Grainne Gillis: Is Masculinity in Crisis?


After reading this article in the HuffPost UK, I really had to make a few comments about general equality.  Society just declaring the matter of equality over with and brushing it aside is not solving it. I am a feminist.  The dictionary type so don’t run away just yet.

I am one of those mums who has to stay home because childcare is just so expensive (it would swallow everything I earned plus a sizable chunk of my husbands wage, and I would have no quality time with my boys).  Yes, it’s better for them but I am champing at the bit for them to be in school so I can do something that doesn’t involve the kids.  Just once. It will not be like this forever (the knowledge of which is probably keeping me sane) but I am likely to have to start from scratch careerwise. This is despite my current experience and the fact that while looking after 3 small children I am working through a degree to make sure I’m at least semi-employable when the time comes.

Don’t get me wrong.  I adore my children.  My middle boy is saying his first words and my youngest is such a happy smiley little monkey I could stare at him for hours. My eldest will be at school full time in september so I will have a whole new lot of firsts to look forward too.  That said, I have no wish to turn into my mother and I am temperamentally unsuited for this to be an indefinite arrangement.  What I do is not easy and mostly thankless.  My dissatisfaction is not helped by the fact my role in the popular press is portrayed as lazy or indolent. Nor is it helped by the fact that a not-insignificant proportion of mothers who work, or women without children, look on me as lazy and a bad example: an affront to feminism. Women in my position really can’t win.  We get slated by all sides (apart from our own). I wonder what would happen if all the unpaid carers and volunteers actually got the social recognition they deserve instead of being sidelined because it’s not paid? (Society would probably die of shock.) 

The point is, it was not just a choice made for the good of the children.  I wish that it could have been so.  We had to come to this decision due to what came down to a financial situation.  We would be no better off financially if I went back to work now, than in my current position.  In the UK, unless you qualify for free childcare, or have family onside to provide it, going back to work after having kids is a luxury few but the rich can afford.  That is not equality. That is privilege. What we can’t contribute in taxes is made up in other ways and it’s about time we weren’t treated like a waste of space unworthy of consideration. 

Shared parenting

My husband took the kids to the park the other day and was asked if he was minding them for the day (when it’s your own, gents, it’s not babysitting: its parenting). He is proud of the fact that he is involved with the kids and he doesn’t consider his chosen part to be over and above what is due from a father. One can’t help but feel that the main barrier to fathers having equal recognition as parents and ‘main caregivers’ is actually other women and their behaviour (refer to yesterday’s Woman’s Hour BBC R4.  Available on BBC iPlayer) or the reception men get while out with their kids. The ‘hands-on’ or even ‘stay at home’ dad should not be a novelty.  It should not even be an issue. It should be down to the couple, and whichever of them (if either) stays at home, they neither deserve to be relegated to the margins nor pity. These are men not shy to be seen taking equal responsibility: the traditionally women’s role.  (Tradition is just another word for habit and not every habit is positive.) These are not men who feel their masculinity threatened by taking up an active role in the care of their nippers and that should be the true test.

Free time for stay at home mums… (shock horror)

One of the comments after the article which prompted this post…

12 hours ago (13:19)

I’m told that women earn 13% less than men.

I’m a shift worker. When I go to the gym in the day it’s full of women. The car par is full of 4x4s. The pool is also full of women, swimming in flotillas, keeping their hair dry, and the ridiculously priced gym restaurant is full of women, lunching. Its like all the men in the world have died! And the ladies all disappear at 2:45 PM. These women don’t strike me as second class citizens. They strike me as the lucky ones.

 

All those women at the gym etc, that this guy is wittering about being ‘lucky’, were probably mothers with children at school and that is the only time they get for themselves.  That is not lucky, that is them taking a well deserved break and no less than they should expect.  Or are we supposed to let ourselves go to seed and spend all the time not looking after children, confined to our homes up to our elbows in dishwater, smelly nappies and his laundry? Some sort of social punishment for not being in paid employment perhaps?

