Screaming Into The Abyss

Dear Jon Stewart
By Ben Zvan
On August 16, 2011 at 09:07
Politics

An open letter to Jon Stewart and The Daily Show that they will probably never read AKA slacktivism extraordinaire.

Dear Jon Stewart,

I am a liberal and I love the way you mock hypocrisy even when that mocking is directed at the hypocrisy of other liberals. I am an atheist and I love the way you mock the hypocrisy of religion, even when that mocking is directed at the hypocrisy of others with no religion. I believe that it is a hallmark of liberals that we are able to see both sides of the debate and through that vision have come to side with the most correct side of the debate.

Recently, however, you mocked the American Atheists desire to be free from religious symbols at the September Eleventh Memorial in New York. This moves beyond the mocking of hypocrisy and into the mocking of what minorities already endure on a daily basis.

I agree that the American Atheists could have made their comments more sensitively and they could have avoided openly mocking religion in this context; that's really your job, not theirs. But I can't help but wonder why you are in favor of having a Christian symbol at a national memorial where Christians, Jews, atheists, Muslims and others were killed in a horrific, religiously-driven attack against the United States. In other contexts, you seem to be in favor of the First Amendment separation of church and state, why are you against it now?

 

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Atheists endure daily threats of death, violence, rape and vandalism simply because they don't believe in a god. They face daily reminders that the majority of the United States sees them as outsiders. You ask that atheists to 'just think of it as a metal t-shaped thingy.' That is akin to asking blacks in the south faced with the KKK standing on their front lawn to 'just think of them as campers making s'mores with that t-shaped burney thing' or to ask Jews to think of neo-nazi skinheads as 'just clean-shaven history buffs.'

I am happy that this cross currently rests at St. Peter's Church and hope that it will not be moved and included in any state-sponsored memorial or museum. Those i-beams may have been just a t-shaped thingy at one point, but once it has been raised on a concrete plinth and blessed by Christian leaders it becomes a cross, and that cross could only serve to make non-religious visitors to the memorial feel unwelcome.

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