The Freedom From Religion Foundation has worked tirelessly to expose the evils of religion, but not everyone is getting the message. The New York Times published an op-ed by Nicholas Kristof, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and regular contributor. In a new piece for The Friendly Atheist, FFRF Director of Strategic Response Andrew L. Seidel explains, and then eviscerates, the assumption underlying Kristof’s article. Seidel begins:
In the New York Times op-ed pages, Nicholas Kristof argued that Jesus Christ’s “brand” had been tarnished by bigots and opportunist politicians who employ it for immoral ends. It’s this perversion of Christianity, Kristoff asserted, that’s driving young people away from the church.
I agree that “bigotry, sexism, homophobia and xenophobia” are driving enlightened people away from Christianity. But Kristof assumes that those odious characteristics are not tied up in Christianity. Like many Christians, Kristof believes his religion to be one of love. But history shows something very different.
When it comes to progress, religion doesn’t lead, it follows. Historically, secular movements and ideals drag religion is dragged into modernity. Religion later claims credit for the progress it has opposed. Prof. Mark Smith, who wrote the book on this, likens it to “the tail wagging the dog.”
The stronger religious, theological, and biblical arguments are on the wrong side of history for all of our important debates: women’s and LGBTQ rights, abolition, desegregation, and civil rights.
The Friendly Atheist is edited by Hemant Mehta, who was a co-winner of FFRF’s Nothing Fails Like Prayer Award this year. His acceptance speech at FFRF’s recent convention was a hopeful talk about how the stigma attached to atheists running for office is finally evaporating.