Pastor Mike Stahl of Miramar, Fla., proposed that the United States needs a new national registry. In much the same way sex offenders are recorded in a national registry available to the public, Stahl believes there should be a national atheist registry.
Atheists, identified for the public good
In the blog for his online Living Water Church, Mike Stahl explains why he thinks a national atheist registry is necessary. In his own words:
“Why do this, what’s the purpose? Duhhh, Mr. Atheist, for the same purpose many States put the names and photos of convicted sex offenders and other ex-felons on the I-Net — to INFORM the public!”
Stahl goes on to say that he and his family want the atheists out there to be exposed because he may know some of them without realizing it. To the concerned pastor, there’s a “danger” to atheism that can be remedied by proselytizing.
For informational purposes only
“We could begin to witness to them and warn them of the dangers of atheism,” writes Pastor Mike. “Or perhaps they are radical atheists, whose hearts are as hard as Pharaoh’s, in that case, if they are business owners, we would encourage all our Christian friends, as well as the various churches and their congregations NOT to patronize them as we would only be feeding Satan.”
Notice the contradiction. Stay away from them, but by all means, proselytize, perhaps via trained snow-white doves with messages of hope and faith fastened to their little legs.
Pastor Mike admits that he can’t conceive of a world where some oppose his registry idea, atheists included. New York Magazine suggests that perhaps atheists would be “too busy eating babies and having blood-soaked sex orgies to be bothered by meddlesome proselytizing,” however.
Nothing new under the non-denominational sun
The Friendly Atheist blog points out that evangelicals like Pastor Mike Stahl who associate atheists with Satan or Satanism are mistaken, as atheists believe in neither God nor Satan. By lumping atheists with the KKK or sex offenders, Mike Stahl is operating under the false assumption that atheists lack a form of conventional morality that contributes to the safety and well-being of humanity. Numerous studies suggest that religion holds no exclusive domain over morality and that it could very well spring from another source. Biologist Richard Dawkins speaks of the evolutionary basis for human morality: treating each other well facilitates the continuation of the species.
Mike Stahl may claim a national atheist registry would be for “informational purposes only,” and perhaps he’s right. If nothing else, it would inform free-thinking people of just how many people there still are who have nothing better to do with their time than to make useless and offensive lists.
One man’s opinion on Pastor Mike Stahl and the atheist registry
Broward-Palm Beach New Times: http://bit.ly/qYiA2m
Friendly Atheist: http://bit.ly/pDMDRR
Morality Without Religion: http://www.wjh.harvard.edu/~mnkylab/publications/recent/HauserSingerMoralRelig05.pdf
New York Magazine: http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2011/08/florida_pastor_asks_why_atheis.html
The Richard Dawkins Foundation: http://bit.ly/hzlzah
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