I just watched CBS Sunday Morning's 10-minute segment on the "Growing Atheist Movement," or something like that. It was fine. They spent a long time with Julia Sweeney, whom I love. They also dragged out some nobody theologian who pulled Stalin out of his ass, of course.
I was imagining what I would say, if they had talked to me, when I heard the phrase "un-American," by Ellen Johnson. "People believe atheists are un-American," she said, implying that they are not. Then it was uttered by the theologian, then, by the interviewer.
Of all the discussion of what an atheist is, and what the evidence for God means, nobody bothered to challenge that phrase. I would have tried. Of course, they would have cut it. That's not the discussion.
Like hell it's not. Why did they leave in the Stalin reference, if it isn't?
Well, I AM un-American. The problem with this cultural war isn't who believes in God, and who doesn't, it's the belief, by both sides, in this concept of "un-American." The belief in "American." The lack of investigation, the lack of the demand for evidence for this extraordinary claim, with so many extraordinary implications.
"Un-American" is thrown out as a weapon against the Other by conservatives and liberals, by Christians and Jews alike. My challenge is to define that word and its corollary, to shine the light of reason on it, and expose it for what it is. Violence. A war-cry.
And so is its corollary.