So, there’s this discussion forum I’ve been frequenting for about a decade. It’s run by Calvinist, fundamentalist Christians. I started posting there when I first got really interested in evolution, and more recently (having gotten kind of burned out on debating that), I’ve been debating in their political board.
Just yesterday, they decided that all atheists, agnostics and secular humanists would be banned from all their boards except 2 — the one on atheism and the one on evolution. They’ve since created sub-forums on politics and other topics where atheists often post, but their main politics board is atheist-free (except for those who haven’t been caught yet).
The most interesting part is, one of the top board moderators posted a message asking all non-theists to identify themselves, so they could be properly labeled.
Now, to make a direct comparison between something that happened to me on an Internet forum and what happened to Jews in Nazi Germany’s early days, or during other periods where they were herded into ghettos, would be ludicrously insensitive — I’m tempted to say it would be beyond the pale, but that would be ludicrously insensitve as well.
But on some level, it’s the same sort of thing, the same sort of treatment, where people are not only being stigmatized but told to assist those who are stigmatizing them. It’s definitely a weird feeling, and one I’m trying to explore and cultivate in order to increase my understanding of other people who have been marginalized or disenfranchised or maybe just ignored (and I’ll have a bit more on that in my next post).
(image via JewishGen)