 

Rudeness and ‘Real men’

The writer opened with a story about a man berating a pregnant woman on a bus, about equality, for expecting a priority seat (clearly signed). He claimed that he could have been disabled/elderly/ etc, the point being no doubt, he did  not see why a pregnant woman should expect a seat on a bus.  I will add here to those that really don’t get it, that when you are pregnant, your center of gravity moves forward and your balance is impaired, add to this far looser ligaments, and a sudden stop could cause a fall… I don’t think I need to elaborate further on that point. My point is that he was being disgusting and selfish and attempting to use ‘equality’ as an excuse for being so.  Men (NOT ALL MEN, might I add, just the few who seem to think the rules of courtesy don’t apply and will use any excuse to justify it to themselves), who say ‘well you want equality‘  after being utterly beastly to someone as a means to justify their behaviour, are not ‘real’ men (This is also a gross presumption, as the lady in question might not, and who are they to declare what someone else wants, as if they are unable to work that out for themselves). Real men act with decency, empathy and consideration, regardless who is on the other end, and for it’s own sake.  That is equality

I am pleased to say I know a great many of such people (My husband (goes without saying), long list of other male family members (you don’t want me to elaborate, trust me), Al Stefanelli, Reap Paden, Brian Allen, Seth Andrews, Lee Moore, Justin Vacula, Hemley Gonzalez and many, many others) and I am honoured to call them ‘friend’. Those in a certain ‘movement’ (farce) with the atheist circle, would like nothing more than for the world to think ill of some of them because they have dared to stand up to the hectoring and cognitive-dissonance-riddled ramblings of a handful of people who think they own, lead and speak for atheism.  They don’t, and these good men have more class in their little toes than the whole lot of the aforementioned crowd put together.


Grainne Gillis: Is Masculinity in Crisis?
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US Army discrimination towards Atheists: Story Update


We recently covered a story about the United States Army and how it is concerned with the spiritual well-being of their soldiers, and that if a soldier choose not to believe in the supernatural that the United States Army can consider you unfit to serve?   The issue was brought to my attention by my friend, Sgt. Justin Griffith, Fort Bragg, NC., and concerned a mandatory survey called an SFT, which stands for “Soldier Fitness Tracker”. The purpose of this survey is to measure an individual soldier’s competency in several areas, including Spirituality. Sgt. Griffith is an atheist and a dedicated solider, and according to the interpretation of the survey results, he would be “unfit” to serve because he is a non-believer.

There has been some question as to the whether or not Sgt. Griffith was a real person, or a pseudonym that was created for purposes of anonymity and if this is a real issue or just another instance of a “whiney atheist blowing his horn over nothing”  We can assure you that Sgt. Griffith is a real a soldier in the United States Army, and that he is unashamedly atheist and that this is an issue that is not only real, but is being attended to by some very heavy hitters.

Sgt. Justin Grffith has organized and is the founder of Rock Beyond Belief, which is an ambitious project that will be putting on a free festival consisting of secular speakers and musicians, both big name and small. They have the backing of many major secular and military foundations.  Rock Beyond Belief is in the process of organizing a large-scale event that will be on the main post parade field on Fort Bragg, NC. The goal is the organzie similar events on many other military installations.  The purpose of Sgt. Griffith’s efforts is to shed the negative connotations and debunk the myths associated with being a non-believer.  We sincerely hope that this puts to bed any rumors that Sgt. Griffith is not a real person and urge you to visit the website of Rock Beyond Belief for more information about what they are all about, as well as a first-hand account of the SFT by Sgt. Justin Griffith, himself.  If you are a Freethinker, please support Rock Beyond Belief by visiting their Facebook page and give them a “Like” to show the powers that be at Fort Bragg that there is a need, want and desire for this festival to take place.

