Sunday Blasphemy: White Supremecy

Sunday Blasphemy: White Supremecy

For this week’s Sunday Blasphemy, I’m going to step away from religion and go in an entirely different direction. This is something that has been on my mind for a while ever since I heard the news from Ferguson, MO in 2014. Then I started noticing all the other news stories about the shootings by cops of other unarmed black people.

Especially since the last presidential election I have gotten a burning desire to read more about the history of race and class in America and get some fucking context for what’s going on. I read “White Trash: A 400 Year Untold History of Class in America” and learned (among many other things) how after the Civil War policies were enacted to make sure that whiteness in and of itself was a badge of status. For a poor white person, it meant that even if you had nothing you were still considered better than a black person. I also found a book called “Life Behind a Veil: Blacks in Louisville, Kentucky, 1865-1930” while browsing the library stacks. In the first couple chapters (as far as I’ve read at this point) I’ve learned about things like how blacks migrating to Louisville in search for a better life were required to live in designated neighborhoods only, and actively denied the opportunities to live in middle and upper-class white neighborhoods because of legal housing discrimination. And it had nothing to do with ability to pay. Policies about racial were simply set up in a way to favor the idea that white were superior and that blacks would do well if they only did what white people told them.

These are all things that I never learned in history classes when I was in school, and things I never saw (or noticed) because they didn’t happen in my neighborhoods. I was always left to assume that the blacks in Louisville just chose to separate themselves into their own neighborhoods.

So, white supremacy is a real thing in America, and not just with skinheads who declare it without shame. It’s a lot for a white girl from Bullitt Co, Kentucky to wrap her head around. I’m still working out exactly how to deal with what I’m learning.

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“Community Tree” has Christians fuming in Louisville, KY

Apparently, the supposed “War on Christmas” has already come to my home city, even before Thanksgiving. A press release went out calling Louisville’s big Light Up Louisville spruce a “Community Tree.” And this has stirred controversy and hurt feelings.

It’s Called the Community Christmas Tree – WDRB.com

But not to worry, the city is not going to be “PC” or anything horrid like that. The tree is going to be called the “Community Christmas Tree.”

Don’t misunderstand, I have no problem with calling it a Christmas tree. It would still be a Christmas tree to me even if the city did officially call it a “Community Tree.” I am, after all, a product of a Christian upbringing and I have plenty of warm fuzzy memories of sitting under the Christmas tree. What shocks me (though maybe it shouldn’t by now) is the response of the Christians in this city to the naming of a tree. I have a small sampling of reactions pulled from Mayor Fisher’s Facebook wall (names masked for privacy, of course). Most are negative reactions, though I threw a couple of interesting positive reactions in for balance.

My favorite negative comment is the “what have we turned into??” comment. I mean, what have we become for calling a Christmas tree a Community tree? A bit more pluralistic? Many of the comments make it clear that the authors think that the city Christmas celebration ought to be a blatant state endorsement of their religion. After all, it’s tradition, right? And tradition is always right. /sarcasm.

It’s not just Louisville of course. Any time a government pronouncement around the winter holidays does not explicitly endorse CHRISTmas, this happens. There is no pronouncement coming from our government regarding how or when or why anyone will be allowed to observe Christmas or any other holiday. America has no government religion, and any county, city, state, or national observance has to be for all citizens, not just the traditional majority. Neither belief in, nor deference to, Christianity or any other religion is required for full participation in civic life in this country. And that, my friends, is the core of our beloved religious freedom.

See also: Wiki Article on Christian Privilege.

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At the Kentucky State Fair tonight!

It is time for the Kentucky State Fair, and for the third year in a row, the Kentucky Secular Society and the Louisville Atheists and Freethinkers will be representing. Tonight, I will be volunteering in the KySS booth from from 6-10pm. I am a bit of a veteran at this by now, having volunteered at the booth for the past two years, and I am taking a bit of time to reflect on past experiences I have had with the people who have come to visit our booth.

Tell most people that you are presenting a public face of atheism to the Commonwealth of Kentucky, and they will look at you like you are just a bit crazy. But after driving around Louisville with a Darwin Fish or a similar symbol on my car for over ten years now, I’ve found it’s not quite as scary as people seem to think. But then, I suppose it depends on who you come in contact with on a daily basis. If you have a highly religious boss, family, or if many in your close circle of friends are highly religious then open expressions of disbelief will be rather more intimidating. And that is the main reason we have an atheist booth at the State Fair. To reach out to the lonely atheists and doubters out there who are surrounded by religiosity and think there is no one else in Kentucky that thinks like they do.

Lots of these people come by our booth and give us the thumbs up and thank us and comment that they thought they were the only atheists in Kentucky. These are the fun and easy interactions, and the thing that keeps up coming back year after year. We do also get folks who come to argue with us, to tell us all about their expertise in biblical prophecy, or to inform us that “every knee will bow,” or to condescendingly declare that they will pray for us poor sinners. And we seem to get a lot who just shout out some Christian slogan and then walk right on by. It will be my goal this year to remember that these are just fine people who are trying to go on with their lives, and we have just declared something so shocking to them that it threatens to upset the whole applecart of their thinking. “We are atheist, and proud of it.” My goal this year will be to remember to have some compassion for these people and not to get angry at them.

My other goal is to interact with a lot of people and have some fun!

More updates and information about the KySS State Fair Booth at http://www.KySecularSociety.org.

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