I get all obsessed with the Big Game and sometimes don't pay attention to stuff like Senate races, unless they happen to be going on in my state. But hearing about this Elizabeth Dole ad got my attention:
(Did the candidate even pause to consider how much free advertising atheist blogs might give her by running her spot? Hmmpf. She better get some gratitude going for us godless people. Not that we're saying great things about her, but still--free ad space!)
I think that was the part that actually made me giggle a little, in, as you can imagine, a godless way. Because then I was thinking, well, maybe the money was just "non-denomenational" and that struck me as a silly play on words, so I present it to you here.
What did not make me laugh was that the idea of being an atheist, or "godless", is a slur. The ad is called "Promise". They implication is, "What exactly did she promise those godless people?" Because you know us agitating atheists, wanting to not be discriminated against and thinking we have a valid worldview; we might have asked for anything. Like, science taught in science classes, and not religion being taught in science classes. Or, um, maintaining separation of church and state. Or, I dunno. Not being discriminated against? But godless atheists could have been really leaning on her to take words off the currency! And who knows how long the republic would survive that. Seriously. Changing the words on currency in the middle of an economic crisis. We're nervy, us godless folks.
Now, I'd like to leave aside Kay Hagan's response, which includes a cease & desist letter, especially since I just linked to the ad. And let me point out, she most emphatically is not an atheist, being very active in her church as Think Progress points out. I just want to concentrate on why "godless" is being used as a slur, and why the word gets the traction it does, and to point out that Dole is a loser for using it.
Atheists--well, we aren't always a popular folk. Here's the Gallup info on us; it isn't great. We don't inspire angry villagers chasing us with pitchforks as much, but the "angry villager" demographic is definitely not feeling us. Part of the reason is because mentally, when people of a certain age play "fill-in the blank", after "godless ______", they often will think "Commie." Sinister, radical views are suspected. Moral relativity is assumed. But many atheists are just law-abiding capitalists. We've got more than a few libertarians. We throw out some of the more arbitrary-seeming moral views that are religion-based, but I would say we muddle through by trying not to do wrong as much as anyone else does.
"Atheist", or the more fearsome-sounding, "godless", shouldn't really be a smear. And there really shouldn't be a "religious litmus test" for office-holding.
Dare I say, the intimation of there being one is a little--"un-American"?