With respect to the issue at hand, the “Soldiers Fitness Tracker” and related training, we can assure that this is a real concern and it has come to the attion of, and is being addressed by, some very heavy hitters, including theMilitary Association of Atheists and Freethinkers (MAAF),Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), American Atheists (AA), the Freedom From Religion Foundation(FFRF), the Foundation Beyond Belief, the United Atheist Front (UAF), Americans United for the Separation of Church and State (AU), as well as high profile individuals such as Hement Mehta, Michael Weinstein (MRFF), Annie Laurie Gaylor (FFRF),  David Silverman and Kathleen Johnson (AA), myself on behalf of the UAF, and several others.

There is new and updated information for those of you who are following the progress of this.  Jason Torpy, the President of the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers (MAAF) has also confirmed with Justin that the questions we posted in our last installment about this issue were accurate according to his best recollection. Justin had no way to look them up “word for word”, so when Sgt. Griffith broke the story on the Rock Beyond Belief website, he had to paraphrase the spiritual questions from memory, and they were all spot on, save one.  As a consequence, a minor aspect of this story was transposed due to his paraphrasing.  He listed one question as “I feel connected to a being that is greater than me”, when the actual question is “I believe that in some way my life is closely connected to all humanity and all the world.”

It has been agreed upon by the representatives of theMAAFAAAUMRFFFFRFUAF as well as the other secular organizations that are involved in this issue, that this does not take away from the intention of the survey, the insinuation of the implied, nor the general lack of confidence that it engenders in our non-believing servicemen.  Believing that your life is “connected to all humanity” and all the world holds a decidedly very supernatural connotation that is congruent with religious belief, whether that belief holds that the believer is“connected” through Christ, Muhammad, Akashic Record, Collective Conscious, etc.  The fact that the introductory comments that says specifically that the spirituality questions are not “religious in nature” doesn’t change the fact that anything that connotes a reliance upon a supernatural force requires anyone, especially atheists, to do some mental gymnastics to make those statements fit a natural world view. Stating something is not religious in nature, but then following it up with something that is clearly religious is a blatant conflict of reason and is discriminatory in nature to anyone who holds a natrualistic, secular world view and rejects the supernatural.

The folks over at the Military Association for Atheists and Freethinkers (MAAF) have posted a more comprehensive report on military “spirituality” at their website, and it includes the actual questions that are on the SFT, including “I am a spiritual person”. We urge you to visit the MAAF’s website and view the full, thirteen page text of the Spiritual Remediation Training. It includes a section on“prayer” and a suggestion that “prayer” is for everyone and need not be religious. According to the MAAF, and agreed upon by all associated organizations, the Army is taking too many liberties in redefining a word.  The Army should speficy that prayer is only for religious people and not the same or similar to reflection or meditation.  It is the contention of all parties concerned that the Army should abandon the entire spirituality approach. According to the training, everyone is encouraged to seek help from Chaplains. According to the information contained within the Spiritual Remediation Training there is an assertion that chaplains never proselytize, but while there exists several references to various religions, there is no such section that is inclusive of nontheists, even though official DoD demographics (available from MAAF) show there are more Atheists than Jews in the military.  Clearly, there exists no demographic justification for overlooking the many members of the United States Army that choose not to believe in the existence of a deity.

There remains no room for doubt when one considers the two testimonials listed within the training. The first provides a “church” resolution and the second a “higher power” MAAF President, Jason Torpy, asserts that these two testimonials “provide a religious solution, and that shows bias toward religious spirituality. As with the assessment itself, the terms ‘spirituality’ and ‘human spirit’ are likely not something that can speak to nontheists.  It also indicates a bias to traditional religions”

American Atheists has been a tireless ally on this issue as well, from the beginning. President David Silverman and Vice President / Military Director Kathleen Johnson have been a tremendous support and Kathleen has, on behalf of the American Atheists, sent a letter via Federal Express to the Secretary of the Army alleging the discriminatory nature of the SFT, and has cited AR 600-20 as the reason why its use must be ceased immediately.  American Atheists have assured that this is not the end of their involvment, but further action will have to wait until the holidays are over. They have the story up on their website as well and all of us are circulating this story through every means available. It should be noted that Kathleen Johnson is not just the VP of American Atheists, but also the founder of the MAAF and holds the rank of First Seargent (Retired), Department of the Army Civilian, Fort Hood, TX.

