The Spiritual Life of An Atheist

October 21, 2010

Spiritual Life Of An Atheist: Juan Williams Is Not A Bigot But. . . Or Fear Of A Sufi Nation

Sarcasm is actually a native dialect but in my blog I have very purposefully tried to keep a sincere tone.  Today, after a two-month hiatus due to having to work for a living, I return ironic in my indignance.  What is up with the Juan Williams apologists?

This is what Mr. Williams said: “I mean look, Bill, I’m not a bigot.  You know the kind of books I’ve written about the civil rights movement in this country.  But when I get on a plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried.  I get nervous.”

Actually, Mr. Williams, you are a bigot.  “Bigot”: a prejudiced person who is intolerant of any opinions differing from his own.  Synonyms include “chauvinist”.

What “garb” does a person wear that demonstrates “they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims”?  Does Juan Williams shrink from women in headscarves?  Men with long beards?  What particular shades of skin tone qualify?  I frequently see Sikhs around and wonder: Do people mistake them for Muslims?  Does Juan Williams? 

Is Juan Williams terrified of Sufis?  Does Rumi’s poetry keep him up at night?

What Mr. Williams might have meant to say was, “I mean look, Bill, we are all bigots.  Even me, with all the civil rights books I have written, have a visceral fear of the other.  When I get on a plane and see someone I perceive as Muslim, I get nervous.  We all have to work against these bigoted tendencies in ourselves and see the person, not our prejudice.”

Having written all those books about the civil rights movement, Mr. Williams needs to check himself.  He should be ashamed.

What he said is no different than if Tom Brokaw commented on the air, “I don’t know. When I see a young African-American with low-hanging pants at night, I can’t help but lock my car doors.”

Maybe as an atheist I have an advantage in that I disrespect all religions and respect all individuals equally.

My last point: When Bill O’Reilly–the non-fictional Archie Bunker of the 21st Century–is the first to come to your defense, you know you’ve done something really, really wrong.

copyright 2010 S. Anne Johnson


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