and valu based organizatuions opposed.

 

I'm glad we agree atheism is not one of them.

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Response to rug (Reply #54)

Wed Nov 5, 2014, 11:36 PM

55. Neither is physics. Try harder.

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Response to AtheistCrusader (Reply #55)

Wed Nov 5, 2014, 11:39 PM

56. Physics is as relevant to opposing misogyny as atheism.

 

We still agree but you may consider changing your username.

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Response to phil89 (Reply #3)

Tue Nov 4, 2014, 06:19 PM

19. Except that he is a spokesperson for a prominent atheist organization.

Like it or not, what he says reflects on that organization.

Not all religious organizations are oppressive, harmful institutions. Surely you know that, and if you don't, it is merely a fantasy of yours completely unsupported by fact or reason. You can be a theist without supporting an oppressive harmful institution and you can be an atheist without being an anti-theist.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #19)

Tue Nov 4, 2014, 09:04 PM

33. It gets old fighting the oppressive, harmful religious organizations by ourselves

Every time someone has to go to the courts to get a cross or the Ten Commandments off public property it ends up being the non religious to do the heavy lifting and catch all the hatred from the fundamentalists/evangelicals.

There's headline after headline of atheists standing up for everyone's religious freedom when the moderate Christians are either too apathetic or too scared to oppose the fundamentalists.

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

By their fruits shall ye know them.

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #33)

Wed Nov 5, 2014, 11:41 AM

43. There are secular groups that fight against 1st amendment incursions

and those groups have both non-religious and religious members.

Sorry you are so tired, but if you look around you will see that there is a lot of support for the causes you endorse coming from a lot of directions.

Carrying that cross around must get you totally exhausted.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #43)

Wed Nov 5, 2014, 12:35 PM

45. You try so hard to appear reasonable

And then you come out with a comment like that which is designed to hurt on as many levels as possible.



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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #45)

Wed Nov 5, 2014, 12:43 PM

46. Yes I do try to be reasonable.

And you are also guilty of coming out with comments that are designed to hurt. I think mine was hitting back, but it was not nice and I should have refrained.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #46)

Wed Nov 5, 2014, 01:18 PM

47. It didn't take someone dogmatically saying something you think is nonsense long to irritate you

Irritate you in fact to the point of deliberately trying to hurt them.

Now imagine everyone around you unthinkingly does that on a continuing basis.

If what you said is truly your perspective on atheists who feel smothered in the more overtly religious areas of the world then I suppose we are equal.

Are you perhaps beginning to grasp why some atheists choose not to speak up about what they think? You claim not even to be a theist and yet my opinions offend you to the point of wanting to lash out at me unless I painstakingly self censor and sugar coat everything I say. Do you somehow think theists sugar coat what they say to me when they have no idea what I think?

I sublimate most of that low grade irritation you just exhibited into snark and/or humor the same way you did.



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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #47)

Wed Nov 5, 2014, 01:26 PM

48. Again, I think I was hitting back and I will be more thoughtful in the future

when dealing with you, but I will also take the opportunity to point out when I feel you are unthinkingly striking out at me.

What I said was a reflection of my feelings towards you. You don't represent anyone but yourself and you can not expand what I said any further than that.

I don't personally know any atheists either here or IRL that choose not to speak up about what they think, and if they exist I certainly don't think it is because of me.

It is not your opinions that have offended me, it is your unsubstantiated and unfair assumptions about who I am and what my aims are.

So, let's call a truce, what do you say?

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Response to cbayer (Reply #48)

Wed Nov 5, 2014, 02:05 PM

49. Me being dogmatic in the face of reason was annoying, you struck out in annoyance

I'm not in here every day going hammer and tongs, I drop in and read from time to time and if motivated I comment. I long ago came to terms with my feelings even if I didn't quite realize what they were until prodded to ruminate by things I've read in here.

What I'm trying to do is give you another perspective, not attack you.

Dogmatic and repetitive adherence to something you perceive as nonsense can be and often is annoying. I read a story recently about a mother of an autistic boy who had found the iPhone robot Siri to be a huge help with her son. Siri would answer the repetitive and obsessive questions of an autistic child about things like say weather without ever getting annoyed, something hard for even the most patient human to do.

You constantly read on DU of political arguments causing family strife, religious arguments are just as bad and any atheist is almost always outnumbered and automatically the bad guy at least where I live so that's my perspective.

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #49)

Wed Nov 5, 2014, 02:13 PM

50. You can't tell me why I struck out.

I told you that it was hitting back. You can choose not to believe that and continue to make misassumptions about who I am and why I do what I do, or you can drop that and try to take me at face value.

You are not in a position to analyze me and I reject your diagnostic assessment. I was responding to you and you alone. I respond to individuals, not labels.

I understand that you may face certain issues IRL that cause you to be irritated by repetitive dogma and feel that you are in a minority that can not speak up.

But atheists are not outnumbered in this group. Far from it. It is this position of persecution that I was responding to, and I did it unkindly.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #50)

Wed Nov 5, 2014, 03:03 PM

51. I haven't told you how heavy your cross is..

So save your complaints about analysis.

