Atheists, non-believers and freethinkers are pissed off across the globe like never before. Just this past week I discovered new freethought websites in Greece, Cyprus, Uganda and Italy.* I’m now keeping a list, so if you know of any I don’t please send info.
I am pissed off this week because Italy’s Foreign Minister Franco Frattini wrote an article which he published in the Osservatore Romano, a Vatican newspaper, attacking atheists as “perverse” and a “threat to society.” I’ve translated the money quote into English so non-Italian readers can see what theocratic bigots are running the roost here:
“Christians also must be able to forge an agreement with Muslims on how to fight those aspects which, like all extremisms, threaten society. I refer to atheism, materialism and relativism. Christians, Muslims and Jews can work together to reach this common objective. I believe it’s time for a new humanism in order to struggle against these perverse phenomena, because only the centrality of the human being is an antidote to fanaticism and intolerance.”
So it’s war he wants, and he’s rallying his homophobic, misogynistic friends at the Vatican against his fellow citizens in a holy alliance which is supposed to include their worst historical enemies, Jews and Muslims. I’m beginning to think we’ve entered a new phase of religious warfare on Earth: it’s no longer going to be Muslims vs. Christians or skirmishes over minor doctrinal differences, but the faithful against the secular. The only thing they can agree on is that non-believers are the enemy (at least they can finally agree on something) of their unfounded truths.
I should point out Frattini’s howler in his call for a new humanism. Is he really unaware of the fact that almost all atheists are humanists? And that faith in the supernatural is by definition not humanism, because it relies on a power outside humanity to solve humanity’s problems? That’s why we call ourselves humanists.
I wrote a short note to President Giorgio Napolitano over at the Quirinale in my best polite Italian, explaining my personal indignation. The UAAR has called for Frattini’s resignation, stating that his ideas are “clearly incompatible with the [Italian] constitution and detrimental to Italy’s international standing” as a “founding member of the European Union.”
But what pisses me off even more are my fellow atheists and secularists – Italian and American – who chide my microscopic efforts. “Why bother? This country is rotten to the core. It won’t change because you wrote an email or posted something angry on your blog.” What should I do, accept that Italy is a Vatican proxy and that I live in a Catholic theocracy? Are these the same people who want me to “accept” that the Tea Partiers mean business and will be ruling the United States in an Evangelical coalition, imposing their God on the rest of us while we kvetch that “it’s pointless to speak out”? The whole point of Gnu Atheism – if you haven’t been listening - is that those days are a distant memory. Non-believers have begun to speak up in unprecedented numbers the world over and they are not going to shut up any time soon.
Go ahead and declare war on us. We’ll continue to send indignant emails, and start blogs and websites dedicated to combating your superstition, ignorance and contempt for reason. And, in the fullness of time (we can cite the Bible, too, guys) we will win this battle. One blog at a time.
* The hat tip goes to PZ Myers, who is tracking the global spread of freethought websites daily at Pharyngula.