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Internet Black-Out, