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Austin Cline

Anne Graham Lotz: Anti-Atheist Bigot

By April 23, 2012

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Anne Graham Lotz, daughter of Billy Graham, is a real chip of the old block. Just as her father is bigoted against atheists, she too is an anti-atheist bigot. And remember, this is one of the most prominent families in American Christianity. They arguably represent the best that American Christianity has to offer.

Their ideology is certainly representative enough to keep them popular for many, many decades so they can't be dismissed as a fringe element that too unimportant to be worth addressing.

I would not want-- I would not vote for a man who was atheist because I believe you-- you need to have acknowledgment, a reverence, a fear for almighty God. And I believe that's where wisdom comes from. ...

You know, I think people-- have an intuition that religious faith is connected the moral values that make for just laws. And that if we cut our laws away from their moral moorings-- we're not going to have a society which we would like to think of as a civilization of justice and love.

So there really-- I think that what we want to say is that religion-- is not an irrational force, it's not a divisive force, it-- it-- in all of our diversity our faiths contribute to a moral consensus that underlie-- underlies our laws.

And the more we build that moral consensus about the dignity of human life, solidarity, the common good, the more we're going to be able to find ways of talking across the partisan divide. And so I think that religion has a huge role to play. And we have to watch out getting instrumentalized-- one way or the other.

Source: MSNBC

If I said that I'd refuse to vote for someone simply because they are Jewish, I'd be an Antisemite. If I said I'd refuse to vote for someone simply because they are black, I'd be a racist. The bigotry of Anne Graham Lotz here is no different, it's just directed at a different group -- a group unpopular enough in America that such bigotry is greeted warmly rather than condemned.

A lot of people (Christians, generally) will try to excuse such bigotry by arguing that it's really an expression of ideological preference. Anne Graham Lotz is merely showing a preference for people who share certain beliefs of hers. By that reasoning, though, it wouldn't be bigoted or even problematic to refuse to vote for someone who didn't believe in Jesus -- i.e., someone who wasn't a Christian.

Now, there are certainly plenty of Christians out there who would agree with that and who probably do it themselves. However, I'm not sure that all those who might try to defend Anne Graham Lotz would also try to defend that. Many of those who try to excuse anti-atheist bigotry don't also favor that sort of Christian exclusivism.

That, however, reveals that they are just trying to rationalize their own bigotry. There aren't any arguments that can be used to excuse excluding atheists that couldn't also be used to exclude non-Christians. Bigotry against atheists can't be defended without providing cover for bigotry against non-Christians -- and probably a lot of other groups, too.

Comments
April 23, 2012 at 6:15 pm
(1) mobathome says:

There aren’t any arguments that can be used to excuse excluding atheists that couldn’t also be used to exclude non-Christians.

Then bigoted arguments for excluding all manners of Christians are right behind them, right along with arguments for excluding any theists.

April 25, 2012 at 11:47 am
(2) Ernie says:

Except that no one is arguing to exclude Christians or any theists.

April 26, 2012 at 1:21 pm
(3) Grandpa In The East says:

Actually, it was anti-atheist bigotry that caused me to be active on this Internet website. Though an atheist for about half a century, I have only been anti-theist (mainly anti-Christian) for about a year and a half.
I became so because I finally came to realize that one cannot be a Christian without, at some level, being anti-theist. And on reflection, it has to be that way and always will.

Grandpa

I forgot who is credited with this quote, “Until the majority of us of are free from tyranny over our minds, we are not safe.”

April 28, 2012 at 7:42 pm
(4) Austin Cline says:

one cannot be a [atheist] without, at some level, being anti-theist.

Sure you can – you can be apathetic, and just not care.

It’s also logically possible to be a theist and an anti-theist. You can think a god exists, but also think that it’s harmful to believe in gods because of the consequences of that belief (analogous to being an atheist but also thinking that theism promotes social goods or makes it easier to control the masses, thus being an atheist but pro-theism).

Someone who is a theist and anti-theism might also be a misotheist – someone who hates god(s). Just because you believe in a god doesn’t mean you like that god, so you could hate it for what it does.

April 28, 2012 at 1:54 pm
(5) Grandpa In The East says:

Error in preceding post;

I became so because I finally came to realize that one cannot be a Christian without, at some level, being anti-theist. And on reflection, it has to be that way and always will.

Should have read: I became so because I finally came to realize that one cannot be a Christian without, at some level, being anti-atheist. And on reflection, it has to be that way and always will.

Option for Webmaster; Put an “a” where it belongs in my previous post.
Trash this.

April 28, 2012 at 4:06 pm
(6) dave Y. says:

Hey Grandpa, I thinks you meant to write

“One can not be an ATHEIST without, at some level, being Anti-Theist”

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