Dear Representative Davis:
First, I want to congratulate you for that back-handed apology to Rob Sherman – the one where you linked Sherman’s atheism with a school shooting. You got Mr. Sherman to say “Thank you,” and “I forgive you,” and to announce this on his web site, while the rest of the atheist community wonders where those finger marks on their cheek came from. That was a political masterpiece. I wonder, did you think of that yourself, or did some PR firm recommend it to you?
What’s particularly impressive about it is that the bulk of the country doesn’t even know you apologized. MSNBC, like all news organizations, condemned you in ways that were transmitted all over the web, but the apology was scarcely mentioned and certainly not repeated outside of the group you most needed to silence.
To the rest of the world, you stood up to the atheists, you insisted that they had no right to even be represented in Congress, you called their beliefs ‘dangerous’ saying that children should not even know that their philosophy exists. And then . . . silence.
I have no doubt that your actions will serve as a valuable lesson to the rest of the country – that they can stand up to atheists, put them in their place, and nothing will come of it.
By now, their initial blog postings would have scrolled off of their front pages and into the archives. Their attention will move on to some other issue, and you will still be here.
We have often said that our rights are in poor hands if trust them to atheists. This, certainly, is proof. Atheists will not even defend their own rights – so we certainly cannot trust them to defend the rights of others. And, of course, nobody else will stand up for the atheists. Why? It’s like a soldier bravely defending an able-bodied adult who, nonetheless, lies cowering and sniveling in the corner. Why do for atheists what atheists are not willing to do for themselves?
They say that they do not believe in a God. Yet, they certainly act as if they are waiting for some kind of divine being to descend from heaven and smite their enemies. As atheists, you would expect them to think and act as if they believe that nothing gets done on this planet except through their hard efforts. You would think that they would shun the idea of doing nothing and waiting for things to happen for them. Yet, they do nothing, and wait for some mysterious actor to act on their behalf.
These people pride themselves on their rationality, and yet they write letters to you, Ms. Davis – a person who has already said that you consider theirs a ‘philosophy of destruction’ and something that children should not even know about. What type of person do they think you are that a letter from a person who only believes in destroying might persuade you to do what they want?
In fact, what are these letters but proof of their determination to destroy everything good in the state? Certainly, your representation – and in particular your willingness to stand up for God against the heathens and infidels – is one of the good things in this state. Of course they would want to destroy it. Of course they would want to see you resign.
I hope that writing these letters made them feel better, because that’s all the good they are ever going to get out of them.
As far as I am concerned, the best thing to come from this – the best thing to come from their pathetic and ineffective response to your outburst – is that this might help other legislators across the state and across the country find the nerve to put atheists in their place like you did. We know that there are a lot of them out there. Now, thanks to you, they know that standing up to atheists comes with no adverse political consequences.
Like I already said, the rest of the country knows that you stood up to Sherman. They know what you said, and, as far as they know that was the end of it. Except, you have become the darling of people who have wanted to tell atheists off for decades now. You are now their hero. One nice thing about heroes is that they breed more people like them.
That is one reason why you must stay in office, Ms. Davis. That is one reason why you must weather this storm. You must do so to give strength and to give voice to legislators across this country when it comes to standing up to those atheists. With your leadership, with your example, others will begin to realize that they, too, can take the position that you have taken with regard to these atheists, and that no harm will come of it. Indeed, their positions will become more secure – because the atheists will do nothing, and the theocrats will rally to your cause, and the atheists by their unwillingness to act will make sure that the theocrats will win.
And they will win, Ms. Davis.
We live in a country where a sitting President of the United States twice said that no atheist is qualified to be a judge. He said that “we need common-sense judges who realize that our rights come from God, and that is the type of judge I intend to appoint.” He said it once during a Presidential debate. What is that if not a statement that no atheist is qualified to be a judge? What is this if not a statement by the President of the United States to any atheist who comes in to be interviewed for a post as a Federal judge to, “Get out of that chair! You have no right to be here!”?
Bush not only survived making such statements. Nobody challenged him. Nobody said a word against him. Clearly, that sent a message across the political community that denying atheists any role at all in government is politically viable. We can see how Bush’s ability to explicitly deny atheists a role in government without any political consequences has affected even the Democratic candidates in this election.
