Zachary Moore, a secular humanist in north Texas, is complaining that he’s being unfairly excluded from the Dallas Morning News’s “Texas Faith” group blog, which features panelists from a diverse number of religious groups (Christian and non-Christian), discussing issues from a perspective of faith. Look:
Moore points out that other religion blogs, such as On Faith at The Washington Post, include secular points of view. So for the last couple years, he’s been intermittently asking the Texas Faith moderators to include a secular person on the panel.
He started with Rod Dreher, who was a moderator on the blog back in 2008. “I talked with him and he explained to me that he thought that the Texas Faith blog was a place only for religious people to comment,” Moore says. “It was not really intended for any other perspectives and he didn’t think, and the other participants on the blog didn’t think, that somebody who was secular would have anything to say about this. I disagreed with him.”
Instead Dreher offered to interview with Moore and talk with him about the organizations he’s affiliated with. “That was nice, that was fine,” Moore says. “But he didn’t really follow up on the Texas Faith blog. He promised to bring it up with editors. I was waiting and waiting and waiting and then he left The News.”
Earlier this year, Moore says, “I got fed up and tried to contact the new editors.” He spoke with McKenzie, he says, “who seems like a nice guy, I’ve got no beef with him personally. But he basically told me the same thing.”
Moore started posting his opinion in the comments section the blog each week. “I was frustrated,” he says. “I thought, ‘I’ll go through the paces, and demonstrate to him that there are real responses that can be had from a secular humanist.’ For the past almost six months, every week I’ve been commenting.” He writes a 500- to 600-word response, “just to demonstrate to him that it is possible for a secular humanist to have something to say about these issues. I did that for months and months, then contacted him again. He said, ‘Well, it’s not up to me. We have to meet with the other participants and they have to vote. … That’s a little weird — that’s like asking a Texas heterosexual blog, would they vote to have a gay panelist?”
Well, yeah. I did bring it up with my colleagues back in the day, and the sentiment was pretty much along the lines of, “Why would someone who explicitly identifies as non-religious expect to be included in a blog devoted to religious perspectives?” And they were right. Nobody says that the secular humanists are bad or otherwise immoral people. It’s simply philosophically incoherent to include one on a religion blog. What kind of bizarro diversity sensibility would find it oppressive or at least strange that a blog for commentary by atheists would not feel compelled to give voice to religious believers’ perspectives?
Moore disagrees that agnostics and atheists aren’t being excluded. “We just want to part of the crowd,” he says.”We want to contribute to the community the same way all these churches do. When you say, ‘This is not a place for humanists to comment,’ it’s a slap in the face that really bugs me.”
Please. There is a Woody Allen joke somewhere in this sentiment. Maybe Moore thinks it’s unfairly exclusive that the swim team doesn’t have a unicyclist on the squad. Sometimes, you can open your mind up so much your brain falls out. Over to you, Vanderbilt.