In Reaction to the Passing of Proposition 8:
A Conversation of Privilege around Religion and Faith
Zack Ford – November 8, 2008
Preface: Roots of ZFB
Part 1 – Introduction: Reflections on Prop 8
Part 2 – What is Privilege?
Part 3 – Christian Privilege
Part 4 – Religious Privilege
Part 5 – Atheism and Privilege of Beliefs
Part 6 – Critical Thinking and Indoctrination
Part 7 – Undeserved Respect
Part 8 – Concluding Reflections
I have reached the end of my rationale and shall now offer my reaction. The words I chose earlier in this week perhaps did not accurately represent the point I was trying to make. I had said, “I fear people of faith.” This is not untrue, but could be perceived as me challenging individuals as opposed to the system. Those who I have quoted above all responded in a personal way, and I will own that my words did not communicate the message I intended. My fear is specifically of faith/theistic belief itself because of how it is privileged in our society. This is why I specified the importance of separating individuals from the system. Not all individuals who represent the privileged group are responsible for propagating it, but if they wish to be allies to the oppressed, they must be able to recognize their own privilege and consider ways they can resist the system.
This past Tuesday, many ugly decisions were made—decisions I hope our society looks back upon shamefully in the history books. The voters who supported these ballots were motivated by fear and ignorance, all of which were enshrined in the ideological privilege of theistic faith. I know there are many people who have a rational understanding for same-sex sexual orientations that does not conflict with their faith; however, it is the privileging of faith that maintains the way our society tolerates intolerance that cannot otherwise be justified.
I say to you, if you are unwilling or unable to challenge, question, debate, or see past the beliefs with which you have been raised, how can you begin to engage in critical thinking about large and complex issues with which they might intersect? My conclusion at this time is that you cannot. I stand by my decision to push forward with these challenges and these questions, because I feel it is vital not only to our learning and growth but also as citizens of humanity on a greater scale. Note that it is not my expectation that people forsake their beliefs. My goal is to deconstruct the privilege around those beliefs so individuals’ beliefs no longer have power to control society.
Consider the scope of history. Almost every great war or conflict (if not all) have been motivated by conflicts between theistic beliefs. Faith can be used to justify anything, because of its privileged freedom from rationalization, and it has repeatedly been used in just this way. This week, it was used as a weapon against me and two of the communities to which I belong, resulting in pain and despair I did not know I could experience. I cower pondering what it could be used for next. We can stand against the irrational discrimination that has plagued our society throughout history or continue to enable it. Those are our only two choices. Won’t you join with me to make the world a better place for all of us?
The End! Or rather, the beginning of what would become ZackFord Blogs!
Here, again, is the complete document: