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« The Truth is Out There...Way, Way Out There The RantsCarnival of the Godless #17 »

The ALC: Giving Atheists a Bad Name
2005.07.10 (Sun) 19:44

Apparently, when people associate the word "atheism" with visions of anti-religious zealots, groups like the Atheist Law Center are what they are thinking of. We came across this group from a link on Speedkill (which he found via Orcinus). Apparently, the ALC last week hosted a speech by the infamous holocaust denier David Irving in an attempt to "set the record straight" about those nasty Jews and their silly stories about Nazi death camps.

From the ALC web site:

Atheist Law Center to host British historian David Irving on Wednesday, July 6 at 6:30 PM

...

Darby, president of the Center, urges citizens concerned about the steady erosion of liberties in the U.S. to come hear of Irving's experiences in challenging popular history of the NAZI era and the Western world's taboos regarding what has grown into the holocaust industry.

The "holocaust industry"? So basically, all those "stories" about the holocaust were just clever ploys put in motion decades ago so that someday "evil Jews" like Steven Spielberg could make millions on that feel-good hit of 1993, Schindler's List? We're sure the Itzhak Stern action figures — with kung-fu stenographic grip — will be forthcoming from the "holocaust industry" any day now. And who could resist those cuddly and sadistic Amon Geothy-Bears?

Pardon us, but go sell crazy somewhere else, Mr. Darby.

Orcinus has some background on Mr. Irving, and over on Respectful Insolence, Orac has some details on Irving that are well worth reading. As you may know, Orac has written extensively on holocaust denial, and if you haven't read his holocaust-related posts yet, we highly reccomend them.

Also from the ALC press release cited above:

When individuals do find the courage to challenge politically correct notions involving Judaism, they are often met with knee-jerk responses of name-calling, such as "anti-Jew" or "anti-Semitic" or, in the case of Irving, "holocaust denier." Such vicious personal attacks have an effect of quashing free expression of opinion and free inquiry into a religion or faith-based practices, even when such practices have a bearing on U.S. national security.

Well, if the name-calling fits, then what the hell do you expect? As far as we're concerned, these morons are free to deny that the holocaust happened, in much the same way that the intelligent members of society are free to call them fucking lunatics and liars. The difference is that our chosen moniker for them is accurate, while their stories are utter crap. (Some good debunking of Irving's bullshit can be found in Michael Shermer's Why People Believe Weird Things, and his joint venture with Alex Grobman, Denying History: Who Says the Holocaust Never Happened and Why Do They Say It.)

But let's not stop the paranoia here, folks! Found elsewhere on the ALC web site:

The revelation that Mossad has spies at the Pentagon passing secrets to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee should be no more surprising than knowledge that the Jewish Mafia influences Democratic Party politics in New Jersey.

What is disgusting to citizens who want an America-first government is the puppet-like control AIPAC has over Congress. William B. Quandt, a former member of the National Security Council, says that over 70 percent of Congress will go along with whatever they think AIPAC wants.

Can you say "that's a lot of loony conspiracy theories," kids? We thought you could. We're a little shocked that Darby hasn't yet revealed that "Hebrew School" is really how young American Jews receive their extensive paramilitary training (one of us is now kicking himself for not paying more attention when he was forced to attend), and the fact that the Jews faked the moon landing (hey, they own Hollwood, right?). To us, religion is just one more silly set of beliefs, but countering it with more silly beliefs isn't the answer.

Based on a forum thread on Internet Infidels, it sounds like many respectable groups have already distanced themselves from the ALC, and rightfully so.

It's sad, really. The group's stated goals are laudable enough, and the fact that they are based in Alabama, a place where support organizations for atheists are likely severely lacking, would have made them a welcome addition to the logic-and-reason community. Unfortunately, logic and reason are two things that the ALC seems to lack.

These morons are a perfect example of what happens when you trade in religiously inspired faith-based beliefs for faith-based beliefs of a different flavor. Folks, it's not about which form of stupidity you subscribe to, it's about subscribing to stupidity at all.


— • —
[  Filed under: % Religion  ]

TrackBack URL for this entry: http://www.twopercentco.com/rants/tpc-trkbk.cgi/179

Comments (7)

s.t.r., 2005.07.11 (Mon) 12:54 [Link] »

Wow, good thing I have never opted for calling myself a full on athiest, but remain happily in the indecisive relm of agnostic....



Grendel, 2005.07.11 (Mon) 16:48 [Link] »

I don't believe in God, but don't refer to myself as an 'atheist' because that's a term coined by the God believers to denote someone who doesn't believe (a-theist). In other words, it's a label with negative connotations originating with those who would condemn me to hell for not believing. I don't reject God; it simply doesn't come up. I've never been to a church service from day of birth to the present. I haven't rejected God; I am blissfully free of religion having never been indoctrinated to belief.

