I was watching Jon Stewart’s Daily Show and this caught my attention: http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/tue-october-25-2011/indecision-2012—the-great-right-hope—the-180-club
As we all know, nothing makes an atheist like actually reading holy books. But what about 2nd place? How many atheists are atheists because of encounters with crazy religious people on the bus or on street corners, or by seeing or hearing one of the omnipresent megachurch pastors on Sundays?
How many of us started thinking about religion as something that deserves scrutiny because of a racist comment related to the “mark of Cain” or Noah’s offspring?
How many of us were given pause after someone said that God’s plan is for women to be subordinate to men?
Or when someone objected to someone else’s sex life because we were made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve?
And how much better off are we without god-belief? We should be thanking those nutty evangelistic crackpots! They are performing a public service, even if it isn’t the one they believe they are.
So this is what I propose:
November 14th should be “Thank an Extremist Day”
If you were startled out of complacency because of something stupid or infuriating that a religious celebrity said, send them a letter, an email, a tweet or comment on their blog thanking them for getting your feet off the road to religion and starting you running the other way.
If you were considering Scientology before Tom Cruise lost it on Oprah, thank Tom Cruise for being Tom Cruise crazy.
If you were a Catholic before Bill Donahue convinced you otherwise with pettiness and homophobia, thank him for making you not want to be associated with Catholicism and through it, him.
And there is no downside: either they will continue as they would have anyway and continue increasing atheist numbers or maybe- just maybe- they will tone it down, be less involved in politics and stop doing so much harm to women and minorities.