Roughly one month ago, I published my first newsletter as the new editor in chief for Atheist Republic, in which I spoke about the need for our collective awareness and response to the rising threat of fascism. Now, a mere week into the new presidential administration of Donald Trump, that prescient warning has been thoroughly validated – fascism has arrived in earnest in the United States. To those in our membership who would critique our move in a more consciously "political" direction as an organization, we would remind you that we do not require any member to hold or defend a particular political ideology or identity; rather, we seek to explicitly promote a set of universal ethical principles that are inextricably linked to the atheist cause, regardless of whether those principles are, or are not also reflected in a political party, ideology, or movement at any given time. Among these principles are freedom of and from religion, freedom of speech, freedom of thought, freedom of information (especially the recognition of fact as fact, and "alt-facts" as fabrication), freedom of movement and assembly, and the preservation of science against politicization. In their first week in power, the current fascist regime now controlling the federal government in the United States has attempted to infringe upon all of these basic human rights, in an effort to establish and maintain a tyranny of the minority in oppression of the majority. Blanket censorship has been imposed on all government agencies, the news media and press have been written off as evil and malicious barred from observing and reporting on the inner workings of government, science has been defunded and quite literally erased from the national agenda, and prejudicial targeting of entire social/cultural/religious groups have been carried out via executive order. There is no moment more crucial in the history of modern atheism than that which we now face. That is, the question as to whether we stand with the diverse group of people on the right side of history, who are fighting the growing momentum of fascism in the U.S. and abroad; or, through intention or ambivalence, we allow the continued encroachment of fascism's medieval worldview into our modern civilization.
For those not already aware, atheists must acknowledge that we have, however unwittingly, played a role in allowing the ideology of fascism to infiltrate our own community, and that for this reason the global resistance to fascism has cast its eyes upon us. Headlines from social media and online news outlets read "New Atheists are white supremacists with a liberal pseudo-intellectual polish," or "How fascist secularists (Harris, Maher, Dawkins, and Rubin) led us to Trump and the #MuslimBan," and "The Alt-Right Liberal Atheist Cabal (#ARLAC) promotes white supremacy under the pretext of preserving (white) secularist values." Sincere introspection is needed within the atheist community, so that we might confront the prejudice, flawed logic, and dogmatism found in the ideology of those who have presented themselves to the public as representatives of our community. We cannot simply overlook the fact that these individuals, primarily wealthy white men, are misrepresenting atheists on the global stage, while simultaneously undermining the defining characteristics of atheism, especially where regards the recognition of statistical, historical, and scientific facts. Though perhaps still an inconvenient truth at this moment, the reality is that radical Islam poses no greater threat than radical Christianity, and to remain silent as 1.5 billion people around the world are demonized and cast out would be a monumental failure to uphold the ethical principles that define atheism. We are not on some new frontier, or approaching unknown horizons when it comes to fascism; history has already taught us what follows if we do not oppose authoritarianism in its earliest stages. We have seen first-hand that what begins with the targeting of one group of 'others' quickly spreads to all who question skeptically, dissent radically, or resist the imposed homogenization of thought, word, and action - and atheists have historically been a favorite target of fascists. Our very existence is anathema to everything authoritarianism holds dear, and our survival as a community demands an organized and persistent opposition to this, as well as a positivistic advancement of our ethical principles within the social construct. History is calling, a new era dawns – Atheist Republic shall not stand idly by.
We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.
The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference.
There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.