Supposedly you have no dog in this hunt, you hold yourself on some higher plane above all this theist vs atheist bullshit. And yet you found my words sufficiently outrageous that you reacted emotionally no matter what you might wish to call that emotion.

Now imagine yourself as part of the battle, with people making nasty comments on every side without ever knowing they are talking about you while you stand there and listen to the hate pour over you like warm mud oozing down your head and over your body.

Then you shrug and walk away, feeling just slightly less charitable towards religion and the religious than you did a few moments before. But at least you're not one of those angry militant atheists who say nasty things on the internet about religion.







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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #51)

Wed Nov 5, 2014, 03:26 PM

52. When did I say that I had no dog in this hunt?

Unless that hunt is the endless, useless, self-defeating game of atheist vs. theist. But even if that is it, I would love to see it end. I think it hurts the party and the platform.

Did you see the article about how non-christian religious people are apparently fleeing the democratic party? Could it be that they feel less than welcome?

I did find your words pretty outrageous and dogmatic. I also found them unsubstantiated. I responded to that rationally at first, then with a person swipe at you. I have a grudge. I am willing to drop it.

I have, of course, been in situations where people were saying ugly things that referred to part of my identity. Sometimes I shrug and walk away and sometimes I speak up. My negative feelings are towards those individuals not towards whatever group they might belong to.

How do you think the religious people on this site feel when they experience some of the explicitly hateful posts about religion and the religious?

I am who I am. I don't live to attack religion and the religious, nor do I live to attach atheism or atheists. I do, however, have an agenda that includes challenging people who are prejudiced against either group.

I am accused of being too kum-ba-yah. I don't see the problem with that.

A truce is on the table

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Response to cbayer (Reply #19)

Wed Nov 5, 2014, 02:12 AM

38. I'm an anti-theist AND not a member of that org. What fun!

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Response to cbayer (Reply #19)

Wed Nov 5, 2014, 02:27 AM

39. What horseshit. That organization does not represent atheism or atheists.

Unlike the Vatican there is no institutionalized homophobia or misogyny in atheism.

And unlike the vile apologists who defend the Church in this forum, atheists have nothing to be ashamed of.


You can be a theist without supporting an oppressive harmful institution


And if you support or defend those institutions you're not as tolerant as you claim to be.

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Response to rug (Original post)

Tue Nov 4, 2014, 03:06 PM

6. Was there some context to his posting that?

Was he engaged in some type of exchange with someone? If he just posted this out of the blue, it looks like he's taking look at me lessons from his colleague.

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Response to Jim__ (Reply #6)

Tue Nov 4, 2014, 03:13 PM

7. Good question. From his facebook page, it looks to be random.

 

https://www.facebook.com/peter.boghossian/posts/10152707100152906

BTW, I thought this was an astute observation by Stedman:

I hope Boghossian will try to listen, too. His comments don’t exist in a vacuum, and he’s certainly not the only atheist that has demonstrated a failure to understand various aspects of queer experience. A number of LGBTQ people have been critical of how some atheists have co-opted queer issues or language, and others have expressed frustration that their struggles are seemingly used as props to further an anti-religious agenda.

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Response to rug (Reply #7)

Tue Nov 4, 2014, 03:27 PM

10. Did you follow his ...

link? Interesting comment:

…I have felt for some time that atheist activists are frequently only willing to call out sexism when they see it in religion. It’s one more way they can point to how thoroughly horrible religion is as they call for its demise. But the moment an atheist woman says she has encountered sexism at atheist conventions or at atheist gatherings, she is lampooned and derided, called all manner of names and even threatened with rape or death. But isn’t this the kind of thing these same atheists criticize religion for?

...

Frankly, I feel used. These atheist activists are the sort of people who want to use my story as proof that religion is horrible to women but aren’t willing to listen to what I have to say about sexism in our culture at large. They are the sort of people who are eager to use the shooting of young education activist Malala Yousafzai by the Taliban to prove how horrible religion is for women but somehow fail to mention that Malala is a Muslim who speaks of drawing her inspiration to fight for gender equality from the Koran. This is not standing up for women. This is exploiting women as merely a tool in a fight against religion.

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Response to Jim__ (Reply #10)

Tue Nov 4, 2014, 03:32 PM

11. Yes, I had. Vlad is an interesting observer, with no axe to grind.

 

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Response to rug (Original post)

Tue Nov 4, 2014, 03:14 PM

8. This inspires me to start a discussion asking if Atheism is a Choice.

 

Between atheism, agnosticism, and theism, I think all CAN be choices, but can they not also all be indoctrinated, as well?

And do any of the three truly suffer from the same forms of bigotry as homosexuals or minority races? I think they do under the right conditions.

What I don't understand is the apparent Persecution Complex that presents among individuals in a largely free and tolerant community!

Nobody is out to get anybody, and this isn't the same as the civil rights movement or marriage equality, or is it?



Off to vote.

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Response to NYC_SKP (Reply #8)

Tue Nov 4, 2014, 03:19 PM

9. Yes.

 

Yes.

