This week, the evolutionary scientist Richard Dawkins tweeted this to nearly one million followers: "Date rape is bad. Stranger rape at knifepoint is worse. If you think that's an endorsement of date rape, go away and learn how to think." Before that, he had tweeted: "X is bad. Y is worse. If you think that's an endorsement of X, go away and don't come back until you've learned how to think logically."Interesting for me, because - there's no subtle way to say this - I know exactly what it's like to be raped with knives involved.
Nothing should be off limits to discussion. No, let me amend that. If you think some things should be off limits, let's sit down together and discuss that proposition itself. Let's not just insult each other and cut off all discussion because we rationalists have somehow wandered into a land where emotion is king.
It is this debate that secularists, both religious and otherwise, are fighting for. The movement doesn't aim to destroy or dismantle religion, but to create a society where no one group is granted special privilege or power. A society which ensures that all beliefs are protected and welcomed equally. But this debate can only be had once you stop using "secularism" as a slur.
On Sunday, Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair wrote an opinion piece for British newspaper The Observer. In it, he asserts that the wars of the 21st century are "less likely to be the product of extreme political ideology - like those of the 20th century - but they could easily be fought around the questions of cultural or religious difference".