The controversy over the “glam goth” band Aiden being invited to play to a military audience at the atheist Rock Beyond Belief at Fort Bragg has seen comments on a wide variety of websites. In the tradition of “crowd-sourcing” solutions, one commenter came up with a unique idea to ameliorate the scandal: Richard Dawkins should ask that Aiden be removed from the lineup.
Much of the discussion seems to be centered on whether Aiden advocated burning churches, which isn’t at all the point. (As FoxNews and Commentary reported, Aiden did use such images in its video, but even Fox didn’t say that’s what they advocated.)
Instead, it is Aiden’s prevalent denigration of religion (and, in particular, Christianity) that is at issue. For example, Justin Griffith told FoxNews that Aiden wouldn’t be singing Hysteria, the song with the line “Love how they burn your synagogues.” He didn’t mention Crusifiction, which has the line “Christ died for sh-t and was a f—ing c–t.”
As has been said here repeatedly, atheists should be allowed to have their event, so long as they’re held to the same standard as everyone else — but that’s very evidently not what their supporters want. For example, Michael Weinstein is still doing a victory dance after General Boykin withdrew from the West Point National Prayer breakfast.
The basis for Weinstein’s giddiness is the apparent success of his accusation Boykin is a “vile Islamophobe” for his past criticisms of Islam. Weinstein notably ignores the fact performers and speakers scheduled for the atheist event have made similarly critical statements about religion or Christianity, presumably making them “vile Christophobes,” by his apparent definition.
Weinstein is not only a defender of Rock Beyond Belief, he’s also one of the speakers.
Weinstein opposes Christians but supports atheists essentially acting under the same principles of different ideologies. His lack of cognitive dissonance is astounding.
However, the internet being what it is, there are thousands of comments covering the gamut of the issue. Over at Uncommon Descent, an extremely long string of comments contained a unique suggestion:
Professor Dawkins, ret’d, clearly has some serious explaining to do, and should promptly cancel the band with explanation…he should soberly address the wave of unhinged hostility and now incitement that is associated with the new atheism movement that he is one of the leading spokesmen for.
Of course, Dawkins is the main attraction, not the event organizer, but that actually plays out perfectly. As the headlining speaker, he holds influence over the event. Should Richard Dawkins ask that Aiden be removed from the lineup, he comes out looking like the better man who is assuming the (moral?) high ground. He absolves the event organizer, Justin Griffith, of the difficulty of firing a group he sought or facing the more difficult position of being told to remove the band. Aiden gets to retain their position as the persecuted, eye-shadowed indie group, and they get more attention as a result.
It’s not a perfect solution, as the lineup would still have performers who were, by Weinstein’s apparent definition, “vile Christophobes,” but it is a gambit that could potentially be a PR win for Rock Beyond Belief.