I’m Sorry You Have to Put Up with Her, Chicago

From the Chicago Tribune:

Rep. Monique Davis (D-Chicago) interrupted atheist activist Rob Sherman during his testimony Wednesday afternoon before the House State Government Administration Committee in Springfield and told him, “What you have to spew and spread is extremely dangerous . . . it’s dangerous for our children to even know that your philosophy exists!

“This is the Land of Lincoln where people believe in God,” Davis said. “Get out of that seat . . . You have no right to be here! We believe in something. You believe in destroying! You believe in destroying what this state was built upon.”

Unlike a lot of attacks on atheists, this one is extremely amusing. At least most anti-atheists take time to construct an irrational argument, it seems like Monique Davis was saying whatever came to mind.

Some questions I had about her statements…

  • Atheists “spew and spread” what, exactly? How is this different from what religious people do? I would proffer that it’s not atheists who “spew and spread,” but religious people who do so. Flip through the Bible some time, and notice all of the scientifically impossible or incorrect statements, and all of the oppression to non-white land-owning males (1 Timothy chapter 2 for instance).
  • How is atheism dangerous? Atheism is simply the lack of belief in a deity. What’s so dangerous about that? Most theism is dangerous. Flip through the Bible again, and notice all of the instruction God gives to kill people (like Isaiah chapter 13). What people like Davis fear is that the newfound popularity of atheism is going to teach kids to think critically and ask questions for once, and once kids start doing that, (we hope) playtime is over for ignorant, intolerant, heavily-corrupt politicians.
  • Did you know that Abraham Lincoln was an atheist? It’s true.
  • Atheists have no right to testify in front of the House State Government Administration Committee? Someone’s going to have to direct me to that rule in the legislature. Or maybe someone will have to point Monique Davis to the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
  • Atheists believe in destroying? Well, what exactly, do atheists believe in destroying? Let me help you out with that answer: nothing. Atheism is simply the lack of belief in a deity. No more, no less. Unlike theism, some of which does order some ancillary tenets to be accepted (like stoning disobedient teenagers, as is ordered in the Bible), atheism does not require any such tenets. In fact, you don’t even have to join a group to be an atheist! I know — that’s weird, isn’t it?
  • It seems like Davis thinks that belief in any deity is better than belief in no deities. Why? What difference does it make if I believe in Allah or if I am an atheist? Either way, I don’t believe in the “right” God, and according to Christianity, I’m going to hell for that.
  • What was Chicago built upon? Didn’t Al Capone do business in Chicago? How about Mayor Richard M. Daley?

Intolerant politicians like Davis should not be allowed to keep her seat. If you replace “atheists” in her statements with any other group — let’s say Asians — she’d be forced to make a public apology and resign from her position.

Her page on the Illinois General Assembly website lists the following contact information:

Springfield Office:
241-E Stratton Office Building
Springfield, IL   62706
(217) 782-0010
(217) 782-1795 FAX
 
District Office:
1234 West 95th Street
Chicago, IL  60643
(773) 445-9700
(773) 445-5755 FAX
Cook County

Even if you don’t live in Illinois (I don’t, obviously), call her office or write her a letter. This kind of ignorance is unacceptable from someone in a position of power in the government of a city.

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1 comment

  1. DHSmd

    April 07, 2008 11:23 PM

    I don’t think she is afraid of children thinking critically. I don’t think she is capable of enough critical thinking herself to even consider that. If she did, I don’t think she would oppose it.

    What I believe Rep. Davis fears is herself. Her “faith” has been her crutch to avoid having to cope with certain aspects of life that are beyond her own control. Yet, she is probably smart enough to understand how thin the basis of that faith is. That intelligence leaves her faith rather fragile. If an atheist were to convince her of his view, she fears the sense of helplessness and isolation that would result from the sudden disappearance of her personified “higher power.”

    What she fails to understand is the potential and potential of a formless higher power that can offer a soundly rational basis for spirituality and strength, absent the requirement that she “not think about it” when faced with the absurdities inherent in the personified “God”.

    No one can make her realize this, or even make her want to. I empathize with her fear, and sympathize with her discomfort.

    But her intolerance, and apparent lack of understanding of the Constitution, specifically the First Amendment is intolerable and unforgivable.

    She should be firmly directed to read, understand, and agree to abide it fully, or if her religious views will not allow it, resign from her post.

    Those are the only choices that preserve her integrity and that of her office.

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