Rainbow flag

Rainbow flag. Photo courtesy user “Pauly” via Flickr Creative Commons.

This week, the rights of women and LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer) people have been a big topic of discussion in the atheist blogosphere—with some asking whether or not homophobic or sexist atheists actually exist.

The conversation began when Dave Silverman, president of American Atheists, gave an interview while attending the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) and claimed that there is “a secular argument against abortion.” A number of atheist bloggers responded to this statement, arguing that Silverman was pandering to abortion opponents in an attempt to make inroads among conservatives.

Silverman continued the discussion on Twitter, stating that while he does not oppose reproductive freedom, some atheists do. But he also claimed that he’s never met an anti-LGBTQ atheist and that the arguments against LGBTQ rights are “100% religious.”

Silverman is correct that there are atheists who oppose a woman’s right to choose, but his position that homophobia does not exist among atheists is wrong. (Update: Some commenters have suggested that he wasn’t arguing that, but Silverman has confirmed that he was in fact claiming that there aren’t anti-LGBTQ atheists.)

Pew data suggests that around 20 percent of self-identified atheists and agnostics don’t support same-sex marriage. That number is less than among other groups, but it certainly isn’t zero. (Also, I’ve previously addressed the mistaken claim that the roots of homophobia are “100% religious.”)

And then there’s this astonishingly hateful letter from Madalyn Murray O’Hair, the founder of Silverman’s organization, which calls the male recipient a “c-ck-sucker” who “like[s] men and boys” and encourages the subject to “form your own group of c-ck-sucking Atheist Marxists.”

I don’t know if O’Hair opposed LGBTQ rights, but I do know that wielding crude accusations of homosexuality in an attempt to insult clearly constitutes a form of homophobia.

Discussions around sexism among atheists have been gaining momentum for years, but it’s clear that sexism is still a problem in certain segments of movement atheism. I’ve seen manifestations of it, and I am far from alone. And regarding anti-LGBTQ attitudes: I’ve heard from atheists who say that I’m too “effeminate,” that my being gay makes atheists seem “like freaks,” or that my “obvious homosexuality” makes me an ineffectual voice for atheists.

Of course, not all atheists are homophobic or sexist. Neither are all theists. But every community struggles with homophobia, racism, transphobia, misogyny, and other dehumanizing attitudes—and atheists are no exception.

The bottom line is this: Atheism is not an inoculation against prejudice. Being an atheist does not prevent you from being influenced by the homophobia and misogyny that permeate our culture. It may seem like an obvious point but it’s important to remember, lest we operate under the false idea that atheists are somehow immune.

Whether you are an atheist or a theist, we must all recognize that these attitudes exist and do what we can to address them—wherever they appear.

91 Comments

  1. I think the big difference is you don’t see atheists trying to make socially acceptable excuses for their various prejudices. No blaming scripture for a position or arguments that it is a rational position.

    Being an atheist doesn’t inoculate one from prejudice but it certainly takes out a lot of the pretense of it.

    • I’m surprised no one has already mentioned this, but it’s been my experience that atheists with oppressive and prejudiced beliefs often use “evolutionary psychology” to rationalize them post hoc.

      Frankly, when folks decide to “debate” my humanity and dignity, I don’t especially care whether they’re appealing to a deity or science/nature/our evolutionary ancestors to do it.

      • Haha, I was going to reply EvPsych myself… Would also add to your comment that many atheists cite Sommers opinion on feminist issues like the pay gap as being somehow valid. When her, and other “equity feminists”, talk about women’s “choices” in career apparently magically removing the pay gap for example. Totally oblivious to the lie that these are choices. If they were then they think women’s brains are fundamentally different to men in a way not seen in any scientific research on gender differences. They are all tiny and barely a predictor of gender at all. Getting into why career choices typically “chosen” by women are lower paid is further into a reality they cannot see.

        Not to mention the number of atheists who will bang on at length about rape culture and patriarchy being a “feminazi lie”. Just look at how many subscribers the “Amazing” atheist and Thunderf00t have on youtube if you want to know how prevalent bigotry is in the movement.

        Some fellow atheists who blame religion for everything wrong in the world seem to end up with a lot of unwarranted arrogance about their own lack of flaws.

        • Oolon that’s a laugh, since you’re just as guilty of treating people like garbage and using your own personal ideologies to justify it. Cyber bullies like you and the group of uncivil drama bloggers you’re constantly championing and making excuses for are a HUGE part of why I don’t accept any special moral authority from atheists.

          Calling yourself an atheist doesn’t make you automatically better than other people, and neither does claiming to be a feminist. I’ve seen some very prominent atheist “feminists” trade in the worst sexist stereotypes in order to attack their critics, including calling other women who disagree with them names, accusing them of only wanting attention from men, just parroting what their husbands told them to say, or being crazy.

      • I’ve met anti-gay atheists yest. I have not personally seen evolutionary psychology being used as an excuse, just evolution and biology in general. I’ve heard being gay is “unnatural” and “against evolution”, and if all humans turned gay our species would die out.

        Generally I’ve met plenty of atheists who adhere to one dogmatic ideology or another, and use it to justify treating other people like garbage. It’s hardly unique to religion. And I don’t accept that there are special things about it when atheists do it that still make theists somehow “worse” when they do it.

