People will look around at all of this devastation that hit Gatlinburg, and say where are all the atheists and humanists. Where were they when all of these people needed help? No one sees any atheists and humanists there because in the south it is social, political, and financial suicide. We were all over the place. We were sending money, sending people, and sending supplies to support relief efforts.
What we weren’t doing is letting people know we were atheists. We have jobs and families we want to keep safe from the backlash of outing ourselves. Some atheists were likely among those that lost everything in the fires. But you will never know. You will never see. Because we must hide and pretend and play along with you thanking god, and sending prayers in lieu of actually helping.
However, it would be dishonest to say that there weren’t christians actually doing some good. And it is likely that mostly christians lost something in those fires. This is not the problem I see here. I see the problem with the atheists that had to bite their tongues when someone would thank god. The christian privilege is as suffocating as the smoke looming over the Smokey’s. Yet let one atheist tell those thanking god, that it is the humans in front of them they should thank, and the cries of persecution will pour out.
Sure I don’t advocate for overshadowing a good deed with explaining the, ” god’s not real thing”. But it really is hard to deal with. I also don’t want to latch on to this tragedy to say you should all thank the atheists for all of the relief efforts. The truth is over the years christians, and their multi-billion dollar, tax free enterprise has built up some impressive infrastructure. This allows them to send help much faster in these situations.
So what is my point here? It is that times like these remind me of how hard it is to be an atheist in places like this. The christians have such a place of high privilege here and will band together against anyone who dares challenge that. They are a monolith pretending to be a pebble, and it is overwhelming to think of what they will do with that impressive power when they are afraid.