This piece has two sources.
Part 1: A friend and coworker put this as his Facebook Status:
FRIEND: In honor of coming out day, let's start ridiculing all the kids who choose to believe in god. The brainwashed religious zealots are the ones who are psychologically defective.
ANOTHER PERSON: I'm not sure that intolerance is the right answer to intolerance...
FRIEND'S RESPONSE: Well people are born gay but chose to blindly believe in an entity that doesn't exist.
YET ANOTHER PERSON: My faith is profoundly important to me. I'd appreciate it if you'd respect my faith / beliefs just as I respect yours. I have dear friends who are gay/lesbian. I don't judge them. That's not my place. But I would expect that they would not judge me for my beliefs / faith as well. Isn't this about mutual respect?
ME: Agreed. Blanket statements and judgments are bad when anyone does them, left or right...
FRIEND: I actually don't respect religious beliefs because religion is totally lacking in veracity. Religion is by its nature not falsifiable, is a constant moving target and should therefore have no place in the public sphere. The whole premise of religion is passing judgment on one group of people by another. That is in fact the history of just about every organized religion on the planet!
This friend is like me in many ways - Jewish, educated, intellectual - but he seems to pretty much be a bigot as well. How can the "enlightened left" be as prejudiced as the right-wingers they vilify? Isn't this just base intolerance? You can't pick and choose people you hate baselessly and then call the Tea Party racist. You've gotta walk the walk.
Part 2: Someone I know from school sadly passed away. Her family kept her Facebook page active so people could post condolences on it. One friend wrote:
Dear XXXX, I am so sad to hear that you have left us in this world. I know that you are in heaven know and am thankful that you were here with us blessing us with your light while you were here. You have been in my heart for a long time, and you will be so missed by so many who love you so much. I still remember all the beautiful music you brought me to at school and knew that I enjoyed so much. Thank you for blessing us with your presence. Lord have Mercy and Grace over XXXX and her family.In response, her mother wrote:
XXXX was a courageous atheist who held to her freedom of heart and mind through years of terrible suffering. Her grace under fire was a personal and human gift, and its memory is all that is left to me, her mother. I know you mean no harm, but my heart breaks as your bootless prayers trivialize her travail.
This is going to sound cold, but her mom sounds like a bitch. Or maybe just someone who casts dispersions / judgments for a living. I suppose I cannot understand what it's like to lose a child, but I also can't understand responding in anger to a person's genuine well-wishes, no matter how hurting you are.