  2. I disagree with Larry. Atheists use all kinds of silly defenses for their own biases. Just because they aren’t based on a holy book doesn’t make them any more defensible.

    • @CARRIE,
      “Just because [their biases] aren’t based on a holy book doesn’t make them any more defensible”

      No. But it makes them more harmless.

        • @FRANK,

          No.
          We are less dangerous than
          Islamists, Christians & Zionists
          because, unlike you, we do not use a God to define evil for us.
          We look at behavior and consequences.

          This may be why Atheists usually don’t end up in prison.

          • And why we don’t strap bombs to ourselves and blow up buses filled with children. Religion is an easy lubricant in the slip from reality to “faith”.

            I must also say I have about 900 Atheists who I am Facebook friends with. I have never seen a homophobic/transgender/racist rant, post, or exclamation from any of them.

          • Less Dangerous? Really? Tell that to the 60 million Chinese that Mao had murdered or the 35 million Soviets that Stalin had murdered. Both of these men were atheists. Total worldwide atheists are responsible for more deaths than all religions combined.

    • There is less nonsense with pretending that ones bigotry shoud be socially sanctioned because of some outside allegedly compelling authority commands it.

      An atheist is more likely to just chalk it up to being a disagreeable person rather than pretend everyone else should share such views.

      • If I am on the receiving end of the homophobia, it’s not gonna make a helluva lot of difference to me that this particular homophobe isn’t motivated by religion

        • Nor should it – however, you might take some solace in the fact that the atheist in the above scenario is far less likely to be engaged in an active attempt to mobilize legions of voters to attempt to quash people’s civil rights (or much much worse).

          That rare offshoot random loner homophobe atheist really is a different animal than the virus that is a religious nutter out to make sure you burn in hell.

  3. Atheism is not an inoculation against prejudice, and in addition, there is something about it that tends to attract noisily macho belligerent guys. Since guys like that tend, at least, to be comfortable with a lot of sexist “jokes” and banter and all the rest of the drearily familiar background noise, they make movement atheism unattractive to women and gender-rebels.

    • @Ophelia,

      “Since guys like that…”

      Gee, at least you don’t have any sexism yourself, huh?
      Here are some distinguished Atheists you might feel more comfortable with:

      Golda Meir
      Betty Friedan
      Hannah Ahrendt
      Lisa Randall
      Julia Sweeney
      Paula Poundstone
      Helen Keller
      Diane Keaton
      Marlene Deitrich
      Butterfly McQueen
      Phyllis Diller
      Susan B. Anthony
      Katherine Hepburn
      Helen Mirren
      Virginia Wolf
      Frida Kahlo
      Jodie Foster
      Angelina Jolie
      Margot Kidder
      Larry King
      Keira Knightley
      Ayaan Hirsi Ali
      Susan Jacoby
      Sarah Bernhardt
      Kari Byron
      Adrianne Curry
      Diane Farr
      Cloris Leachmen
      Sarah Silverman
      Emma Thompson
      Lalla Ward
      Ayn Rand
      Jessica Ahlquist
      Amy Alkon

    • LOL Ophelia, sorry but no drama blogger who fills their posts with petty bickering, attacks, insults and character assassinations has any moral authority here either. Clean up your own house first.

    • You’re probably not reading these comments anymore since your own comments were dismissed as “drama,” but I want to say this anyway — loved your comment, clicked on your name, and now I’m reading your blog.

  4. At least when Athiests are jerks
    They don’t have “God on their side” to coerce others to do their evil bidding.
    You need religion for that.

    • As much as I hate to play the Stalinist card, they very much did not have God on their side but seemed just fine at “coerc[ing] others to do their evil bidding”

      • This is just to say that if you think someone or group needs “God on their side” to get others to do evil, you need to brush up on your history and intro social psych.

        • @VLAD,
          I knew that was coming.
          Stalin was an atheist but he accomplished his mass murder by using the populations credulity in GOD for a religion of the state – having taken the place of CZAR (mediator between God and Man) Stalin used the Russian Orthodox church (where he had been a Seminarian) and employed the credulity of a public which did believe in God to accomplish his own MIRACLES (look up “Lysenko”).
          To this day Stalin Icons – complete with HALOS – are worshipped in the Russian Orthodox Church.

          http://www.diakonima.gr/2011/09/06/ο-μητροπολίτης-αλεξανδρουπόλεως-άνθ/

          • Franklin: That’s not obvious and not what Atheist Max said, also see: the Stanford Prison Experiment, Milgram experiment, etc. There are a lot of ways to get perfectly good people to engage in evil behavior, I don’t see any reason to think religion makes it particularly easier.

            Atheist Max: Weird how easy it is to fit anything you want into whatever narrative you want, and funny how easy it is to fit anyhting you don’t like under the “religion” umbrella. Superficial similarities to religion aren’t going to cut it, especially since you started with “you need God on your side.” If Stalin isn’t doing it for you, feel free to look at any number of historical cases of secular atrocities, or again, the Stanford Prison experiment, Milgram experiments, bystander effects, and so on, all of which go to make good people do evil with nothing at all to do with god.

            If you think atheists are somehow less susceptible to sexism, racism, homophobia, and so on, just because they don’t have God, then you’re just using conveniently using God as a scapegoat so you don’t have to own up to the fact that we do shitty things, too.

          • I’ve known plenty of otherwise good people who work for and support terrible organizations because it gets them a better paycheck and promises them a more stable financial future.

            Money and the sense of control over one’s life that money yields is a universal corrupter. Religion is not necessary for this kind of evil but a desire to survive in the world with material comfort and a need to provide for one’s loved ones is. People will support horrific actions if it leads toward the betterment of their lives and the lives of those they care about.

            Evil is remarkably banal and is so often made possible by the collective actions of millions of everyday people just trying to get through life.

        • @VLAD,

          You missed my point entirely. I was trying to be brief.
          I’m talking about genocide invoked by religious edict. I assume most people know this.

          Atheists can be asses. Of course.
          But genocidal crimes against humanity needs a credulous population and a leader who invokes ‘God’ (Crusades, Rwanda) or one’s “Own Divine Authority” (Hirohito, Hitler, Pol Pot) to accomplish the genocide.

          Faith and gullibility among the population is one danger.
          Stalin USED the networks of the Russian Orthodox church. Pol Pot USED Theravada Buddhism.

          So Atheists (non-believers in any God) don’t have the rallying cry
          to inflame religious fervor.

          That doesn’t mean it is impossible. Just less likely.
          Nationalism is a danger, too, but a national religion is THE preamble to war (Nazism/Christian Aryan Race).

          Stalin decreed Atheism as a RELIGION OF THE STATE (As north Korea does) Yet promoted HIS own Miracles of Lysenko. That is not Atheism!

          “Criticism of atheism or the state’s anti-religious policies was forbidden and could lead to forced retirement, arrest and/or imprisonment.” *

          Wherever religion is enforced (including ANTI-RELIGION) a genocidal agenda is sure to follow!

          The Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution
          is OUR TRUE SAVIOR.
          Long live the separation of church and state!

          …..
          * (Johnson/’Religion, Politics and the Soviet Union’, Cambridge Univ. Press 1994)

      • @M. Gran,
        Mao and Stalin did not kill people to force Atheism!
        And they didn’t kill BECAUSE of their own atheism.

        They killed to force Stalinism and Maoism on everyone in their respective countries.

        That is no different than the 700 years of The Spanish Inquisition….forcing FAITH ONTO the population IS the problem – NOT Atheism.

        You cannot force people to ‘NOT believe in god!’

  5. Being an atheist doesn’t give the rational ability to recognize nonsensical arguments. It has been pointed out to Silverman that there are atheists who think “xy is unnatural, therefore xy is morally inferior” is a reason to be homophobic. Let’s see what he makes of that in the ongoing discussion.

  6. All that is within nature is natural. And all is within nature. There are no such acts, or thoughts as unnatural. But then, all roses are not red. There is a difference between being homophobic and not liking the homosexual acts. Today’s culture throws everything into one big basket. And please, if you see differences on any topic don’t tell anyone. You’re either with us or against us. There are pink roses and white ones.

  7. Re: Silverman’s comments:

    What he said doesn’t appear out of line at all, even if you stated that it was. Two of his points were:

    1. That he didn’t know any anti-gay atheists. That may well be true. I know a lot of non-believers myself, and can state without reservation that none of them are anti-gay. I might very well have said the same thing Silverman did, and if I had, I would not be lying.

    2. That he didn’t know of any non-religious anti-gay arguments. That, also, coincides with my experience. I had never heard of any kind of argument against gays made that didn’t have some religious or metaphysical basis.

    As for Madalyn Murray O’Hair, she was one atheist, albeit an outspoken one. She happens to have been off the mark about several things, including her remarks on agnosticism. Besides, she’s sadly been dead for something like 2 decades. Holding her up as a continued spokesperson for atheism, just doesn’t seem all that appropriate.

    Note, I would never have said there CAN’T be any anti-gay atheists. Of course there might be one or two, somewhere at the fringes of non-belief. How rational would it be to deny that possibility? But I also don’t see any kind of similar blanket statement in anything Silverman said. Again, his comments were about his own experience and his own direct knowledge. He may very well have been 100% truthful.

    • I have to admit I’m surprised at 16% atheist/agnostic opposition to “gay marriage” (the term the poll appears to have used). I can only recall ever coming across one atheist who was opposed to marriage equality, and it was on the “the state should issue civil unions to everybody” line. I’m not for a minute arguing that my experience is more credible than a Pew poll, just surprised. I would have put the number at < 5% just based on my online experience with fellow atheists.

      Of course my bias is that I'm mostly interacting with atheists who choose to go online and talk about their frustration with theism. If my hard-core republican atheist grandparents were still alive, I'm not sure what box they'd check on that question. I think I could appeal to their Libertarian core and get them to support marriage equality, but it probably wouldn't be their default.

    • Apparently Dave Silverman himself disagrees with you:

      Martin Wagner ‏@wagnerfilm 50m
      I am gobsmacked to see @MrAtheistPants pull “No True Scotsman” to hand wave away existence of homophobic atheists. pic.twitter.com/49zNRZ1XOz

      David Silverman ‏@MrAtheistPants 29m
      @wagnerfilm I get TONS of email from obvious poes. I’m a atheist and you should leave religion alone, etc.

      Martin Wagner ‏@wagnerfilm 25m
      @MrAtheistPants Roger that. Well, the tweet sounded a bit like “If they’re anti-gay, I can’t believe they’d be atheist.”

      David Silverman ‏@MrAtheistPants 21m
      @wagnerfilm Well, that is what I meant. Apparently I was wrong.

      • I was going by what was in this article. As it was written, it looked to me as though it was constructing a straw man … claiming Silverman said something he didn’t. I was unaware of the backstory, as well as Silverman’s own thinking on the subject (contrary to my “handle,” I am not in fact a mind-reader). The specific words attributed to Silverman did not match up with what the article’s author was saying.

        In any event, despite everything else, it remains plausible that any given atheist might say s/he knows no anti-gay atheists, and be absolutely truthful about it.

        I also note, you quoted Silverman as saying he was wrong. Is there something wrong with that? Was he not supposed to say that? Does his admission mean he’s the ogre the author of this article suggests he is? I wonder if it might not be the opposite of that …

        And I also wonder how often any religionist ever admits s/he was ever wrong about anything.

  8. If Silverman actually believes that there are no homophobic atheists, that’s ridiculous. Atheists are humans, and humans are shit. Of course there are homophobes who also happen to be atheists. Still, homophobia’s main driver is and always will be religion. I’m hoping Silverman misspoke or was misquoted or something here.

  9. @Data_Jack @OpheliaBenson How many anti gay atheists do you know? I can’t name any off top of my head. I know a few anti choice atheists.

    He said “I can’t name any off the top of my head,” not “there aren’t any.” That’s a pretty serious misrepresentation on your part, wouldn’t you say? Your point would be fine – I just don’t see why the serious misrepresentation has to come into place.

    I like your work, but I honestly feel that you do this kind of thing quite often. Maybe take advantage of some general or rhetorical statement that wasn’t sufficiently qualified, interpret it in a narrow way, and then use it in some sort of personal attack. Often against the new atheists you oppose.

    As for the point itself, of course. There are some atheists who are anti-gay; do you really think Silverman would dispute that? As for the self-defined atheists, research also shows that ~20% of self-defined atheists “believe in a God.” Maybe it’s a large portion of the self-defined atheists who are anti-gay..

    It’s odd to emphasize the relatively fringe anti-gay atheists. We know that theists are 5x as likely to be anti-gay at least (38% protestants support gay marriage vs. 88% unaffiliated: 62% vs. 12% as one rough metric of this idea). We know that just about every major anti-gay organization, individual, and politician explicitly cites religious reasons or is explicitly a religious organization. Can you name some exceptions? David Silverman couldn’t.

    We also know from Gallup that religion is the most commonly cited reason for anti-gay beliefs in this country, if the anecdotal evidence weren’t staggering already.

    The only serious “secular” argument against gay rights is natural law, advanced most prominently by Catholic professor Robert George.

    • Chris Stedman

      Just a quick note (I’ll continue to reflect on the rest of your comment) to say that Silverman *was* in fact suggesting that there aren’t anti-LGBTQ atheists (he may not have done so in the Tweet I linked to, but he did elsewhere).

      If you want to be sure, he confirmed it himself today on Twitter. (See the update to the post.)

  10. I’d love to hear you treat the question of whether atheists are more susceptible to the prison of contemporary ideas. Religious people tend to value the thoughts and traditions of the dead, thus giving them at least a shot of thinking outside whatever contextual bubble they may be living within.

  11. Hmmmmm… Mr. silverman did not say that they did not exist, he stated that he had not met any. BIG difference. I agree that some non-religious folks are just as bigoted as religious folks, they just don’t have an instruction book like the Bible or Q’ran to back them up. I have met religious folks who support gay marriage as well, but their numbers are tiny in my experience.

  12. The point must not get lost.

    David Silverman is pushing Atheism in everyone’s face as aggressively as possible to call attention to Christian privilege and to demand equal treatment for Atheists. And it is great.

    Whether all Atheists generally accept minorities is a minor kerfuffle since the vast majority do – and further, have no reason not to.

    This is to be compared to The Religious who have “a built-in rejection system” of Gays and others right in their DOGMA regardless of whether they choose to flash it, hide it or save it for another day.

    Go Atheists!

  13. TheGreatGodPan

    “Pew data suggests that around 20 percent of self-identified atheists and agnostics don’t support same-sex marriage. That number is less than among other groups…

    Ha! An early contender for Understatement of the Year. That number is FAR lower than among any other “religious group” in the US, except for Jews. What standard are atheists supposed to meet? 0%? You would be hard-pressed to find results of “0%” on any question asked of any suitably large group.

    Bonus point for digging up a letter from O’Hair, who has been dead for nearly two decades and therefore of course makes a perfectly suitable spokesperson for atheists in 2014.

    This kind of absurdly slanted pro-religious boosterism–harping on the speck in atheism’s eye while ignoring the plank in Christianity’s, if you will–is exactly what I have come to expect from Stedman and the rest of the “faitheist” crowd. How can anyone look at a chart showing that around 80% of white Evangelicals oppose gay marriage–with the statistics for atheists being the opposite–and come away itching to write about all those mean, homophobic ATHEISTS? LGBTQ “faitheists” and “progressive believers” would seemingly rather be burned at the stake by Christians than hear atheists say something critical about the people with the torches. File under “Stockholm Syndrome,” perhaps?

  14. While most Christians I know are homophobic, most of them are so in a vague sort of nonpersonal “eww, not our sort” way. Which is damnably uncomfortable for those of us passing as “our sort.”

