That phrase about forgiving without forgetting ran through my mind a few times this past week. I'm not convinced that forgiving is always such a good idea. The incident that really pissed me off was the initial denial of Margaret Doughty's application for citizenship. If she did not meet the legitimate requirements that would have been appropriate but the denial was based on an incredibly bigoted and unconstitutional bias. Being both a pacifist and a very honest person she could not pledge to defend this country through violent means. She's not alone on this point. Many do claim "conscientious objector" status. They did not accept her claim because it was not based on religious doctrine. Basically, according to current rules, theists can make the claim but not atheists.
She has now been granted this status but the rule has not changed. Why should I or any other atheist forgive such ignorant discriminatory practices? Fuck that. I not only find it idiotic but also the height of hypocrisy and delusion. People really seem to believe that religion is a basic foundation of morality. I see it to be exactly the opposite. After all, if you can't figure out right from wrong without such a distant speculative external source of authority what does that really say about your values? To me it says those individuals are at best foolish sheep. I see my vlaues and morals as being stronger than any theists. I have no direct ulterior motive for doing what's right. There is no divine punishment or reward hanging over my head. Even some of the rationalizations I abide by are speculative. I do believe that by doing what's right more are likely to follow suite and eventually that will make a better society. Notice I do not automatically assume that what I want to work will and I do not expect it to happen at any given moment. Still, I do what I believe to be right.
And yet, people still seem to be shocked and upset when atheist speak out with any immediacy. The media loves to paint us as being angry by nature. Really?! How many theist don't lash out in anger when they are "offended"? Why should we respond vehemently when we are actually being demonized, harassed, and discriminated against on a regular basis?