Pemerson
 
  1  
Reply Tue 2 Mar, 2010 10:21 am
Found the following on the Internat regarding an article I noticed in our local newspaper, Austin-American Statesman on Thurs., Feb. 25., which I reported to this forum. The headling read:
OBAMA AIDES TO MEET WITH ATHEISTS ON WHITE HOUSE GROUNDS " As it read, "His administration will host a group....... of America's nonbelievers...."

The president isn't expected to make an appearance at the meeting with the Secular Coalition for America or to unveil any new policy as a result of it.

Instead, several administration officials will sit down quietly for a morning meeting at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House campus with about 60 workhorses from the coalition's 10 member groups. including the American Atheists and the Council for Secular Humanism. Tina Tchen, the director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, and representative from the Justice and Health and Human Services departments will participate.

Coalition leaders are billing their visit as an important meeting between a presidential administration and the "nontheist" community. On the agenda are three policy areas: child medical neglect, military proselytizing and faith-based initiatives.

"We're raising important issues that affect real people's lives," said Sean Faircloth, 49, a former Maine state legislator who's the coalition's executive director.

White House apokesman Shin Inouye downplayed the meeting, saying only that Tchen's office "regularly meets with a wide range of organizations and individuals on a diverse set of issues."

The coalition's board includes such controversy magnets as authors Salman Rushdie (The Stanic Verses) and Christopher Hitchens ("God is NOT Great") as well as Michael Newdow, the Sacremento, CA doctor who argued against allowing the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance before the Supreme Court, but didn't prevail. S. Carolina activist Herb Silverman founded the coalition in 2002. It's had a Washington office and a lobbiest since 2005.

Coalition members plan to use Friday's meeting to advocate closing federal loopholes in the law that governs medical neglect.They say that officials in any state should be able to remove sick children who need medical treatment from homes in which parents believe in faith healing as easily as they could intervens on behalf of other children.

the remainder of the article can be read at:
http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2010/02/25/88475/obama-aides-to-meet-with-atheists.html
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 2 Mar, 2010 02:05 pm
@Setanta,
You are possibly right, setanta. I don't look for things to change much because of it (ascendancy of atheism).

Edit: except there would be less fighting over school science curriculum.
0 Replies
 
aidan
 
  0  
Reply Tue 2 Mar, 2010 02:14 pm
@spendius,
Quote:
"Blowin' in a circle round my skull,
From the Grand Coulee Dam to the Capitol"


You do know that that's Dylan's most negative song ever- and I'm a Dylan scholar so I know of which I speak. That doesn't represent Dylan -he's a believer who was having a bad day that day.

Don't be guilty of painting everything as negatively as it can positively be painted. That's all I would advise.

That'd be just as bad as the nonbelievers painting all believers as incoherent fundamentalists.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 2 Mar, 2010 02:32 pm
Here recently, posts by atheists seem to be outnumbered by antagonists . . .
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  2  
Reply Tue 2 Mar, 2010 02:45 pm
I will dialog with believers - So long as they are not of the nutjob variety. As for using Bob Dylan to prove a point here, I have a copy of every studio album he released. Went to my first Dylan concert in Long Beach, CA, in 1964. Last time, a few years back, at the Houston rodeo. I love the overall body of his work, most of which I can recite by memory. But he is not an authority and I don't have to consider his words in these discussions.
aidan
 
  0  
Reply Tue 2 Mar, 2010 02:46 pm
@edgarblythe,
Of course you don't. I just respect him enough that I don't want him quoted out of context.
edgarblythe
 
  2  
Reply Tue 2 Mar, 2010 02:48 pm
@aidan,
I avoid that by avoiding spendi.
aidan
 
  0  
Reply Tue 2 Mar, 2010 02:52 pm
@edgarblythe,
I just don't know that of which you speak.
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Tue 2 Mar, 2010 04:05 pm
@Pemerson,
Pemerson wrote:
Found the following on the Internat regarding an article I noticed in our local newspaper

It's interesting that Obama's administration (but not Obama himself) meets with Atheists. But one thing I'm not sure about is, are you making any particular point that this article supports or contradicts? If so, I have trouble seeing it. Could you please expand on it?
spendius
 
  -1  
Reply Tue 2 Mar, 2010 04:29 pm
@aidan,
Quote:
You do know that that's Dylan's most negative song ever-


I don't think it's a negative song at all. On the contrary.