This issue is far from over.  In fact, the fight has just begun and we urge everyone who concerned about the fair treatment of non-believing military personnel and the unfettered right for a soldier in the United States Armed Forces to hold absolutley no belief in anything even remotely supernatural without fear of discrimination or retribution of any kind to follow this story with great interest by visiting and supporting in any way you can the following organizations who are working tirelessly for the equal rights of the men and women who put their lives on the line every day to protect the sanctity of our uniquely secular Constitution, which upholds that there shall be no religious test required to hold any office within the United States Government, and that includes wearing the uniform of any of our Armed Services.

Stay informed by bookmarking the following organizations:

 

 

 

A Turbulent and Scandal-Plagued Life; Christopher Marlowe


Life…

Many biographies of Christopher Marlowe ironically begin with an account of his death.  His final few days were recorded in great detail and it must have seemed a suitable epitaph for a man who led such a turbulent life.  He was suspected of being a government spy and had a reputation of being both an atheist and a homosexual.  There is no evidence of Marlowe’s sexuality but charges and accusations of the sort were not uncommon as a means to discredit an individual.  At that time to be an atheist held the dangerous implication of being an enemy of God (an idea which remains sadly unchanged in some circles).  The governor of Flushing had reported that each of the men – Marlowe and Baines – had “of malice” accused the other of instigating the counterfeiting, and of intending to go over to the Catholic“enemy”; such an action was considered atheistic by the Protestants, who constituted the dominant religious faction in England at that time.

“These and other testimonials need to be discounted for their exaggeration and for their having been produced under legal circumstances we would regard as a witch-hunt” ~ Eric Rasmussen ~ description of Robert Baines’s evidence against Marlowe

Marlowe was born in Canterbury in 1564 and educated at the Corpus Cristi College of Cambridge University.  While at Cambridge he wrote ‘Dido, Queen of Carthage’.  Even though the education he received there would have traditionally prepared him for a career in the clergy, he decided not to join the Ministry.  The university therefore attempted to withhold his degree after a series of unexplained absences and a suspicion that he had converted to Catholicism.  A conversion of this nature was forbidden in 16 CE England.  The Queen’s privy council stepped in on his behalf and overturned their decision stating that Marlowe had been of great service to both Queen and country under the charge of Sir Francis Washingham in the secret service.

Poster for WPA performance of Marlowe's Faustus, New York, circa 1935

Poster for WPA performance of Marlowe's Faustus, New York, circa 1935

 

Marlowe left Cambridge in 1587 and moved to Shoreditch in London.  In 1589 he spent time in Newgate prison for his part in a street fight in which a man was killed.  This is thought to have been the same year in which he wrote Dr Faustus.  In 1592 he found himself in trouble again.  This time in the Netherlands, where he was accused of counterfeiting currency and also of the intent to join the English Catholic exiles.  This accusation was made by his colleague, Richard Baines.

Marlowe was buried in an unmarked grave in the churchyard of St Nicholas, Deptford. The plaque shown here is modern.

Marlowe was buried in an unmarked grave in the churchyard of St Nicholas, Deptford. The plaque shown here is modern.

 

In 1593, Marlowe was again arrested after being accused of heresy again by Baines and again on the grounds that he was suspected of holding views conflicting with that of the established religion.  He escaped on a lighter sentence than normally expected enabling him to write his final to plays, ‘Edward II‘ and ‘Massacre at Paris‘.  In the same year Thomas Kyd was arrested under suspicion of libel against Dutch immigrants living in London.  Kyd was tortured into a confession that some of the ‘heretical’ writings found in his apartments actually belonged to Marlowe.  This was not the first time that Marlowe had been accused of ‘atheism’ and ‘heresy’ so the playwright was ordered to give an account of himself to the Queen’s privy council.  He was released on bail but ordered to report to the council daily.  Ten day’s later, Marlowe was dead.