    The homophobic atheist I know is very specific about why he gates gays. Lesbians not so much, they’re not on his radar. He hates gay men because they insult his masculinity the same way the existence of Yorkshire terriers insults wolves. (Of course, i couldn’t resist telling him the average Yorkie is more aggressive than the average wolf, being a bred ratter, while wolves only hunt for food)

    And yeah, there are a few conservatives among us pagan folk, and a few homophobes, but here, the local pagan groups are about 30% QUILTBAG, so the ‘phobes keep quiet, and we don’t schedule Litha over Pride weekend.

  15. Susan Humphreys

    All of this talk about who is more or less homophobic is plain DUMB. IT is simply a sign that both groups religious and atheist leaders feel the need to prove they are superior to, more moral than their opponent, another way to demean and belittle the other guy. For Mr. Silverman who claims he believes in Rationality and Logic it is a real farce. As one poster pointed out IF you are on the receiving end of abuse it doesn’t matter if that person is religious or not.

    • TheGreatGodPan

      It does matter. Religious homophobes in the US have taken to claiming that their right to be abusive is a matter of religious freedom, and that anyone who dares to such much as call them “bigoted” is actively persecuting them. The supposedly liberal New York Times runs columns by Ross Douthat claiming that he and other Christians have “lost the war” and that their new Gay Overlords must treat them with mercy, as if religious homophobes are being rounded up and sent away to gulags.

      Homophobic atheists–where ever and whoever they are (I, like Silverman, don’t know any)–cannot and do not make the same claims. At 20% of atheists (according to the supposedly damning data Stedman links to) they clearly qualify as a Crank Minority within the larger group. Prominent columnists like Ross Douthat and the decidedly Stedman-esque Damon Linker are not rushing to protect the feelings of homophobic atheists.

      Shorter version: Religious homophobia is protected by religious privilege and thus flourishes. Atheist homophobia is not and does not.

    • @SUSAN,

      Ridiculous. To you there is no significant difference
      between these two positions:

      Religion: “Kill homosexuals.”
      Atheist: “what?!”

      Of COURSE, the Atheist is superior. Religion is despicable nonsense.

      • Instead of shooting your atheist mouth off why don’t you do a little research
        into the number of deaths in countries that have or are run by atheists.

        • @M. Gran,
          “(Homosexuals) must surely be put to death” – (Leviticus 20:13)

          Yes. I will go so far as to say my atheism is superior to that outrageous command by God.

          • Incorrect Leviticus 18:22 and Leviticus 20:23 Do not condemn Homosexuality proven here -> savedbychrist94.blogspot.com/2014/01/homosexuality-is-not-sin-irrefutable.html

          • Homosexuality is not a Sin (Irrefutable)
            Before we get to proving that Homosexuality isn’t a sin, learn what Sin means according to the Bible in this post –>savedbychrist94.blogspot.com/2013/10/what-is-sin.html

            Now lets get to the passages which people claim condemn homosexuality, but actually do not.

            Romans 1:24-27 actually condemns the person who’s arguing against Homosexuality, just like Romans 7, Paul uses a hypothetical Opponent and refutes them it is called Diatribe.

            So that passage is actually Pro-gay,

            Next up, Leviticus 18:22 and Leviticus 20:13,

            Leviticus 18:22 says in original language/hebrew, ” V”et-zachar lo tishkav mishk”vei ishah to”evah hu.”

            and Leviticus 20:13 says, “V’ish asher yishkav et zachar mishk’vei ishah to’evah asu shneihem mot yumatu d’meihem bam”

            Breakdown,

            lets use 20:13 as it ‘s basicallly Leviticus 18:22 but with more words,

            V’ish – And male
            asher – Who
            yishkav – lie down
            et – with
            zachar – male
            mishk’vei (mishk’av)- Beds/lyings
            ishah – woman/wife
            to’evah – abomination/abhorrent/ritually unclean
            asu – Do
            shneihem – both of them
            mot – dying
            yumatu – they will die
            d’meihem – their blood (or blood of them)
            bam – on them (or them)

            Now here’s the key, mishk”vei ishah which means Lyings of Woman, what does that mean?

            According to Hebrews/Jews (Lyings) because it either refers to Vaginal, or Anal penetration.

            Since men do not have vaginas, it is used here to mean Anal penetration, Homosexuality is not condemned in Leviticus 18:22 and Leviticus 20:13, Anal penetration is. therefore there’s not one instance of Homosexuality being condemned in The Old testament.

            Now the final two verses that are supposedly against homosexuality,

            1 Timothy 1:8-11 and 1 Corinthians 6:9-11

            1 Timothy 1:8-11 – The word mistakenly translated into “homosexuals” is arsenokoitai

            1 Corinthians 6:9-11 – The word mistakenly translated into “homosexuals” is arsenokoitai

            So both the verses have the word arsenokoitai which is translated so wrongly to meaning “gay/homosexual”

            arsenokoitai does not mean gay, the word is used in the greek translation of the Old testament/Septuagint, to translate both Leviticus 18:22 and Leviticus 20:13

            These were two separate words, arsenos and koitai, which are basically Greek translations of the Hebrew mishk”vei ishah

            Meaning arsenokoitai as proven by Septuagint/LXX translation of Leviticus 18:22 and Leviticus 20:13, simply means mishk”vei ishah, which means Lyings of Woman,

            Therefore 1 Timothy 1:8-11 and 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 condemn the same thing, Anal sex.

