To hate a religion according to Andrew Brown is to hate religious believers. To the point you want to make them victims. My hatred of religion for endorsing slavery makes me apparently hate modern religious believers, which is equivalent to racism.
It is a trope among people who loathe and fear Islam that their fear and loathing has nothing in common with racism because Islam is not a race, the implication being that hating Muslims is rational and wise whereas hating black people is deeply irrational and stupid.
Racial and religious hatreds have one thing in common: they are not inspired by the race or religion of the hater, but by the religion or race of the victim. This is clearest in the case of antisemitism, which can appear as either a racial or a religious hatred, or indeed both. What's constant is that it involves hating Jewish people, whatever the reasons given. Similarly, if you hate black people, you hate them on racist grounds whatever the colour of your own skin, and if you hate Muslims, Catholics, Quakers or Mormons, you hate them for their religion - whatever your own beliefs. So it is perfectly possible for religious hatred to be motivated by atheism and it may be quite common in the modern world. [Guardian Comment Is Free: Why I Don't Believe People Who Say They Loathe Islam But Not Muslims
The article ends with Stalin and Mao being motivated in their religious hate by atheism. That these mass murderers would endorse Sam Harris, whose photo appears at the top of the article. That communism as an ideology promoted the hatred and brutal destruction of religion in society is not mentioned, just atheism.
The distinction between religion and its practitioners is an important one. Ideas do not have the rights, privileges and civility that people are entitled to enjoy. For me it is important to draw a distinction between Islamism and Islam, in that the former calls for society to be transformed along fundamentalist lines. Muslims that disagree and cross those lines are the first victims of such fundamentalists.
The body count is far higher for muslims killed by fundamentalists than it is for non muslims, when we look at the modern day blood bath playing out. The fundamentalist view that people are inseparable from their religion is one Brown is endorising.
Far right extremists need challenging because they promote discrimination (from immigration controls to no mosques being built) on back of religious critique debate. Secularism matters because it treats people regardless of their beliefs as equal citizens before the law and with the same universal human rights.
There is too much anti-muslim hate out there, when it is the fundamentalists and extremists which deserve our rancour. The oppressed by Theocratic States need solidarity, and to hell with people who suggest humanism is just a cover here to hate religion.
People matter not Gods. That is why I will continue to dislike religion, but stand up for people whether they have faith or not.
Andrew Brown offers no way to unite the religious and non religious to tackle extremism. Rather, he promotes that atheists are quite prepared to become mass murderers on the basis of other's religious beliefs (just like plagiarist CJ does). Without specifying the context of what Sam Harris was saying about actions caused by beliefs that threaten humanity.
Feeding the paranoia of religious extremists, and deliberately misrepresenting how atheists feel about religious people is counter productive.
Those that discriminate against religious people need to be challenged. When it comes to religious freedom, atheists will be there supporting it. For it also means freedom from religion too.
Article orginally written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus' WeblogSuggest a correction