Another document claimed at around the same time as Baine’s accusation that “one Marlowe is able to show more sound reasons for Atheism than any divine in England is able to give to prove divinity, and that … he hath read the Atheist lecture to Sir Walter Raleigh and others.”

Marlow had spent most of the day of his death (30th May 1593) in a guest-house owned by one Eleanor Bull with three other men.  the first was Ingram Frizer, a shady business man and ‘fixer’.  The second was Frizer’s equally dubious associate, Nicholas Skeres who had know criminal connections and had been involved in governmental intelligence work.  The last man was Robert Poley, an agent in the secret service.  The inquest records describe a dispute over the bill at the guest-house.  The deceased Marlowe was claimed to have been the aggressor in the affair and is said to have taken Frizer’s dagger and stabbed him with it.  Frizer is claimed to have snatched back the knife and stabbed Marlowe through his eye socket.  The coroner’s report also points at Marlowe to have been the aggressor and that Frizer was acting in self-defence.

“These thinges, with many other shall by good & honest witnes be aproved to be his opinions and Comon Speeches, and that this Marlow doth not only hould them himself, but almost into every Company he Cometh he perswades men to Atheism willing them not to be afeard of bugbeares and hobgoblins, and vtterly scorning both god and his ministers as I Richard Baines will Justify & approue both by mine oth and the testimony of many honest men, and almost al men with whome he hath Conversed any time will testify the same, and as I think all men in Cristianity ought to indevor that the mouth of so dangerous a member may be stopped, he saith likewise that he hath quoted a number of Contrarieties oute of the Scripture which he hath giuen to some great men who in Convenient time shalbe named. When these thinges shalbe Called in question the witnes shalbe produced.” ~ The final paragraph of Robert Baines’ accusation against Marlowe.

Shortly before Marlowe’s death, Robert Baines again accused him of heresy in report entitled ‘A Note Containing The Opinion of on Christopher Marly, concerning his damnable Judgement of Religion and scorn of God’s word.‘ This charge was used to reinforce Kyd’s claims against Marlowe: That he had repeatedly expressed ‘monstrous opinions’.  Within four weeks of Marlowe’s death Frizer, the business man of dubious reputation, had received a royal pardon for causing the death of Christopher Marlowe.  In the months and years following his death, the story of his heresy and blasphemy was even further embellished, after all it is easy to libel the dead.  Rumours were spread accusing him of treason, atheism, and homosexuality, and some people speculated that the tavern brawl might have been the work of government agents. Little evidence to support these allegations has come to light, however.  One Thomas Beard (later to become the schoolmaster of regicide Oliver Cromwell) is thought to be one of the most notorious for these acts of attempted character assassination. Beard claimed that Marlowe had blasphemed to his last breath (impossible given the cause of death) and that the manner of his death was a clear sign of ‘God’s judgement’.  Claiming supernatural causes for mundane events is not a new tactic of the followers of religion.

And Works…

Marlow Produced 7 plays, all of which were immensely popular but the three most famous are Tamburlaine, The Jew of Malta, and Dr Faustus (one of the required texts of the Open University course I registered for which starts in February: AA100).  He was the pioneer in the use of non-rhyming blank verse (iambic pentameter) which was later taken up by his contemporaries including William Shakespeare.  It is dangerous to critique or interpret a writer’s work based upon the events of their lives, especially when the accounts of those events come from their rivals, paid informants, torturers or their victims.  Neither is it prudent to dismiss the similarity between the plots of both Tamberlaine and Dr Faustus: men who rose from their origins to celebrity fell foul of their poor choices; that Edward II explores homosexual relationships; or that The Jew of Malta deals with the hypocrisy of Christians.

