Do atheists shove their views down the throats of others? According to Mitch Abloms, we do. (See If God Made The Sky, Can Atheists Fly It?) In 26 states the American Atheists group bought advertising banners that were flown behind airplanes saying either “God-LESS America — Atheists.org” or “Atheism is Patriotic – Atheists.org”. Mitch Abloms says that by advertising their views atheist groups are shoving their views down the throats of people who see these advertisements.
Blair Scott, the communications director of American Atheists has said that the advertisements are a way of saying that America is for everybody. Mr. Abloms agrees with this, but he goes on to say that by advertising the fact will “rankle people.” I have no doubt that this is the case. Whenever people are exposed to ideas which are against their own philosophical views there is going to be dissension. Dissension is not a reason to not express an opinion.
Just as religious people are allowed to advertise their views, so should we atheists. It’s called free speech and that’s one of the cornerstones of this country. Atheists do not want to squelch the speech of others that don’t agree with us. I, for one, welcome their dissenting thoughts. It’s important to see dissenting ideas in order to broaden our horizons and promote critical thinking.
So, Mr. Abloms, how are we atheists supposed to let people know about the various organizations that represent our view of the world? Are we supposed to be in underground groups who furtively pass around pamphlets to those who we think won’t be offended? This is not the way to get noticed. It’s more the way one acts in an oppressive society and I, for one, refuse to be oppressed and we atheists want to get noticed.