No.

No.

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Response to NYC_SKP (Reply #8)

Tue Nov 4, 2014, 06:24 PM

20. I have entertained the idea that for some, perhaps all, atheism/theism is not a choice.

And not just because of indoctrination but because that is just who you are. Most believers could not choose to not believe and most atheists could not choose to believe.

I do think that there is rather significant prejudice against atheists in some communities. In some countries you can be killed or jailed. While that's not true in the US, there are still ramifications in some area.

I think it is a civil rights movement at this point and is moving ahead pretty smoothly.

There are always individuals within groups that cling to persecution. That's their problem and clearly not unique to atheism.

Glad you voted! I forgot to get my absentee ballot.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #20)

Tue Nov 4, 2014, 07:29 PM

21. This year, in my district, there wasn't much to vote on.

 

No close races, no big deal local races or issues.

I did want to get in and vote on the six propositions.

I voted no on 1, 2, 46 and yes on 45 and 47.

I wasn't sure which way I went on 48. I support native american enterprises but don't really believe gambling is a productive activity should be supported by waivers to environmental regulations, so I may have voted no.

https://s3.amazonaws.com/s3.couragecampaign.org/images/cc_2014ProgressiveVoterGuide_V7.pdf

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Response to NYC_SKP (Reply #21)

Tue Nov 4, 2014, 07:33 PM

22. I am now registered in Georgia, where my vote is going to make a bigger difference

than it ever did in CA.

I saw all the proposition signs when I was in CA last week, but had no idea what they were about.

I am embarrassingly out of the loop.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #20)

Tue Nov 4, 2014, 07:37 PM

23. During my time in the USAF

I met more than one person who while tolerant themselves informed me straight up, no room for interpretation or humor, if it were known I wasn't a christian where they come from I would be murdered. When asked to elaborate the responses were mixed between a night attack while I was asleep or a lynch mob. These weren't people from some 3rd world theocracy, they were US citizens from states within our union.

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Response to Promethean (Reply #23)

Tue Nov 4, 2014, 07:42 PM

24. I don't doubt that those kinds of threats occur,

but I haven't seen any data to support that this actually happens in the US.

Bigots are often blowhards but don't always act on their threats.

Madelyn O'Hair was killed by other atheists.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #24)

Tue Nov 4, 2014, 07:51 PM

25. There's always a dominant group. I would be interested in knowing, nationwide...

 

What are the numbers of people, total, who are threatened or discriminated against for their religious beliefs, be it Islam or Judaism or whatever.

And, what are the numbers of people who are similarly threatened for professing no belief at all; atheism or agnosticism.

I would venture to say that more are discriminated against for having beliefs (that are not the dominant religion) than for not having beliefs at all.

On the other hand, I would bet that the perpetrators of that discrimination are adherents to a faith and think they're superior and are defending it.

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Response to NYC_SKP (Reply #25)

Tue Nov 4, 2014, 07:53 PM

26. I have never seen that kind of data, but agree

it would be very useful and particularly helpful in looking at trends.

And seeing how those with non-dominant beliefs compare would also be interesting.

It's wrong whatever direction it's coming from.

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Response to rug (Original post)

Tue Nov 4, 2014, 06:15 PM

18. What in the world was he thinking?

Isn't this the guy who wrote the "recruiting manual" and advocates that atheists take it to the streets and openly proselytize?

I've never liked him and now I like him even less. Bad news that he is a spokesperson for the Dawkins Foundation.

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Response to rug (Original post)

Tue Nov 4, 2014, 08:37 PM

27. I suspect the definitions of "proud" are at fault-

Boghossian is surely obtuse here.
One definition describes pride as being a result of one's accomplishments.
In only this sense, it may not make sense to be "proud" of anything one does not choose or do.
We use "pride", though, to be the same as not being forced into being ashamed of one's self for something we do not control. In this sense-pride is surely reasonable.

Earlier in life, I felt pride referred to one's own accomplishments. I never understood white or black pride--it is only because I was using the term in a different sense. I get it now--it has changed.

This author should know that the term has evolved and not sound like such a d-bag.

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Response to rug (Original post)

Tue Nov 4, 2014, 08:51 PM

30. Why should I be proud of something I have no control over?

I'm not proud of my skin color or my height, they just are.

The same way with my atheism, I have no control over that, I can't choose to believe something that seems ludicrous to me hence I'm not proud of it.

I'm proud of what I do, what I accomplish, what I say, what I ideas I generate, the people I help.

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #30)

Wed Nov 5, 2014, 06:46 AM

40. I'm mostly proud of my achievements in life

I agree with you. But I do feel pride in my Irish heritage, as well. (I did nothing to achieve that.) I studied Irish playwrights and Irish literature and Irish history in college electives because I wanted to learn more about my heritage. Maybe you can argue that I was proud of the accomplishments of the Irish people???

But the same can be true of all heritage, skin color and sexual orientation. They've overcome hardships in this country and many are still fighting the good fight. Why not be proud of that?

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