[Marxism] atheism and the left

Paul Flewers rfls12802 at blueyonder.co.uk
Thu Oct 4 16:33:49 MDT 2007


Re Paula's posting 'Atheism and the Left'.

This is at http://books.guardian.co.uk/news/articles/0,,2180660,00.html.
Note Dawkins' statement in the last paragraph cited. 

It is like Daniel going into the lions' den, though Professor Richard
Dawkins might not appreciate the biblical comparison. Britain's leading
atheist is spearheading a campaign in America to challenge the dominance of
religion in every day life and in politics, insisting that the millions of
US godless deserve to be heard too.

Atheists in the US "have been downtrodden for a very long time. So I think
some sort of political organisation is what they need", he said.

Maybe David and Goliath would be a better analogy. Religion is palpable in
US schools, places of work and public institutions. God is invoked by
soldiers and politicians in a way that would seem inappropriate in Britain.
George Bush used God as one of the reasons for invading Iraq. In Congress,
where godlessness can equate with being unelectable, only one
representative, Pete Stark, is prepared to admit to being a non-believer.

According to a study published last year by the University of Minnesota,
Americans distrust atheists more than any other minority group, including
homosexuals, recent immigrants or Muslims.

Now the best-selling author of The God Delusion and chair of public
understanding of science at Oxford has set up an organisation to help
atheists round the world, including the US.

In an interview with the Guardian, he said: "When you think about how
fantastically successful the Jewish lobby has been, though, in fact, they
are less numerous I am told - religious Jews anyway - than atheists and [yet
they] more or less monopolise American foreign policy as far as many people
can see. So if atheists could achieve a small fraction of that influence,
the world would be a better place."

(continued)

Here's my response (published at
http://www.guardian.co.uk/letters/story/0,,2182873,00.html): 

The limitations of Professor Richard Dawkins' narrow secularist approach are
sadly apparent in his comment about the supposed strength of what he terms
the "Jewish lobby" in the US (Atheists Arise: Dawkins spreads the A-word
among America's unbelievers, October 1). The "Jewish lobby" doesn't exist;
an Israel lobby certainly exists, but it does not "monopolise US foreign
policy"; it is not primarily a religious movement, religious Jews do not
play that much of a role in it, and its most religious faction is that of
the Christian Zionists. The development of a secular movement in the US
would be welcome, but Dawkins' ignorant assertion will do nothing to put it
on a healthy footing.

Dr Paul Flewers
London

I am truly appalled that someone as bright as Richard Dawkins is so
politically unaware that he actually trots out the sort of nonsense that is
usually confined to the lunatic end of right-wing conspiracy theories.
Secularists in the USA trying to fight against religious obscurantism won't
be happy with their being associated with ideas normally associated with
anti-Semitic fascists and extreme Islamicists.

Paul F











More information about the Marxism mailing list