It starts "I can't help it if I'm lucky."

Maybe I should link that wonderful Hard Rain version off U Tube.

What do you think Rebecca? Do you think I should.
aidan
 
  -1  
Reply Tue 2 Mar, 2010 04:37 pm
@spendius,
I always think everyone should.
But that's just me.

0 Replies
 
littlek
 
  1  
Reply Tue 2 Mar, 2010 05:08 pm
@Pemerson,
Pemerson - interesting. What exactly do you think the White House's message is? Something like: We sort of accept that you're out there and have some legitimate issues, maybe. But, you'd be toxic for the president to meet with, so you're stuck with us lowly admin officials. But, it's really nice, or at least sort of ok, to have you.
spendius
 
  1  
Reply Tue 2 Mar, 2010 05:36 pm
@littlek,
Well Kay--it gets the 3 to 7% atheists on board, which the other side can't do, at a very cheap rate and with not a great deal of inconvenience.

No serious politician is going to fail to arrange a matter as obvious as that.

A long shot being better than no chance.

The other 93 to 97 % are where it gets more serious.
0 Replies
 
Pemerson
 
  1  
Reply Tue 2 Mar, 2010 05:52 pm
@Thomas,
The athiests I know, and those here, don't seem to want to be accused of being part of a group, or of having meetings as such. Yet, at the same time I think, from what I read here, that they do want to be heard. They want to see changes made, as the coalition indicated. How does someone bring about changes in our government except by joining forces?

Obama speaks loudly about hearing everybody's opinions. He is making a move to hear some who have not been heard at this level, as a group.

This is a good thing, no?

edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 2 Mar, 2010 05:53 pm
@Pemerson,
How do we be a group? The only thing to connect us is lack of faith.
spendius
 
  1  
Reply Tue 2 Mar, 2010 05:55 pm
@Pemerson,
Of course it is a good thing. Every minority faction should be heard no matter how electorally irrelevant it is.
0 Replies
 
Pemerson
 
  1  
Reply Tue 2 Mar, 2010 06:20 pm
@littlek,
I think Obama is being clever by sending administration officials rather than attend this meeting himself just to get some idea of the opinions of nonthiests (secularists?) prior to speaking with them himself. He could benefit from the opinions of his advisers too and it wouldn't hurt to see the public's reaction. I don't see why taking this step would be toxic to Obama. He's just being cautious.

Littlek, do you think "nontheist" is a better sounding word? "Atheist" has a negative conotation, an accusatory tone. Just asking.
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Tue 2 Mar, 2010 06:24 pm
@Pemerson,
Pemerson wrote:
This is a good thing, no?

It's certainly progress -- even though it also matches a general pattern that frustrates me a bit about the Obama administration. They always seem to check what the reasonable policy would be, then look over their shoulder what George Bush would have done, and split the difference. But that's my personal political opinion. I'm definitely not speaking for all atheists here, and hope my remark isn't turning this into another Obama thread.

As to organizing into a group, I'm reluctant. I'm perfectly happy to write to my Congressman individually. My sense is that citizens do have some impact when they're doing this. But that's how far I'm comfortable going. I'm too much of an individualist to join political organizations, and I'm especially reluctant to join an atheist one. As littlek observed earlier, the only thing atheists seem to have in common is something they're not (believers in deities.) It's difficult to organize people around what they're not.
spendius
 
  1  
Reply Tue 2 Mar, 2010 06:24 pm
@Pemerson,
I can't imagine Mr Obama being interested in the opinions of nontheists which sounds really negative. He just wanted their votes at a very low cost.
Pemerson
 
  1  
Reply Tue 2 Mar, 2010 06:28 pm
@edgarblythe,
I don't think that's true, Ed, evangelistic religion has a grip on this country. They even want to teach their backward ideas in our public schools. Maybe they should, as I can't believe any kid would believe it. At least unless they are brainwashed, and teachers can't do that in public schools.
 

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