‘Militant secularist’ has become the ‘neo-con’ of the 2010s: a know-nothing label that signifies extremism, without explaining where the extremism lies.
Nick Cohen has written an excellent article in The Spectator that tackles this nom-du-jour seemingly applied to anyone who wants facts and equality over superstition and tradition. The truest examples of homophobia, misogyny, and anti-science behaviour, even in the 21st Century, comes from the religious crowd, yet those opposing it are the problem? Here is what he had to say,
At the weekend, I was honoured to award the Secularist of the Year prize to Peter Tatchell on behalf of the National Secular Society. From the stage, I looked across the restaurant where the celebratory lunch was held and saw only intelligent, polite people (if by that stage of the proceedings, intelligent, polite and slightly tipsy people). I had to break the news to them that according to respectable society they were fanatics; the moral equivalents of religious bigots.
On the one hand, conventional commentators held, there were Islamist militants who slaughtered without compunction, Jewish Orthodox militants who persecuted freethinking women, Hindu nationalist militants who drove artists out of India, African Christians who murdered homosexuals, Protestant militants who attacked Catholic homes in Belfast, and Catholic militants who responded in kind.
On the other hand, there were ‘militant secularists’, who… well, what? No one can say.
What exactly is so militant about wanting facts, and only facts, taught in science classrooms? Why is it so “offensive” to criticise the veiling of children and indoctrination of those who cannot yet decide for themselves? What, exactly, is so “illiberal” about wanting people held to account for acting on their beliefs?
We secularists are not asking for a ban on religion or freedom of thought. Far from it. What we want is for people to be able to think what they want, but be free FROM religion and the actions of those holding particular beliefs. Surely this is the fairest way to treat everyone? Equality of thought, conscience, and human rights. Not giving special privileges to those who have been brought up to believe certain, unproven, fantasies?
For the full article, read here, and please share your militancy with the world.