A foul sheet from Marlowe's writing of The Massacre at Paris (1593). Reproduced from Folger Shakespeare Library Ms.J.b.8

A foul sheet from Marlowe's writing of The Massacre at Paris (1593). Reproduced from Folger Shakespeare Library Ms.J.b.8

 

His reputation is now secure as one of England’s foremost playwrights and the man who established blank verse as the medium of Jacobean drama.  He is also know for his poetry.

 

Sources

The BBC Must Acknowledge Us…


“A man’s ethical behaviour should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death.” – Albert Einstein

Hardeep Singh Kohli

Radio 2’s Hardeep Singh Kohli journeys to three of the most exciting cities in the UK, Cardiff, Leicester and Glasgow. In doing so he tells the story of faith in Britain today.

Share your experience. What does your religious faith mean to you? How has it influenced your life and continues to do so? We’d like to hear how important your faith is to you. Email, including pictures and audio, to: greatbritishfaith@bbc.co.uk

The BBC have done it again.  They have successfully managed to effectively ignore the fact that not everybody in this country has a religious faith.  If it were not bad enough that we are inundated by media reports of damning comments from religious leaders against atheists and secularism and complaints about being marginalised, we are faced with yet another census which asks biased and leading questions, but now a supposedly non-biased and publicly funded (by way of a compulsory license fee) media organisation, is now refraining to acknowledge the humanist, agnostic, and atheistic members of the population AND their contribution to society.

“While atheism is merely the absence of belief, humanism is a positive attitude to the world, centred on human experience, thought, and hopes.”

In their site, atheism is portrayed as being a wholly negative and individualist outlook, citing an example of why people become atheists is that it’s merely a symptom of damaging culture ‘so someone raised in Communist China is likely to have no belief in God because the education system and culture make being an atheist the natural thing to do.‘  It IS a ‘natural thing to do‘.  We are all born atheists with common sense while religious belief is an entirely learned part of any culture.  If anything is arbitrary, it is the imposition of stifling and oppressive ideas on young minds; there is nothing innate about it.  I have already sent my message to the BBC regarding their map:

“You haven’t included Humanism or atheism in your ‘Faith Map’! Please do so! Please stop pretending we are non-existent and not worth listening to. Please stop assuming that because we lack belief in a god, that we lack an interest in the outside world, compassion or morals. Religion does not own morality or decency. It’s time we were acknowledged, rather than dismissed as an eccentric minority.”

The BBC does have an atheism page (even though atheism is NOT a set religion or belief system) hidden deep within their Religion section.   Humanism and secularism do not feature on its list but are instead ‘relegated’ into being merely types of atheism. If they are to include these ism in their religion site then they should have a place on the map.  If they will not be then the BBC should acknowledge that they are NOT religions, and do so publicly, and then move Atheism from out of its Religion pages and into a non-religious one.  The BBC cannot have things both ways.  This is aside from the fact that while many atheists are also both humanists and secularists, so are people of other faiths. More disturbing is that Mormonism and the Jehovah’s Witnesses have been listed even though they strictly count as dangerous cults.  The BBC list of Religions consists of

According to the BBC ‘most’ atheists will concede there are some good things about religion, such as:

  • Religious art and music (Nothing to do with commissioned work then, no?)
  • Religious charities and good works (do NOT and will never atone for or negate more than a millennia of violence, persecution or bloodshed in its name that continues to this day.)
  • Much religious wisdom and scripture (Um, where?)
  • Human fellowship and togetherness (which is exclusive to those of the same faith and beliefs.  Others are to be converted, avoided or (in the case of Islam) eliminated from the earth)

I am not one of them.  I have also found that those who cite these non-arguments more often than not are going out of their way to be nice as they really have not thought about what religious leaders call upon us to believe without question, to ignore the abundant hypocrisy within those positions of self-assumed authority.  It is in the interest of those men who having achieved positions of meaningless command that the rest of us follow their lead without thought or consideration.  Religious freedom luckily does not get privileges over the civil laws which protect us all.  In a culture of political correctness in the name of equality, we have now found ourselves in the unenviable position of being unable to criticise anything, including the intolerance of religious belief, without facing the severe criticism of equal intolerance.  This is not to say that people should be able to say whatever hateful thing is on their mind at the time, but to emphasise the fact that, at least in the case of certain individuals, the idea of political correctness has been used in order to garner an atmosphere in which those of faith may preach almost whatever they please (no matter how oppressive and unpleasant) in the cause of their religion and come up against almost no opposition from the rest of society for fear of being labelled a bigot.

