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Supporting Civil Rights for Atheists and the Separation of Church and State
American Atheists take the Lead in the Fight to Protect Women
David Silverman, president of American Atheists, in a recent interview with Amy Davis Roth of the popular blog, SkepChick, related the American Atheists position regarding sexism, threats of violence against women, and misogyny in the secular movement. Silverman’s statement presents, once again, American Atheists commitment to protecting men and women against unwanted advances, crude comments and innuendos, and other forms of sexual harassment.
American Atheists continue to set the example for secular groups; with their recent implementation of a comprehensive harassment policy for all sponsored and hosted regional conferences and the annual American Atheists’ National Convention.
David Silverman, president of American Atheists, stated, “As a Humanist, I see these threats as base and detestable. They have no redeeming value and will raise no awareness, solve no problems, and hurt those who should be friends. As a long-term activist, I see hatred and threats of violence directed at our sisters-in-arms to be reprehensible, serving no purpose other than to hurt and intimidate valuable allies. As a white man, I know that so much of this hate comes from people who look like me — but they’re nothing like me where it counts. As the leader of a national atheist organization, I have implemented harassment policies to minimize such irrational, hateful, and counterproductive behavior wherever my authority allows. We have a war to win, and we won’t win until we can look forward, without watching our own backs. American Atheists stands by all its members, supporters, and allies, and we will not tolerate hate directed at any of us. Period.”
Other groups are now stepping forward with policy regarding harassment and/or sexism at their conferences. The blogosphere is filled with articles creating a dialogue about this important topic. Ophelia Benson wrote in her blog, Butterflies and Wheels, “The minute I read Amy’s (SkepChick) suggestion that it would help a lot if leaders of the movement spoke out against the threats and hate-mongering against women – the minute I read it, I say, I thought of Dave Silverman. Mr. Atheist Pants is Mr. Visible. It would be great if Dave stepped up, I thought. But that’s all I did. I’m passive that way. But Amy did ask, and Dave did step up.”
It is refreshing to see so many leaders in the secular movement speaking out against hate directed at women.