            So Romans 1, Leviticus, 1 Corinthians and 1 Timothy do not condemn homosexuality,

            There we have it, Homosexuality is therefore never once condemned in The Bible.

            Unbelievers need to repent and start loving gay people, and gay people you can now become Christians while remaining gay and being in a gay relationship, never condemned and YHWH(The Father and The Son and The Holy Spirit) doesn’t care about that, what He is sad about is anyone who rejects Him and and harms others, that’s the problem, not homosexuality.

        • @M. Gran,
          These Straw-men are NOT examples of Atheism:

          Stalin was a self-appointed intermediary (CZAR) between God and the religion of the state. He demanded FAITH in the religion of the Communist Soviet Union including the miracles of Lysenko, or death.
That is not Atheism – it is FAITH.

          Pol Pot was a Theravada Buddhist who ‘divined supernatural heaven’ of which he appointed himself leader and he demanded allegiance as self-appointed head of the religion of the state of Cambodia. He was against all education and science. What Atheist ever did that?
 That is not Atheism – it is FAITH.

          Hitler and his SS were all confessing Catholics and Lutherans, hailed a faith in the Aryan Race divine by God’s judgement and demanded full faith in the religion of the state. “Gott Mit Uns” God With Us.
          Hitler’s favorite Parable may have been “The 12 Minas” where Jesus said, “Take those who would not let me be their King and execute them in front of me” – Jesus (Luke 19:27).
          
That is not Atheism – it is FAITH.

          Emperor Hirohito, was another cult of the Sun God – the sacrificial Kamikazes and the war with ‘sacred’ Japan.
That is not Atheism – it is FAITH

          However, The United States Constitution remains the only Godless constitution in the world even today, thanks to Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin – That is Agnosticism – no faith in God whatsoever!


          We are enjoying it still today. The Constitution.

          Meanwhile here are the WARS CAUSED DIRECTLY BY RELIGION:

          War on Aids – 20 Million Dead, Catholics obstructed condoms over a 20-year period through their clinics as women begged to be saved from their husbands (“Aids is bad but condoms are worse” – VATICAN)


          Spanish Inquisition – 900,000 dead – Catholic

          The Crusades – (1095 c.e. -1291 c.e.) 2 Million dead – Catholics
          Anti-Semitism – 5 millions dead over 2000 years excluding the Holocaust

          Witch Hunts – 500,000 dead

          Ireland – 600,000 dead (Catholic vs. Protestant)

          Rwanda 1994 (Catholic Facists killed 1,000,000 with machetes)

          Taipeng Rebellion in China (1850 – 1864) 45 million dead (Christian Fascists)
          Boznia-Herzegovina (Catholic Facists)

          The Ivory Coast civil wars (Catholic Facists)

          Franco, the Spanish Civil War (Catholic Facists)

          Cypriat War (Catholics)

          East Timor civil war

          Sri Lankan civil war

          Syria vs. Israel

          Kashmir civil war

          Chechnya civil war

          Sudan

          Thirty Years War (Protestants VS. Catholics)

          WW1 – War of Christendom (37 Million dead)

          WW2 Nazi Anti-Semitism, “Gott Mit Uns” Axis powers – 50 Million dead

          Albigensian Crusade, 1208-49
          Algeria, 1992-
          Baha’is, 1848-54
          Bosnia, 1992-95
          Boxer Rebellion, 1899-1901

          Constantinian Empire & Christian Romans, 30-313 CE
          Croatia, 1991-92
          English Civil War, 1642-46
          Huguenot Wars, 1562-1598
          India, 1992-2002
          India: Suttee & Thugs
          Indo-Pakistani Partition, 1947

          Iran, Islamic Republic, 1979-

          Iraq, Shiites, 1991-92

          Jews, 1348

          Jonestown, 1978

          Lebanon 1860 / 1975-92
          Molucca Is., 1999-
          Mongolia, 1937-39

          Northern Ireland, 1974-98

          Russian pogroms 1905-06 / 1917-22

          St. Bartholemew Massacre, 1572

          Shang China, ca. 1300-1050 BCE

          Shimabara Revolt, Japan 1637-38

          Sikh uprising, India, 1984-91

          Spanish Inquisition, 1478-1834
          Tudor England

          Vietnam, 1800s

          Witch Hunts, 1400-1800
          Xhosa, 1857

          Arab Outbreak, 7th Century CE

          Arab-Israeli Wars, 1948-

          Al Qaeda, 1993-

          Dutch Revolt, 1566-1609

          Nigeria, 1990s, 2000s700,000,000 people dead because of religion.
400,000,000 attributable to Christianity alone.
          Yet God doesn’t appear to take a side in these battles.

          THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR:
          The Southern Baptist Church, FUNDED BY and founded by Southern Plantation Owners in 1837 argued for the HOLY SANCTITY OF SLAVERY based solely on the Bible.
          The Southern Baptist Church in its religious argument in favor of Slavery was a strong influence in turning the Southern argument for Secession into a religious matter. Once “The ‘Divine’ is on your side”, you will do any amount of evil.

          ____
          Now, please show me where Thomas Paine, Voltaire, Carl Sagan, Mark Twain or Isaac Asimov ever burned a witch!

