Atheists are holding their annual convention in Memphis, over Easter weekend next year, and that simple fact has people on the religious right up in arms. The group American Atheists runs the convention, which will enter its 41st year in 2015. That makes it nothing new. However, according to a story on WMC Action News 5, Memphis’ local NBC affiliate, some people are upset about it anyway, treating it like it’s a slap in the face to their beliefs.
WMC reporter Sasha Jones talked to Dax Poparwski, who said, “I don’t think it’s right.”
Another person said, “It’s kind of disrespectful to people who do believe.”
Really? Why is that? Christian prayers at town hall meetings and at public schools aren’t disrespectful, but an atheist gathering is? Churches absolutely everywhere who don’t pay taxes, but do get involved in politics, aren’t disrespectful, but atheists choosing to gather on a convenient travel weekend is? Come on.
But wait! There’s more. One of their speakers is Lucien Greaves, the spokesperson for the Satanic Temple! The horror! The absolute horror! Run for your lives, the country’s about to end! Never mind the fact that the Satanic Temple doesn’t preach evil and hatred. Read their basic tenets here.
American Atheists says that they choose Easter weekend every year because it’s a good time for people to travel. They also said that atheists don’t generally have a lot to do over Easter weekend, making it an even better time for a convention, according to WMC.
It’s true that they could pick any old weekend, but, like most groups looking to host conventions, they search for the times that would work for the most people who would want to attend. Of course, there will always be those who think American Atheists chose Easter deliberately to slap Christians down. There’s not a lot we can do about that, and there’s not a lot they can do about it.
Unfortunately for right-wing Christians, there isn’t a monopoly on allowable activities for the days on which their holidays fall. But what about other religions? The religious right would probably be thrilled if American Atheists decided to hold their conventions during Ramadan, considering that’s a Muslim holiday. They might even throw ticker tape parades for that.
They would probably just stay silent if American Atheists held their convention during Hanukkah, or on Rosh Hashanah or another Jewish holiday. The problem with the “poor, persecuted Christian” mindset is that they don’t even realize the privilege they have here, that no other religion has. What they see as persecution is merely bringing their privileged status down to that of every other religion in the U.S. Or raising the privileged status of every other religion up to their level. Either way, it’s an intolerable situation for them.
And if this were a convention for Christians of any denomination at all? It might be worth a very short mention on the last page of the daily paper, if it even got that. Click the link below for the video: