George W. Bush's
Off-The-Cuff Bigotry
Laura Jones

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From: "Positive Atheism Magazine" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: "Laura Jones"
Subject: Re: wicca
Date: Friday, March 23, 2001 9:35 PM

Only very recently have we started to take some flack from a few self-proclaimed Wiccans. For the most part, though (and for several reasons), the atheists we seek as a target audience tend to see Wiccans as very close allies in our mutual struggle to maintain the Religious Liberty promised to us by our Constitution. Like the struggles of the homosexual communities, the struggles of the Wiccan communities closely parallel our own, and any victory for one is often a victory for the other.

Wicca, being a naturalistic religion as well as a form of polytheism, tends not to foster in its adherents the malignant intolerance that we witness in many adherents of monotheism -- which, by its nature, tends to promote exclusivism and the intolerance that goes with it. I tried to make this point in our "What is Theism?" article, which is sorely in need of revision.

Our viewpoint is that the question of whether or not gods or goddesses exist is one of the stupidest issues over which to get into a fight. We prefer to set that discussion aside and join hands with anyone who is engaged in the struggle to make this a better world for all of us. There are much weightier questions to be sorted out than whether or not deities exist.

Because Wicca is not simply tolerant of other views but is essentially accepting of the notion that each person's path is her own, Wiccans become that much easier for us to get along with -- not only as neighbors but also as collaborators in seeing what we can do to make this a better world for all.

We, as atheists, stand almost unanimously for absolute Religious Liberty and tend, for the most part, to advocate absolute government neutrality in religious affairs -- hands off, if you will -- as the most effective means to accomplish this goal. At Positive Atheism, we go further in that we stump for the dignity of all theists by trying to accept that theists have, or think they have, valid reasons for believing the way they do.

The news of Madalyn Murray O'Hair's death has sparked a renewed discussion of her life -- what she actually stood for and, most importantly, how that compares with how she was seen by the public. Essentially, O'Hair was one who struggled tirelessly against a ruthless opposition, accomplishing a few tiny gains for widely and unjustly despised people group. But her reputation was (rightly) seen as caustic, vengeful, and vindictive. Since she and a few others were the prominent spokespersons for atheism during the post-McCarthy Cold War era, her style was really the only model we had to go on. And I think her reputation -- both within and without atheistic circles -- was much fiercer than the reality. Nowadays, there are a few atheists left who will denounce any and all forms of religious belief and practice, but for the most part those atheists are (fortunately) scampering back under the baseboards from whence they came.

We will be updating our "What is Theism?" section, and if you would like to help us put the Wicca part together, we would be much obliged.

Cliff Walker
"Positive Atheism" Magazine
Five years of service to
     people with no reason to believe

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