A Twitter user today accused Atheist Ireland of being neoconservative, which is entertaining because we have also been criticised for being reliably leftist. Actually, our policies are based on respecting and promoting human rights, then building an ethical secular society on that foundation.
Here are the two Twitter conversations.
The ‘reliably leftist’ argument was made last year by David Quinn of the conservative Christian Iona Institute, which portrays itself as a quasi-academic and objective think-tank, but which in reality exists solely to advance and promote the Christian religion, and its social and moral values.
The ‘neocon’ argument was made today by Stephen Bendelow, a PZ Myers supporter who has also accused Richard Dawkins of appropriating African culture and stealing the identity of African people, for wearing a tee-shirt about our shared evolutionary ancestry with the slogan ‘We are all Africans.’
In the Red Corner – David Quinn
Michael Nugent – You say Iona decides which Christian values to promote or not based on what makes most sense. What criteria do you use?
David Quinn – How do you choose from among the many positions atheists can choose?
Michael Nugent – In Atheist Ireland, we try to choose what’s most consistent with AI’s aims of promoting atheism, reason and ethical secularism.
David Quinn – And yet you always come up with a leftist type conclusion unlike lots of other atheists.
Michael Nugent – If you mean Atheist Ireland, we promote human rights for individuals, not groups or religions. Do you consider that leftist?
David Quinn – Gee, I’m for individual rights as well. I must be an atheist so.
Michael Nugent – Not if you believe in God. But, by your assessment of Atheist Ireland’s policies, you are leftist. Do you think you are leftist?
David Quinn – Atheist Ireland has reliably leftist positions on abortion, gay marriage, religious freedom and denominational schools. None of these stances is justified by atheism per se.
In the Other Red Corner – Stephen Bendelow
Stephen Bendelow – When neocon organisations like @atheistie lie and distort to smear their enemies we must disassociate from THEM.
John Hamill – Please justify why @atheistie is a “neocon organisation” rather than the usual “reliably leftist”. https://twitter.com/davquinn/status/466614858062913536 …
Peter Ferguson – Guaranteed there will not be an answer to this as it is a ludicrous statement.
Derek Walsh – Good luck. This is someone who accused an African-born man of appropriating African culture.
Stephen Bendelow – Their actions speak for themselves. Smearing and harassing leftist leaders like PZ is typical neocon behaviour.
Atheist Ireland – Is criticising “leftist leaders” the defining criterion for being “neocon” or is there more?
Stephen Bendelow – Your tone and attitude screams neocon. It’s an Alex Jones level of rabid lunacy and obsession.
Atheist Ireland – Could you give a specific example and how it relates to the American political movement you mention?
Stephen Bendelow – No. I’m not your servant. Use Google and find out for yourself like I had to.
Atheist Ireland – Well, thanks for your feedback anyway.
Stephen Bendelow – Any time.
Stephen Bendelow – Leave me alone anyway or I’ll block and report you.
Atheist Ireland – You initiated the conversation.
Stephen Bendelow – And you continued it when I asked you to stop. That’s harassment.
Atheist Ireland – That’s an unusual definition of harassment. But if you don’t mention us again, we won’t mention you either.
Stephen Bendelow – No. I don’t accept those terms. I should be free to mention a large powerful org. without fear of being bullied.
Atheist Ireland – You’re not being bullied. But if you don’t wish to converse with us, you’re free to stop.
Stephen Bendelow – Classic neocon bullying tactic. Demand I stop shining a light on your behaviour or you’ll follow me around.
Atheist Ireland – Nobody’s following you or demanding you stop anything. Please feel free to continue shining your light.
Stephen Bendelow – You keep replying to me when I asked you to stop. That is harassment. You can’t make the same argument of me.
Atheist Ireland – You’re free to ignore us and ask that we do the same. But you continue to engage us in conversation.
Stephen Bendelow – You don’t get it do you? I asked you to leave me alone you never asked me to leave YOU alone. Neocon tactics.
Atheist Ireland – At any point, you’re free to walk away from this conversation and we will not engage you further.
John Hamill – One of you is bullying me by tagging me in this discussion. When I find out who, I’m going to call you names.
In Reality – Atheist Ireland
We promote atheism, reason and ethical secularism. Our policies are based on a foundation of human rights law, including freedom of conscience, religion and belief; of expression; from discrimination; equality before the law; rights of the child; family and private life; positive state obligations; and an effective remedy.
Building on the foundation of human rights being vindicated equally for all, we promote a society based on natural ethical values such as empathy, compassion, cooperation, reciprocity, fairness, justice, reason and evidence-based decisions.
We promote integrity in public life, and an end to the nod-and-wink approach to Irish politics, where we are expected to ignore discrimination by pretending it doesn’t exist, and where the law can be ignored or fudged to mean whatever people want it to mean.
You can find out more on our websites:
Atheist Ireland – http://atheist.ie
Teach Don’t Preach – http://teachdontpreach.ie
Blasphemy Law Campaign – http://blasphemy.ie
Our Lending Team on Kiva – http://www.kiva.org/team/atheistireland