Thomas Jefferson and his idealism be damned. What internet pastor Mike Stahl wants is an “atheist registry” to keep track of these dangerous elements in our society, like people who don’t believe in god, or any gods. This is a story right out of Nazi Germany. What’s next? Will we have our children “outing” us as atheists and pagans and heretics, and turning us over to the fundamentalist morality police to be conveniently culled from the herd?
Now as a disclaimer, I’m no atheist myself. I’m a polytheist. I should make that plain at the outset. But I don’t lose any sleep over people believing or not believing in my gods. I take Thomas Jefferson’s attitude toward the whole belief thing: “it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.” Live and let live. I really don’t care what other people believe unless they try to force their belief or non-belief on me. Then we have a problem.
Here’s Stahl’s logic, which we have thanks to Ed Brayton at Dispatches from the Culture War because the cowardly Stahl is in hiding: he opens his blog to invitees only:
Brothers and Sisters , I have been seriously considering forming a ( Christian ) grassroots type of organization to be named “The Christian National Registry of Atheists” or something similar . I mean , think about it . There are already National Registrys for convicted sex offenders , ex-convicts , terrorist cells , hate groups like the KKK , skinheads , radical Islamists , etc..
This type of “National Registry” would merely be for information purposes . To inform the public of KNOWN ( i.e., self-admitted) atheists . For example , let’s say you live in Colorado Springs , Colorado , you could simply scroll down ( from the I-Net site /Blog ) I would have , to the State of Colorado , and then when you see “Colorado Springs” , you will see the names of all the self-admitted atheist(s) who live there ( e.g., if an atheist’s name happened to be “Phil Small” ) . The individual’s physical address , and other known personal information would NOT be disclosed ( though , perhaps a photo could be ).
If this all seems completely incomprehensible and pointless to you, Pastor Stahl has his reasons:
Now , many (especially the atheists ) , may ask “Why do this , what’s the purpose ?” Duhhh , Mr. Atheist , for the same purpose many States put the names and photos of convicted sex offenders and other ex-felons on the I-Net – to INFORM the public ! I mean , in the City of Miramar , Florida , where I live , the population is approx. 109,000 . My family and I would sure like to know how many of those 109,000 are ADMITTED atheists ! Perhaps we may actually know some . In which case we could begin to witness to them and warn them of the dangers of atheism . Or perhaps they are radical atheists , whose hearts are as hard as Pharaoh’s , in that case , if they are business owners , we would encourage all our Christian friends , as well as the various churches and their congregations NOT to patronize them as we would only be “feeding” Satan.
Frankly , I don’t see why anyone would oppose this idea – including the atheists themselves ( unless of course , they’re actually ashamed of their atheist religion , and would prefer to stay in the ‘closet.’ ).
The dangers of atheism? Seriously? Shouldn’t we be more worried about the dangers of theocracy, the threat posed to the U.S. Constitution and First Amendment and the possibility of morality police invading our homes?
So why is it anyway that fundamentalists get so riled up if we don’t all believe in their god and their god alone? Well, they seem to think that their god is going to punish everyone, including (especially) them if we don’t all obey the rules – that Old Testament collective guilt thing with America as the next Sodom and Gomorrah.
Personally, I think a better solution is jettisoning any god who is going to punish us for any reason whatsoever. I wouldn’t waste spit on such a deity. That was one of the reasons I left Christianity behind in the first place. And seeing obscene ideas like this just makes that decision seem ever better in hindsight.
Maybe we should have a list of fundamentalist Christians. Why would any fundamentalist Christian oppose this idea? I mean, why would they unless they’re ashamed of their religion and want to stay in the closet (to use Stahl’s own words)? I mean, don’t we all have the right to know if our neighbor is a right wing lunatic who might open fire one day because he thinks his god told him to? I don’t know about you folks, but I’ve yet to hear of an atheist (or a polytheist for that matter) opening fire on folks because a god told him to.
I’ve known atheists and I’ve known Satanists and they were all much more reasonable and well-adjusted folks than Pastor Rick.
What’s amusing about Stahl’s attitude is he talks about being fearless and above board unless you have something to hide. Then when it all explodes in his face and people get angry with him for being a bigot, he makes his blog private and deletes his Facebook link. Even the cache is gone. I guess only atheists are supposed to have the courage of their convictions, eh, Pastor Mike? Some witness for your god you are! Seems like a lot of cowardice going around lately, what with Bryan Fischer, as I reported here this morning, refusing to stand up for his beliefs in open debate with the public he wants to force to go along with him.