Occasionally the Florida Times-Union prints a syndicated feature in which two columnists, Shaunti Feldhahn and Diane Glass, defend opposing stances toward a particular issue posed as a question. A couple of weeks ago, the pair addressed the issue of whether symbols of specific religions should be displayed on public property. Today we find a letter to the editor in response to Feldhahn's arguments. This letter by George Starkes was published today under the heading, “Christians: Hypocrites are everywhere.”
This is in regard to the column titled "Why is it all right to insult Christians?" by Shaunti Feldhahn.I don't really have much to say regarding this letter. The original piece by Feldhahn focused almost entirely on removing a cross from a private university before mentioning the Mount Soledad cross, which is on public land, almost as an afterthought. There's no real substance to discuss. This letter to the editor is somewhat rambling, doesn't address Feldhahn's points, and paints with too broad of a brush in parts for me to give my support. I do wholeheartedly agree with the author, however, that we freethinkers must stand up for our rights and make ourselves visible as a group to demand fair and equal treatment in society and in the law.
The blatant hypocrisy of individuals like Feldhahn never ceases to amaze me. They are so quick to denigrate anyone who dares to criticize the Christian belief system, but they remain totally silent when members of their faith insult, attack and vilify those of other non-Christian beliefs.
Just as African-Americans, women, gays and other groups discovered long ago, people have to defend their rights. Most powerful religionists will not merrily grant rights to historically oppressed religious minorities or secular freethinkers. Moreover, no one can win his rights by hiding and trembling in the closet. Human beings can only make progress through courageous agitation.
Hardly a day or night goes by that I don't hear a right-wing radio talk-show host referring to atheists and minority religionists as scum, fools, vermin and many other derogatory terms. Yet, not one Christian has ever called in to tell the host to knock off the bashing, insults and their overt bigotry toward people of other beliefs.
When secular symbols and even minority religious symbols are placed in the public square, the extremist right-wing Christian fundamentalists are quick to remove them, protest them, or harass and threaten those who represent other non-Christian beliefs. It is the typical double standard over and over.
Those of us who are freethinkers are proud of our rational beliefs. We are fed up with the perpetual insults we endure on a regular basis. There should be no shame in embracing and celebrating reason, critical inquiry, philosophical naturalism and the scientific methods of investigation.
As for me, I don't need to be "born again," since I got it right the first time. I suggest that Feldhahn and her cohorts learn to practice what they preach.
UPDATE: A reader has corrected my knowledge by informing me that the university in question, The College of William & Mary, is in fact a public institution. This makes the permanent removal of the cross from the chapel a governmental issue.