Saturday, May 7, 2011

Women in the Atheist Movement

Siobhan Krautkramer and I had the opportunity to see Greta Christina give this talk at the U of MN C.A.S.H. meeting in April.  If there was one really big thing that I got from her speech it was that we cannot allow ourselves to fracture the way the G.L.B.T. movement did.  There are divides between gays and lesbians, white gays vs. gays of other ethnicities, and the transgender crowd is still out there on the fringe.  I see this starting to happen within the Atheist movement with the first fracture happening along the lines of gender. 
As a woman, when I hear about separation of church and state I also want to hear about how that affects women's issues.  We hear about crosses on highways for dead officers, spiritual tests for holding office or being fit for military service, and how blue liquor laws are all violations of church state separation.  Yet, not one nod to the repeated attacks on women's reproductive rights.  Crisis Pregnancy Centers are funded by religious organizations, billboards declaring "god made me", pharmacists refusing to fill prescriptions for the morning after pill or birth control on moral grounds because it clashes with their religious beliefs, hospitals losing religious affiliation because they made the difficult decision to save the life of a women dying before their eyes over the unborn child that was killing her... How is this not obviously a church state separation issue?  But I digress...
Women are underrepresented in the atheist movement.  This shows in the positions taken by the atheist community as a whole.  But with a nearly 50-50 ratio at the American Atheists National Convention in Des Moines, IA recently, that is going to change.  It is my hope that when it does it will be welcome and our current leaders will be open to a new style of co-management that celebrates our diversity and is inclusive to the positions that affect not just women, but also people of color, queer folk, and those that are challenged physically or mentally.
I hope that Greta Christina's message does not fall on deaf ears.  Despite justifiable anger felt by some, I plead the whole of the atheist movement to not create an atmosphere where there is distrust and resentment amongst us.  We have common goals.  We need one another if we intend on reaching those goals. 

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