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11 September, 2012

Social Justice

I really wish I could give my thumbs up to the Atheism Plussers out there, I really do. I grew up learning about different cultures, the mistakes our country has made by oppressing minorities and women, caring about people, other creatures and the environment. I've soaked up all the knowledge I could about the activists who paved the way for me. Some of my favorites include Ida B. Wells, Jane Addams, and of course, Marin Luther King Jr.

My family are Democrats from at least the Great Depression. My Great-Grandma, who passed away in February at ninety-six, told me she'd never thought she'd see the day a black person would be in the White House after all the horrible racism she'd seen in her lifetime. I was taught early on to empathize and to care, that no matter how bad I may have it, there's always someone who has it worse who I could help. 

I've rallied, I've canvassed and tabled for campaigns, I've donated time and money to different causes. I've argued and debated, I've even learned when silence is the best response. Social justice is a big deal to me. I wish I could point to a Atheism Plus and say, "Hey, now that's something I can join!" But I can't. 

Atheism Plus isn't just a club within the atheism movement with a focus on social justice. The founders of A+ are well known for witch hunts, public shaming of people who simply disagree with them, and for being very dogmatic in their approach to solving said social justice issues. They've stated they want to start an entirely new movement that bars people who don't adopt their stances from speaking or being leaders in the movement. I can't get behind dogmatism. It's why I left religion.

There's the other problem of my atheism itself not contributing to my views on social justice. I had them long before I was an atheist. The atheism movement itself is a social justice cause as atheists are the most mistrusted group in the US. 

So, for social justice and charity, I'll just have to go to the groups I've already been supporting whose goals are in line with my own (that I had long before I was an atheist). Kiva, American Red Cross, American Diabetes Association, American Cancer Society, California Young Democrats, and many others. If these causes are something my readers are interested in, I'll be glad to cheer them on, but if their movement for social justice is the atheism movement, I see no reason to exclude them for not taking on the laundry list from Atheism Plus. And if there are atheists who want to join Atheism Plus to do some charity work, they can go right ahead, but the moment they come spouting off about how some atheists don't belong in our movement because they aren't doing enough or they're not taking the same position on social issues, those Atheists Plus aren't doing anything for me or their causes.

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