I’m going to share two stories with you about two seemingly very different topics, but both sharing a common theme. First, imagine that there was a law enshrined in your land as one of the most important tenements of your government, and that someone was violating that rule. Now imagine that everyone except one person was okay with that violation, so they let it stand. If one person pointed out the violation and got the law enforced, what do you suppose the other people ignoring the law would do? Do you think they would stay rational? Like maybe they’d say, “Well huh, I guess we were breaking the law. Okay, fair enough, let’s try to be better.” You think that’s what really happened?
Then you’re either naive or in denial. Because what really happened is, people started sending threats to a teenage girl because she’s an Atheist and had a prayer taken down out of her school. Separation of church and state? Whatever, hippie chick, there are traditions to be respected! (Traditions made by organized religions after that pesky idea about separation of church and state, and traditions that romanticize conformity and oppression as actually being nurturing and educating.)
(EDIT: The more I think about this, the more this real life event SCREAMS for a YA author to spin it into a courageous tale of a non-believer standing strong against Christian persecution. A 16-year-old protagonist, clearly in the right, being brave in the face of tradition and righteous indignation. You don’t even need no romantic angle to make this into a solid book with a great heroine. Come on, writers. I know one of you is bold enough to cover this story and give Atheist teens a book to rave about. Please, make this happen.)
And you say, “Well but that’s a few religious fanatics.” Nuh-uh, this girl has to be escorted to class by cops because EVERYONE hates her. Forget a “few rotten apples,” because this whole place is full of rotten sentiments posing as religious devotion. I find it sad how many people demonstrate their love of God by making threats against other people. It’s even worse coming from people who supposedly believe in turning the other cheek. But being honest, the day I see morally incensed Christians actually practice what they preach about turning the other cheek, I’ll be flabbergasted and speechless.
But let’s move on to story two, where a blogger is attacked as “the worst person in the world.” Pretty freaking harsh, so what did they do? Did he advocate genocide or make a case for eating baby seals in front of their sobbing mothers? No, he didn’t provide links to the HELLO KITTY items he was blogging about, and the fans of the merchandise are flaming him with comments like: “I don’t know how your wife can put up with you. I think it’s utterly disgusting and you’re not fit to live on earth the way you treat us.” (emphasis mine)
REALLY? For not linking to a mass-produced item that you can fucking Google in 3.6 fucking seconds from the search window of your browser? And what the fuck is wrong with people that every day they take first world shit and turn it into a reason to be rancid inhumane shitheads? The first story shows how religious dogma can turn ugly even as people preach about wanting to earn God’s love. But the second story is more disturbing because the “religion” that this man ran afoul of is the Hello Kitty fandom. And they’re wishing death on him with just as much venom as the people threatening the teenage Atheist. Neither group has a valid excuse, but looking at the second story, how can any fan not cringe and say “Okay, that’s taking our fandom too far?” So how come this poor guy is getting comments like this regularly? In short, what the hell is wrong with you people? Why is it that you can turn your first world problems into the worst travesty that ever happened, ever, but you can’t recognize when real travesties have occurred?
And really, I don’t care if you have a defense. I shut off comments so I don’t have to deal with “You don’t understand the power of Sanrio, heathen! We are legion, and you will respect our authoritai!”
What I understand is, some of you nerds have taken getting incensed to a whole new level of crazy. I rant and rage all the time, but I never go to any blogger’s site and wish death on them. I never tell someone stupid shit like “you’re the worst person ever!” Because there’s Hitler, Pol Pot, Stalin, and quite a few other competitors who come in my mind before Joe Blow, Hello Kitty blogger who doesn’t link items.
And since we’re covering threats, an Atheist teenager who doesn’t want religion shoved in her face is also not the worst person ever. In fact, that chica ought to be getting the key to the city for her bravery in the face of religious intolerance. (Yeah, you read right. Intolerance to a lack of faith is still religious intolerance just as surely as Christians locking Muslims or Jews out of a community is.)
People, you have got to stop getting pissy with everyone over little shit. And no, don’t come to me that my rants are little shit. I speak for a group with depressingly high suicide rates who suffer from physical assault and rapes. In addition to this group, I also speak about racial and gender inequality, and about child abuse. All of these topics are real problems with deep long-term side effects for the victims. People are left emotionally scarred by real discrimination and abuse. You want examples? Well, I can think of one teen girl who may now need therapy, off the top of my head. (Or at the top of this post, for those of you with short term memory loss.)
Before you fly off the handle about someone not respecting you or your cult, stop and ask what the harm of their infraction against you is. Religious people, you REALLY need to adopt this policy, because there is no excuse for your intolerance to disbelief. I believe in God, and I promise you, God has never suffered a broken bone from an Atheist saying “I don’t believe.” I believe this so much, I married an Atheist, and I never try to convert him or his sister. I can respect their beliefs without making a big deal out of mine. Can you? You may say you can, but the actions of a lot of you make your vows of tolerance hollow, at best.
Some of you may claim that society will fail if we don’t respect your views. I disagree. I think you want to exclude everyone from society who does not share your views, and I think your excluding and shunning are much more harmful to the fabric of society than the Atheists who just want to be left alone. They aren’t the ones trying to pull away from the weave of society because no one else is good enough to live by your standards. (Standards established by racist and sexist men who thought women were property and people were cattle who needed to be corralled into behaving.)
And as for you Hello Kitty fans…seriously, how can people who love an emblem of fluffy cuteness and sharing and friendship still be as thoroughly toxic and vile as a member of the CCC? If you can find reasons to call other Hello Kitty fans “the worst person ever,” then you should seek therapy. Probably look into anger management too.
There’s nothing wrong with being angry for a good reason, but some of you sheltered people need a reality check in the worst way.