I enjoy the way that atheists moan and cry about how if you had said the same thing about some other minority – if you had told some Jewish witness that this was a Christian nation, that theirs was a philosophy of destruction, and that it was dangerous for children to even know that Jews exist – that you would be out of a job.
Of course you would be out of a job. This is because every civil rights organization across the country would be making telephone calls and sending representatives out here demanding to see the governor and the House and Senate leadership, and the Democratic Party leadership, and every news reporter in the country demanding your head on a platter. They would have no choice but to deliver it.
Then there is the trick of turning public attention against the atheists by taking a quote from Sherman out of context to make it look as if he is the bigot. Thanks to that brilliant move, the atheists are now on the defensive. On the context of talking about Martin Luther King, Sherman used the word 'Negroes', and suddenly he is the bigot - irrespective of the fact that King used the word 'Negroes' 15 times in the 'I Have a Dream' speech alone.
Since people have such a deep-seated hostility towards atheists, they are naturally going to accept our interpretation of Sherman's words. They are not going to give it a favorable interpretation or see our actions as manipulative, because they want to see the atheists as the bad guys and us as the good guys. We must never forget that we have this advantage over them, or lose any opportunity to use the negative perception of atheists to our advantage.
You would think that these self-professed masters of reasoning who call themselves atheists would figure out that there is a direct relationship between a government’s tendency to stomp on a group of citizens and their tendency to let it happen. They’ll blame some non-descript ‘other’ for the way they are treated but take no responsibility for the contribution they make to this situation.
The Jews, for example, would know full well that a similar string of statements made against them are not a Jewish issue. This is not just a matter of Jews defending themselves from people who claim that “children ought not to even know that Jews exist.” They would make sure that the world knew that a threat against the Jews is a threat against any minority that might find itself the object of political hostility. They would have every organization that sees reason to fear a government that gets away with saying – “you have no right to be here” contacting representatives and friends of representatives demanding your resignation. And the noise will not end until they got it.
These things do not happen to other minorities because those minorities defend themselves, while atheists run and hide. The atheists might as well simply tattoo a sign on their bare back that says, “Kick me (again).”
Those atheists, if they really were as rational as they claim to be, would not be sending you emails or calling your office. They would be sending letters or calling the offices of American Atheists, Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, The Secular Coalition, and they would be asking, “What are you going to do about this?” And if the answer is “Nothing”, they would shout – literally SHOUT - “Well you had better fracking get a plan and get it quick or my membership will go to the one who does! What the frack is wrong with you people!”
Those atheists, if they were rational, would be convening meetings within their own states asking, “What can we do to keep anything like that from happening here?” They would be organizing a campaign to talk to their own legislators and saying, “See what happened in Illinois? I demand (and ‘demand’ is the right word) a statement from you condemning her words and saying that if any colleague of yours in this state were to do the same thing you would demand their resignation.”
If they were rational, they would be contacting their county Democratic and Republican party headquarters and saying, “I demand a resolution from you stating that you recognize that the statement that ‘atheists are responsible for all of the school shootings’ to be morally equivalent to ‘Jews are responsible for all of the wars’ – an expression of blanket hate-mongering bigotry that has no legitimate place in this state.” And then when that party refuses, make sure that the public knows the bigotry that the party represents. They would make sure to inoculate their own state from the effects of your success here.
If they were rational, they would not be blind to the fact that a leading Democratic Presidential candidate is an Illinois legislator, and they would not shy from any opportunity to embarrass him until he disowns you and your remarks as he was forced to disown the remarks of his own preacher.
However, as I have already said, the scientific method itself confirms the fact that it is foolish to expect atheists to defend anybody’s rights to equal respect in the eyes of their own government, even their own. This is not an insult, this is just an empirical fact.
Mark my words, Ms. Davis. Nothing is going to happen to you. I’m going to check back here next Monday, and I bet the whole issue will have been forgotten, your position in this legislature will actually be stronger (because of the support of those who want to stick it to the atheists the way you did), and you will be an important role model for politicians across the whole country during this election.
Mark my words, Ms. Davis. Nothing will come of this.
It never does.