Mean Atheists?

“You know what? God is an imaginary friend. Religion is a virus. Religion is a hoax. Religion doesbrainwash people (even if Brett seems to think that’s a positive thing).

It’s about damn time we get the courage to say so.

And if your feelings get hurt because some atheists are honest about god’s (lack of) existence, that’s just too bad for you.” – Friendly Atheist

Not only is it about time we had the courage to not hide our disbelief and be open about it, but we should be permitted the same platform as those who have a religious belief.  One Mrs Brett, Regina Brett of The Cleveland Plain Dealer is very unhappy with the recent slate of atheists billboards. This is despite millions of religious billboards across the US, claiming an eternity of torture and punishment for the ‘sin’ of not believing in the truth of Christianity. Harmless and inoffensive and legally paid for boards, with non-religious slogans are being vandalised and pulled down due to the complaints of religious adherents.  I say that if they have a problem with the non-religious boards then they must pull down their own and learn to live by their own rules.

Why believe in a God?  Be good for GOODNESS' sake

One of the mean, mocking and offensive adverts for the American Humanist Association. Yes, Mrs Brett thinks they highlight our smug arrogance. I'm detecting a lot of projection here.

“Atheists don’t have to share religious beliefs, but they also don’t have to share ill will, either” Regina Brett

  1. We don’t have RELIGIOUS beliefs TO share.
  2. We have every right to voice our displeasure and reach out to other atheists. (Quit with the divide and rule tactics; it’s getting very boring)

What Mrs Brett, has clearly misunderstood is that real freedom means that sometimes you just have to put up with things that might bruise some overly sensitive feelings.  She has chosen to ignore the fact that freedom of religion was NOT set up so that Christians and other religious groups could run their mouths (and poster campaigns) at other religions and non-religious people without any opposition. THAT is called bullying, people, and I refuse to become a victim.  The posters and billboards are not mean.  They are not mocking.  They are in no way inflammatory.  It’s time Mrs Brett and others like her (the Chrissy Satterfield twit for instance) stopped acting like a bunch of spoiled babies and woke up to the fact that the world does not work for or around Christians and Christianity.    One of the comments on Mrs Brett’s article reflected a startling attitude which is sadly shared and common within the religious community of both the US and the UK;

edwardiii
edwardiii November 21, 2010 at 4:15PM

The problem with any child raised as an atheist is that they believe they are the center of the universe. They have to. The individual as the centre of their own universe is the cornerstone of atheism. What a sad life. What a terrible thing to do to a child.

More projection there, I see.  WE DO NOT have the arrogance to assume a personal relationship with a supreme being which places us in a favoured position over other people and grants us rights over them and their property.  WE DO NOT assume that our world view is the ‘one true‘ anything.  Most of all, WE DO NOT consider those who, don’t share our lifestyles, or disagree with our beliefs in any way inferior to us or deserving of punishment or persecution of any sort.  The same cannot be said for theists because the tenets of their religions demands that they do.  I would say it was far worse to teach a child that they are naturally bad and scare them out of individual thought by telling them that without the belief in their relationship with a magical and invisible being in the sky that they must have complete unquestioning faith in, love unconditionally (but only loves them if they believe) and fear of regardless of the lack of evidence or they will burn in hell forever.  That really is a terrible and despicable thing to do to a child.  Thankfully Mrs Brett did correct him and this is half the battle: Convincing believers that we are not selfish, amoral, megalomaniacs who view ourselves as centres of the universe is not going to be an easy task but it IS possible.

Sources