I just got a chain email me that attacks Barrack Obama as being unelectable because he is descended from the union of a Muslim and an atheist. The email goes on and makes various assertions about Obama trying to cover up his radical Muslim heritage. Much of this email has been debunked.
But true or not, the email made me feel like shit.
It was forwarded around by people who profess to love me.
Emails like this are an ongoing thing: this is just the latest one to circulate around with my friends and family. They are usually emails that rally people around distrust and hate of a particular group. Previous topics of distrust and hate have included liberals, homosexuals, and immigrants. Add that to the Muslims and atheists of this latest email, and the list of enemies must nearly be complete.
Since in the past I’ve spoken out against such divisive emails, I am no longer on the email list. I didn’t actually get this one directly: it was forwarded to me by someone still on the list who was upset by it as well.
There’s only a small number of people who get these emails and also read my blog, but for them I want to say this:
When you talk badly of atheists, you’re talking badly about me.
When you talk badly of liberals, you’re talking badly about me.
When you talk badly of homosexuals, immigrants, and muslims, you’re talking badly about people that I know and love.
And when you stand by and silently acknowledge such talk, you are betraying me and people that I know and love.
If that’s how you really feel about me and my choice in friends, fine, but then don’t tell me how wonderful I am. Resolve the contradiction: either decide that you don’t like me, or realize you like at least one atheist liberal homosexual-loving immigrant-loving muslim-loving secular humanist.
I don’t expect everyone to agree. I don’t agree with most of my family about a great many things. But I don’t partake in conspiratorial emails ignorantly deriding whole cultures, groups, or individuals based on what group they or their parents are members of. I’ve not yet seen an atheist email chain going around about how we should distrust all Christian presidential candidates, but if I did you can bet I’d be speaking out against that too.