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Stand Up for Freedom of Religion!

February 1st, 2008 · Posted by Hugo · 10 Comments

UPDATE: See the comments for more on the saga. The MySpace group mentioned has been restored.

Skeptico has a post titled Sniveling Cowardly Christians. And yes, the title is justified:

Early this month, MySpace again deleted the Atheist and Agnostic Group (35,000 members). This deletion, due largely to complaints from people who find atheism offensive, marks the second time MySpace has cancelled the group since November 2007.
[…]
“MySpace refuses to undelete the group, although it never violated any terms of service,” said Bryan Pesta, Ph.D., the group’s moderator. “When the largest Christian group was hacked, MySpace’s Founder, Tom Anderson, personally restored the group, and promised to protect it from future deletions.”

This originally comes from MySpace: No place for Atheists?, read that or Skeptico’s post for more details. In particular, Skeptico asks:

Where are the “moderate Christians” protesting the atheists’ group’s right to exist? This act shows the religious mindset as it really is – intolerant, authoritarian, cowardly and vindictive.

While I don’t know how tolerant or intolerant the group was, the Humanist Chaplaincy at Harvard University endorsed the group which is a good sign:

The group had its own Wikipedia entry, and in April won the Excellence in Humanist Communication Award (2007) from the Humanist Chaplaincy at Harvard University and the Secular Student Alliance.

And here’s the thing, even if they were intolerant (which they probably were not), I still believe moderate Christians in favour of Freedom of Religion should be prepared to protest the atheists’ group’s right to exist.

So here’s the question: can we get some protest-action going somehow? Can we campaign to get the group undeleted? I don’t know that much about protesting, how would we go about it? I’m not following enough “moderate Christian” blogs, or possibly “emerging church” blogs, to know who to get involved. Maybe, just maybe, Real Live Preacher would be interested in picking this up and writing something beautiful and/or creative and/or just practical about it? I don’t know if he’d want to get involved in Internet politics. Possibly not. Either way, I love his tolerance-promoting post titled A New Abraham and a New Earth. Viva!

Categories: Worldviews
Tags: · · ·

10 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Clare // Feb 1, 2008 at 6:49 pm

    I thought it was pretty shocking too. How intolerant is that?

  • 2 Ben // Feb 1, 2008 at 10:39 pm

    Elsewhere in North America:

    http://friendlyatheist.com/2008/02/01/atheist-campus-group-denied-recognition/
    Can’t have a freethought group at a public university in Ontario. “But due to the need to respect and tolerate the views of others, the Campus Clubs department is unable to approve a club of this nature at this time.” Groups like Campus Crusade For Christ can get approved, though.

  • 3 Ben // Feb 1, 2008 at 10:45 pm

    Wow, MySpace restored the group!

    http://friendlyatheist.com/2008/02/01/myspace-group-restored-kind-of/

  • 4 Bertus! // Feb 2, 2008 at 12:45 pm

    As ek nou jou planne van verlede jaar reg onthou, moes jy nie teen hierdie tyd al by Shofar Shogood aangeluit het nie?

  • 5 Hugo // Feb 2, 2008 at 12:55 pm

    Bertus!, I’m attending what I can. I went to “Foundations 1″ last weekend, “Foundations 2″ is tomorrow. I don’t know if I’ll be able to attend F3/F4/F5… while I still have significant differences of opinion, it might be particularly hard for me to participate.

    Posts under the Shofar category deal with the sermons I’ve attended so far. More is on its way, but you’ll have to be patient. ;-)

  • 6 gerhard // Feb 3, 2008 at 4:04 am

    I still believe moderate Christians in favour of Freedom of Religion should be prepared to protest the atheists’ group’s right to exist.

    does this extend to scientology?
    take a look at this :http://www.tmpnetwork.com/world_news/Scientology_Child_Processing_Documents_leaked
    what do you make of that ? what does this image imply? child molestation? treating children like dogs? i wonder how many of you will actually go and read the manual before deciding what is said. I hope you do because i think your default interpretation will be false.

  • 7 Hugo // Feb 3, 2008 at 7:28 am

    Gerhard, you do realise you are quite off-topic, right? If I didn’t know better, your question in that context might even look like you’re equating “atheism” and “scientology”.

    From elsewhere:

    hugo: well then i will keep bitching.

    Do you mean “bitching” quite literally? It seems you might. I’m not interested in people “bitching”. Whenever you feel like literally “bitching”, please bite your tongue. Thanks.

  • 8 gerhard // Feb 3, 2008 at 2:32 pm

    no just semi off-topic:) i’m actually responding to your calling for moderate christains to fight for freedom of religion :P hence my asking if that extends to scientology? why i ask is because it could appear that one is being quite selective to which ‘teapots’ one will back . all while calling for the right of universal freedom of religion including the right to lack a perticular or all religions?

  • 9 Hugo // Feb 3, 2008 at 2:35 pm

    People are free to practise whatever religion they want. Including scientology. What they do to their children is a more tricky situation, and not currently relevant to the discussion.

  • 10 gerhard // Feb 3, 2008 at 9:58 pm

    why i think it is relevant is because of their trouble with ‘anonymous’ online lately. that link i pasted is an example of their hounding. the quotes are taken out of context of the writen. thats just one of many examples of just pure propaganda spreading via social networks and traditional media. while i haven’t read the ‘complete’ works yet, and am not a scientologist but i intend to read more. the whole quoting bits out of their ‘religious works’ is a useless arguement for a theism like christanity, as one could easily do counter quoting which would probably be worse. I think that is a stance moderate christains should take because of the non literalistic interpertation. don’t judge their work so easily. so come on, help out a brother religion in need.

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