I go through a little process when I write blog posts. Usually, I start by finding some ridiculous bullshit that someone’s spouting, then I decide whether or not it’s even worth my time. If it is, then I have to find a way to 1) make fun of the idiot without sounding unprofessional, 2) denounce the idiot so as to stand up for the individuals the idiot’s trying to hurt, and 3) make it clear that the idiot is for real and our society has a long way to go.
Are you ready? Here are just the first two sentences of Mike Adams’ piece, “An Immodest Proposal” over at conservative site, Townhall:
I can’t stand atheists. And I plan to do something about them.
Let’s take this construction and see how it might be applied to other nouns. If you can’t stand mosquitos, maybe you’ll light some citronella candles. If you can’t stand cigarettes, maybe you’ll work to pass legislation to keep them out of public venues. If you can’t stand Jews, maybe you’ll embark upon some historic genocide. The threatening potential here is of concern, and as absurd as the rest of Adams’ piece is, this is the lens we have to keep in mind.
Now, surely you remember that Supreme Court decision last week, Christian Legal Society v. Martinez? It came up enough here on the blog. A Christian student group was paranoid that it would be infiltrated by gays and was insistent that it be allowed to discriminate so that no one could come in and try to change their hateful condemnations of groups of people. There was no precedent for this fear (there never is), but that didn’t stop them from raising a ruckus.
Well, Mike Adams wants to use the freedom of this decision to attack atheist student groups and create that very precedent of student group takeover. Like a good American, when Adams gets the slightest bit concerned that he can’t defend himself to his own absurd liking, he attacks with a preemptive strike:
So, when I get back to the secular university in August, I plan to round up the students I know who are most hostile to atheism. Then I’m going to get them to help me find atheist-haters willing to join atheist student groups across the South. I plan to use my young fundamentalist Christian warriors to undermine the mission of every group that disagrees with me on the existence of God.
Let’s be very clear, here: Mike Adams is encouraging hostility and hate against atheists.
Now, you might say, “But Zack, he’s clearly trying to channel Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal! This is just satire!”
Except, there was not already a context for rich people eating babies. (There is a context of atheists eating babies, which is a neat little literary overlap, I suppose.) But there is definitely a context of hostility towards atheists, so there is no element of absurdity. Perhaps Mike Adams just sucks at satire, which is possible, but I think it’s very hard to read this piece as satire at all. I’m sure there are many who haven’t, especially on a site like Townhall. The comments confirm this.
Even if Mike Adams is trying (and failing) to be satirical, his language is reckless:
If I see any words like “atheist,” agnostic”, or even “free-thinker” I will know they are a group of godless heathens. Then we’ll move in for the kill.
The kill, eh?
In his dissent, Justice Samuel Alito observed that the Martinez majority has provided public universities with “a handy weapon for suppressing the speech of unpopular groups.” Alito is right as usual. After we get rid of the heathens we’ll turn our weapon on the gays, the blacks, and the feminists. We might even go after the Italians, too.
Bring it on.
As James points out, atheist groups would love to have Christians at their meetings!
But here’s the truth: crybaby Mike Adams won’t dare do this. You see, I happen to know Hemant Mehta over at The Friendly Atheist, and Hemant is reasonable, conciliatory, smart, and he happens to be the Chair of the Board of the Secular Student Alliance. I’d be willing to bet that if Mike Adam’s Christian students start attending the Secular Student Alliance meetings, Hemant and friends would welcome the opportunity to talk to them. In fact, I’ll bet they’d organize a national campaign to welcome these Christians into their group!
James’ entire response is brilliant, and I agree this plan would totally backfire for Mike Adams, but I wonder if it hasn’t already.
Adams, apparently an ex-atheist, proudly describes himself as “vocal critic of the diversity movement in academia.” If you look through his columns, you’ll see an incredible list of petty taunts and attacks at all kinds of diversity outreach, including cultural centers, student groups, and any administrator or professor who stands up for diversity. His racism, sexism, and heterosexism are never sugar-coated. This man strives to maintain privilege and loves it.
I’m glad I’m smarter than this man. I’m glad that I support open inclusion and accessibility for education. I’m glad that I respect even the people whose ideas I have no respect for at all. I’m glad that I understand identity development and the incredible value of creating inclusive campus environments.
Mike Adams is a hate-monger. Unabashedly. Nothing strengthens the atheist message better than having unChristian vitriol like this to quote (hence this very post). If he didn’t have archives full of similarly hateful shit, I’d wonder if this is a Poe. But it’s not a Poe, it’s just dumb.
Good luck, Mike. We’ll see what kind of “warriors” your young Christians are when they actually get to listen to the ideas folks like you work so hard to shelter them from.