Beware Your Bedfellows
Back when I first joined Facebook in 1953 or whatever, I just added anyone who asked to be my friend. At the time, I saw Facebook as an easy opportunity for marketing Skepchick and The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe; a way for fans to hear what was going on and say hi.
When I hit 5,000 friends a few years ago, Facebook prevented me from adding anyone else, so I stopped and only added people I knew in real life whenever someone got defriended for randomly posting racist, sexist, or homophobic things on my wall. It’s only been recently that I’ve started actually looking at my friend feed, which is now full of thousands of people’s status updates and comments, and most of those people are relative strangers to me. Still, I’m shocked at how often these people are idiots.
For instance, this guy:
This guy, who has been lurking as one of my Facebook friends for several years now and who is, according to his profile, a grown-ass married man, has linked to a website where visitors are encouraged to virtually burn a Quran “to raise awareness about increased islamization of the world, and to defend freedom of expression for all people.”
If you have at least part of a working human brain at your disposal and you’ve not been living in a cave the past several decades, you already know how stupid and counterproductive this is. You already know that burning books is the legendary method by which freedom of expression is impinged, and you also already know that the most famous case of Quran-burning was when fundamentalist Christian bigot Terry Jones first threatened to do so in 2010 and then actually did so the following year. Angry Islamists responded in both cases, by murdering a total of 50 people and injuring hundreds more. Apparently, at least one atheist then thought, “I need to get in on that!”
But that aside, if you take a second to look at the rest of the page, you’ll soon find a widget counting down to when Obama is out of office, just under one that counts how many Islamic terror attacks have occurred since September 11, not too far under a poll asking whether or not Obama is secretly Muslim (57% of visitors say yes).
None of this fazes the Facebook guy because, as he says, “there’s nothing wrong with being against Islam.”
This is the sort of ignorance that makes it difficult for humanists and secularists to effectively fight Islamism. Keeping all religions out of government and protecting people from dangerous ideologies is important, but not important enough that we need to team up with bigots to get it done. I have no doubt in my mind that this person would never support a fundamentalist Muslim who was mocking fundamentalist Christianity, let alone a Muslim who was using the imagery of censorship to do it.
It matters who you team up with. Someone who thinks Obama is a Muslim isn’t necessarily wrong about everything, but that fact should raise red flags. For instance, it immediately tells us that the person is a racist idiot with some views that should definitely not be promoted by rational people. If I visited a website about strawberry shortcake recipes and it included a page on why all Mexicans are lazy, I wouldn’t post it to my Pinterest and when called out on it respond, “There’s nothing wrong with strawberry shortcake.” And seriously, I fucking love me some strawberry shortcake.
Oh and by the way, I do have a Facebook page that anyone can follow. Even racist shitheads, so long as they never, ever, ever post anything.