Monday, January 23, 2012

Intimidation, or: Why We're Going To Win

I'm not quite sure how to begin this story, so I'm just going to warn you about the link I'm going to post: it's definitely graphic.

Today, the Democratic campaign manager for an Arkansas congressional candidate came home to find his family pet dead on the porch with the word "liberal" written on it (NSFL picture in the link). I really don't have words. Well, I do have words, but I'm not allowed to say them on here. 

Really, whoever did this is the scum of humanity. I don't know what would possess a person to murder an innocent animal of someone they disagreed with. I can't stand Rick Santorum but I would never, ever do anything to his pet or innocent family members. What kind of hideous, disgusting person would do such a thing? Honestly...why would you do such a thing? I mean, I know their idea: intimidation. But it's not going to work.

Jessica Ahlquist has been intimidated since she first brought up the unconstitutional prayer banner. From people posting her home address on a news article about her, sending her harassing messages online, and booing her and anyone who agrees with her at city meetings. But guess what, everyone? She still won the lawsuit

At my college, when I started an SSA, people tried to intimidate me as well. People posted nasty things about me on Facebook, the student senate tried to stonewall funds, and they vandalized my stuff. But the group is still going strong. In fact, Dan Barker of the Freedom From Religion Foundation is going to give his "Losing Faith in Faith" presentation at my college in early February (if you happen to be in rural Iowa, this is not something you should miss!). Of course, all the posters have been torn down at least 5 times (I am not exaggerating, my old advisor messaged me on Facebook to tell me that). But guess what? No matter how many times you tear down the posters, he's still going to show up. And it isn't going to make his presentation any worse or less true. 

You cannot silence us.

It reminds me of that Gandhi quote: "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win."

Of course, in Jessica's case, I think some people are coming around. Several clergy members will be holding a press conference to "condemn the treatment and inappropriate language and words used to describe Ahlquist." Good on them. The responsibility isn't on atheists to condemn the the bad behavior of Christians following the lawsuit, it's on Christians. If you want to actually be compassionate people, stop using terrible excuses like "Well they aren't real Christians," and start saying, "Wow, that is completely unacceptable behavior, and no one deserves to be treated like that." (You can also report them to the police.)

Remember to take good news from this. Jessica still won the lawsuit, and the prayer has been ruled unconstitutional (by a Catholic judge appointed by Reagan, no less). Remember to keep fighting for what is right. There are victories to be had. Washington state is set to legalize same sex marriage very soon. Jessica's scholarship fund has over $20,000 in it.

There are good things happening. Just remember that people have to fight to make them happen. Another Gandhi quote to finish up the night: "Be the change you wish to see in the world."

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