I don't believe in God because I have experienced nothing that indicates a God's existence or can only be explained by the existence of a God, nor can anyone provide me evidence of a God. This is reasonable and logical on my part. I don't need to justify being reasonable and logical.

No, if anyone, it's the God believers who need to explain and justify their beliefs given the absence of evidence (though they needn't bother me with it).



The Two Percent Company, 2005.07.13 (Wed) 13:55 [Link] »
I don't need to justify being reasonable and logical.

That's the way we see it. Now if only that sentiment was more widely accepted, we'd be living in a far better place.

We tend to settle on the simple statement that we're "not religious." We're not against the term "atheist," but the negative connotations are too widespread, so we avoid it in mixed company. And all the attempts to come up with a new term for reasonable, rational people — "brights"? Blech! — are just silly.



Grendel, 2005.07.13 (Wed) 15:35 [Link] »

Who among us is reasonable and rational all the time?

Even if we had an appropriate term -and I agree that "brights" sucked -we'd probably just be setting ourselves up for those moments when we all inevitably take temporary leave of our capacity for reason and rationality.



free_range_atheist, 2005.07.13 (Wed) 16:46 [Link] »

The ALC web site says "The Center seeks to unify atheists in the United States by means of encouragement and assistance in matters of local activism."

Unify? Scan for message board comments and you see Darby lost subcribers to his news service when he instated a fee (people don't want to pay for something they can get for free?) and also because of his comments about Jews. Now he is losing more supporters because of his association with Irving. What exactly does Irving have to do with atheism anyway?

Darby opened the ALC 9/02. In nearly 3 years what has he accomplished? A few amicus curiae briefs for which counsel of record is an attorney in Illinois, some protests, a for-a-fee news service, and an event featuring a Holocaust denier? Am I missing something? According to his web site it looks like he's the only attorney on staff, and the Alabama bar site says he was admitted to the bar in 1999. He's been practising for only 5 or 6 years? Is there even an actual centre or is the ALC a corner in his cellar?



The Two Percent Company, 2005.07.13 (Wed) 22:56 [Link] »

Some unification of atheists, huh?

We doubt that the ALC is really a corner of Darby's cellar, though. We're sure it's at least a corner of his kitchen. Or dining room. Something above ground anyway. You know?



% Trackback » 2005.07.15 (Fri) 08:16
"Atheists, Anti-Semitism, and Holocaust Denial" from Agnosticism/Atheism

Atheists are generally committed to the principle of free speech, especially where criticism of religion is concerned. Should this commitment lead atheists to give a platform to Holocaust Deniers and help them spread their disinformation?... [More]


% Trackback » 2005.07.15 (Fri) 08:24
"Atheists, Anti-Semitism, and Holocaust Denial" from Agnosticism/Atheism

Atheists are generally committed to the principle of free speech, especially where criticism of religion is concerned. Should this commitment lead atheists to give a platform to Holocaust Deniers and help them spread their disinformation?... [More]


HNN, 2005.07.15 (Fri) 12:00 [Link] »

Editor's Note: In the interests of avoiding copyright infringement issues, we have snipped the article contained in the following comment short and provided a link to the actual article at the Humanist Network News site. We highly recommend a visit — it's a good read on the ALC and David Irving.

And we agree with Matt Cherry — Irving and Darby have the right to spew whatever garbage they want to spew, but they should then be prepared to be called out as the hateful conspiracy loons that they are.

— The Two Percent Company.

— • —

Drawing the line: Freethought and Holocaust Denial

COLUMN By MATT CHERRY
www.HumanistNetworkNews.org
July 13, 2005

Lines are being drawn in the freethought community. On one side, Larry Darby of the Atheist Law Center says, "What the community of reason needs is some lessons on principles forged during the Enlightenment, such as free expression of ideas." But another Alabama freethinker, Ford Vox, says "Darby has finally crossed the line of civil discourse."

The row is over a July 6 meeting held by the Atheist Law Center in Prattville, Ala., which featured one of the world's most notorious Holocaust-deniers, David Irving. According to the Deep South Jewish Voice, about a dozen people attended the meeting.

In publicizing Irving's speech, an Atheist Law Center media release stated that "Darby, president of the Center, urges citizens concerned about the steady erosion of liberties in the U.S. to come hear of Irving's experiences in challenging popular history of the NAZI era and the Western world's taboos regarding what has grown into the holocaust industry."

...

I know where I draw the line. I defend Larry Darby's legal right to promote Holocaust deniers and anti-semites, but he has earned my contempt for doing so.

Matt Cherry is the executive director of the Institute for Humanist Studies. He also serves as the president of the NGO Committee on Freedom of Religion or Belief at the United Nations in New York. He is the author of Introduction to Humanism at the Continuum of Humanist Education, the online school of the Institute for Humanist Studies. www.HumanistEducation.com




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