  16. Susan Humphreys

    Franklin said, “The thing is that religion makes it easier for perfectly good people to engage in evil behavior” I think it is important for ALL to realize that “religion” here is used in it’s broadest sense, any group with a defined doctrine/dogma AND that includes Atheists, Green Peace activist and the Republican party. The problem is NOT the religion but the use and abuse of that religion by Fanatics and Extremeists. Fanatics and Extremeists are the problems. If you don’t grasp this important point many efforts aimed at eliminating the problem simply exacerbate it, make the fanatic or extremist even worse. Fanatics and Extremists will twist and pervert anything: science, their sacred texts , the use of rational and logical discourse, to support and justify their position IF it suits their purpose. They will use anyone; parents, siblings, friends, other members of the group to do their dirty work IF it furthers their agenda. The fanatic/extremist has NO toleration for dissent, differences of opinion, new ideas (good or bad) NOR do they allow the free and open exchange of information. Fanaticism and Extremism are the problems not religion.

    • @SUSAN,

      You said, “The problem is NOT the religion but the use and abuse of that religion”

      CLASSIC!
      Religion IS THE ABUSE. There is no benign way to practice Voodoo.

      I was a churchgoing Christian for 44 years before that light bulb went on.
      Religion starts as self abuse, invigilation, humble servility to a LOVING GOD a force ‘greater than you’….

      BUT deep down it is a subtle attack on one’s own natural qualities as well as those qualities in others – the awful word is “SINNERS”:
      Gays, women, wealthy people, obese, Jews, Muslims, Right wingers, Left wingers, socialists, community organizers, sexual expression…etc,

      One’s humility is converted into overwhelming solipsism, absolutism and self-righteousness. Nothing is more insidiously divisive than religion.

      I did not want to become an ATHEIST.
      But upon realizing the truth I fought hard to understand it.

      There is no SAFE WAY to practice voodoo.

      • Susan Humphreys

        That statement “religion is Voodoo” is wrong on so many counts. You denigrate real Voodoo and it’s practitioners by using it as a pejorative. BUT most importantly you denigrate yourself by showing that you think demeaning and belittling and pejorative remarks are intelligent discourse.

        • @Susan,
          I’m “belittling?”….I’m “Pejorative?”
          You don’t seem to regard religious people as worthy of the truth.

          My concern for the routine, faith-based genital mutilation of children, or the $100 million in Evangelical funding of Israeli settlements is somehow….”BELITTLING”?

          It is all rather abstract to you, isn’t it?

  17. When I left my hometown for college in the late 80s, I had two really good atheist friends that I kept in contact with, one of whom I went to college with. After coming out to my two friends as transgender in the 90s, they both broke off contact with me. I’ve not heard from them since.

    One of the worst transphobic interactions I’ve ever had online was with two atheists working in tandem to dismiss my identity as a woman as a largely delusional disconnection from reality. They used everyday logic to damage me as much as they could. Not a shred of religious argument was to be had but the interaction was horrible specifically because it’s far easier for me to brush aside religious stupidity than it is to brush aside a non-religious argument regarding transgender identity.

    Trans exclusionist radical feminists (TERFS) are really awful to interact with, too. I’ve had more than my fair share of interactions with those folks during the past decade and a half. A great number of them are atheists and also anti-religious.

    So, the whole notion of atheist = queer friendly? When it comes to transgender issues, on a good day, maybe you’ll get a better response. On a number of other days, however, equating atheist with queer friendliness is a deeply naive assumption.

  18. Susan Humphreys

    One more thing Max your comment fails to acknowledge the reality that there are good people that choose to be religious for many different religions. Your attempts to denigrate them aren’t just self-destructive (they defeat your own purpose) but it shows a serious lack of maturity on your part.

    • @Susan,

      Yes, I have admitted it repeatedly.
      Some people who work with Al Queda, Hamas, Hezbollah and The Parties of God are doing good works in the name of Allah. The provide charity for the needy.

      I’m told that Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam gets lots of kids off drugs.

      NONE OF THAT means these religions are true or that they aren’t just promoting their OWN CAUSES on the backs of people’s problems.

      If Al Queda paid your medical bills would that make them any less nefarious?

      What about all the millions of people who are afraid of Hell when they think lusty thoughts? Is that also okay for you?

      What about all the millions of boys and girls whose genitals are routinely clipped against their will ?? Is that okay for you?

      What about all the schools being bullied into Creationism in Tennessee, Texas and Louisiana ? Is it okay for you if children don’t get a healthy science education?

      What about the little girls who die every year in house fires in Saudi Arabia just because they are not dressed in accord with Islam to be taken out of the burning buildings? You okay with that ?

      What about a religion which demands human sacrifices? You okay with throwing virgins into a volcano?

      • Susan Humphreys

        Your last comments Max show you know you have lost this particular battle. When anyone resorts to silliness to prove their point, they have lost and they know it. We know longer have religions that cast virgins into volcanoes because the “good” people of that religion objected and called a halt to the practice or left the religion altogether for something else. In the case of the Americas they left primarily for Christianity. Your silly comment actually proves my point! Religion isn’t EVIL Max, people are. AND bad people will use anything to justify and sanctify their position, science, their religious text, rationality and logic!

        • @SUSAN,
          No. I am saying that even the religious injunction to LOVE is evil.
          The injunction TO DO GOOD is itself immoral. Because with God everything is coupled with the threat of Hell.

          You haven’t bothered to pay any attention at all.

    • ROD,
      This life is all you have.
      And beware of the temptation to think otherwise, because it is human to fool yourself into thinking the laws of nature will bend in your personal favor.
      They won’t. Gods are created on the back of that childish wish.

      “The cradle rocks above an abyss, and common sense tells us that our existence is but a brief crack of light between two eternities of darkness.”
      ― Vladimir Nabokov

  19. Jonathan J. Turner

    Sorry I’m so late…

    Atheists and gays tend to hate religion for different reasons: gays’ feelings are more hurt by the moral reprobation and exclusion by the religious community, whereas atheists are not hurt by being excluded, but rather find the very existence of religion itself offensive and hateworthy.

    Thus many gay non-atheists push to modify religious doctrine to hallow their unions and gain religious legitimacy, whereas non-gay atheists may support such advocacy because, hating religion, they are happy to use gays as human shields to attack, weaken and divide the despised sects.

    • “Atheists….tend to hate religion….find the very existence of religion itself offensive and hateworthy.”

      But that’s not a reason for why the practice is so criticized by open atheists. You’re repeating yourself.

      Also, atheists are “happy to use gays as human shields”? Wow, this is how you refer to critics of religion?

      You don’t think that atheist critics of religion actually see society being made worse off in so many ways because of what is preached from pulpits? You don’t at least consider why claims made in religion (especially Abrahamic religion) concerning the universe have troubled, flimsy , contradictory grounding except through the application of doctrinally-compliant action (including law)?

      You completely missed the boat on why atheists criticize religion so much. You’re not even at the right port.

      Sincerely, a Black LGBT atheist.

      • Jonathan J. Turner

        Thinking about this column, the links, and the other comments–questions like these arise in my imagination:

        Why would/should LGBT empathy/advocacy necessarily follow or spring forth from one’s becoming convinced of an atheistic worldview?

        To reframe the question around the role of reason: Why wouldn’t/shouldn’t gay sex/passion appear just as “illogical” to a straight (or any!) atheist as it would to, say, Phil Robertson?

        • @Jonathan,

          Suppose Your whole life you were told that people with thin lips are from ‘The Devil’ so you feared them.

          Now suppose you one day you discover that there is no ‘Devil’.
          What argument is left to fear people with thin lips?

          The issue isn’t whether Gays are good or bad.
          The issue is religion has asserted something about Gays.
          Once religion disappears, the assertion disappears with it.
          Gays are suddenly just people, no better…no worse.

          This is why most atheists have no problem with gays.
          Or thin lips. If an assertion rings hollow, it is.

          • M. Gran.
            Where is this devil you speak of?
            If you just repeat the assertion that it exists, you made my point for me.

        • By the way,

          Religious assertions against “the other” work not only with LGBT but of course with people connected to other religions: Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, etc….. This is why religion is so divisive.

          When one discovers there is no God, the divisions and assertions about “the other” disappear, too. It can’t be helped! It is a peaceful, life-affirming result of discovering one is an Atheist. There is nobody to hate.

          An ex-Muslim has no reason to join Al Queda.
          An ex-Jew has no reason to be a Zionist.
          And the nicest Christians, are the EX-Christians.

  20. This is just a ad hominem attack article.

    You can apply religion and how it was interpreted by the christian, Adolf Hitler, and also make goofy claims, it doesn’t make it true for all christians. when you take these generalizations and apply it on others its a sad argument to stand on.

  21. I don’t get the point of this article. It’s almost seems like it’s saying, “see, there are atheist as well that are homophobic”.

    Great. So what? The difference is that atheist are not following some supposed divine guideline.

    Also, why would it surprise anyone to find that there are atheist that are against same sex marriage. The only thing that unites atheist is the lack of a belief in gods. That’s it.

  22. Explain to me how not believing in a god somehow means that I would support a disgusting sexual act like homosexuality? It’s like saying i need religion to be disgusted by incest,bestiality,necrophilia and whatever other sexual acts exist(heck they have people disgusted by the concept of sex in general)

    Also there is no such thing as “homophobia” no one fears gays(well maybe young boys..but i digress). Most people are disgusted by homosexuality the same way they would be disgusted by the idea of seeing their parents have sex. It’s something you would rather not see,hear or think about, but unfortunately gays are intent on forcing their private sexual life on others.

    As for the sexism, that exist regardless of religiosity..and sexism exist in both sexes but i would argue that women are more sexist then men in this current era..the news,media,government heavily focuses on women’s “rights” while completely ignoring men and in case of government pass laws to help women at the detriment of men. I know this comment will probably not go through, but as long as a moderator reads it I don’t care.

    • I also forgot to add that if the author bothered to study history he would also learn that plenty of Communist(Atheist) regimes were/are just as against homosexuality as religious people/nations are..and to enlighten the author even more I suggest he read the article on Scientific America titled “Bering in Mind: Natural homophobes? Evolutionary psychology and antigay attitudes”

      End of my rant. I am just so feed up being painted into a box, saying because I am not religious I somehow support gay and women rights, big government and socialism..I do not

  1. […] Atheists can be homophobic and sexist, too: This week, the rights of women and LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer) people have been a big topic of discussion in the atheist blogosphere—with some asking whether or not homophobic or sexist atheists actually exist. […]

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