Thursday, February 7, 2008

Murdoch's MySpace censors athiests

I usually don't like to make a big deal about stuff like this, but this is absolute crap. (Thanks to Peter Watts for the alert.) What is worse, perhaps, is that it has generated barely a blip in the general news coverage. One can only imagine the outrage if the site had shut down these guys, or these or these or even the self-proclaimed "Mormon Mafia," which appears to be a genuine LDS meeting place.

And what did this group do to be shut down? They merely existed, and talked about the fact that they don't believe in an omnipotent intelligence running the universe. As with these guys at Wilifred Laurier University, all it took was for a group of Christians to get together and complain that the mere existence of an atheist group offended them so much that it could not be permitted. A couple thousand years ago (and a few places in the world even today), Christians were genuinely prosecuted, being thrown to the lions for so much as proclaiming their belief. In America, however, there is this ridiculous persecution complex in which certain Christians wail oppression at the mere fact that you refuse to believe what they want you to. Yeah, I'm sure that's exactly what Tom Jefferson had in mind.

Let me re-iterate that unlike the new "militant atheist" movement (Dawkins, Hitchens, etc.), I don't have much of a problem with Christianity, though I'm not a Christian myself. Jen is, and I have learned a lot from her. In fact, I am down with about ninety percent of the moral precepts of most of the major religions out there. The stuff I don't like in various religions (the gay-hating, the burkas, crusades & suicide bombers, etc.) tends to be cultural stuff tacked on and given a scriptural justification. I usually say I'm an agnostic, but the whole atheist/agnostic divide means a lot more to believers than it does to non-believers. In my case the word usually means "I don't believe in your God but it's cool if you do and I don't want to argue about it."

But this kind of closed-minded censorship really brings out my inner Dawkins. Not that this is about me personally. I'm a white middle-class American heterosexual male - almost certainly the least-oppressed demographic on the planet Earth. And I have never seen a reason for a MySpace page, since I'm happily married and not in a band. But it frightens me to think that a large power base in our country feels that it shouldn't even be okay for people like me to talk about our beliefs, or lack of them.

I really wouldn't mind if someone told me I had misinterpreted this whole thing and there was some perfectly legitimate reason the group was shut down. Then I'll put a mea culpa in the update and a strikethrough through this whole post. But if not, how can this be okay?

1 comment:

Penelope said...

OHMIGOD (or lack thereof, depending on your point of view), this is horrible.

The irony is rich, isn't it? I'm looking right now for another side to this story. I'm guessing there isn't one in which case I'm spreading the word first thing tomorrow.

-- P