Atheism as a cover for racism

“I don’t much care if people think I’m thick because I believe in God. But what’s really nasty here – and it’s a part of a growing phenomenon – is the way religion is being used as a subtle code for race.

“Belief in God is alive and well in Africa and in the Middle East and declining in western Europe. Writing about the intelligence of religious believers has, for some, become a roundabout way of commenting on the intelligence of those with darker skins whilst seeking to avoid the charge of racism. Religion is being used with a nod and a wink, cover for some rather dodgy and dangerous politics.

“The BNP, for example, has started using religion as a category of racial designation so as to deflect charges of racism. For instance, they seek to defend something called ‘Christian Britain’. But what they really mean is ‘no Muslims’ – and that really means ‘no Asians’. The fact that these categories are not in any way equivalent does not detract from the message the BNP is sending by using them in the way they do….

“The debate between believers and non-believers – a debate that gets terribly hot on this site sometimes – is not made any more civil by the addition of this unpleasant inflection. Which is why believers and unbelievers (even those who think people like me are idiotic enough to have given their life to the great flying spaghetti monster) ought to unite against this way of thinking about our differences. ”

Giles Fraser at Comment is Free, 12 June 2008