As I’m sure many of you are aware, Richard Dawkins was scheduled to give a talk at a Michigan country club, but when the owner realized that Dawkins was an Atheist, he pulled the plug. Since then there has been a lot of debate, but one of the very best articles on this has been written by Sean Faircloth here.
Here is a quick extract to tempt you …
So, yes, being tossed from some obscure country club won’t hurt Richard Dawkins. Richard Dawkins is a man who, through earning his own way as a great scientist, does indeed hold a place of privilege, yet that earned rank of merit is sometimes dismissed — because the timid find his honesty threatening. When the Detroit Free Press reported that Dawkins – an atheist, they blared – had been booted from a Michigan country club, the paper did not mention his many honorary degrees. They did not mention that he earned his way, through scientific reasoning and many eloquent books, into both the Royal Society and the Royal Society for Literature. To the Detroit Free Press apparently, once an atheist, that is all you are. No, they did not list his qualifications, but the qualifications Dawkins has earned, through the power of his mind and effort, do protect him more than others in society as a whole.
And this, in the final analysis, is why we should care that Richard Dawkins was booted from a country club in Michigan. Because if this can happen to Richard Dawkins – if the Detroit Free Press can ignore his vast qualifications and define Dawkins almost exclusively as an atheist – then what can happen to the woman of principle who is the clerk in a store and gets fired because of her honest adherence to her own values? What can happen to the school teacher dismissed from a school because of his honest lack of religious belief?
Do go read it all, Sean truly nails it.
Sean Faircloth, is the Director of Strategy and Policy RDFRS U,S.. He is author of the upcoming book Attack of the Theocrats: How the Religious Right Harms Us All and What We Can Do About It. Advance copies are available in the RDFRS store in the link above. Faircloth served ten years in the Maine legislature. In his final term he was elected Majority Whip by his caucus colleagues. At the Secular Coalition for America Faircloth devised and led the Secular Decade strategic plan. Faircloth speaks widely on separation of church and state, the Constitution, and secular strategy.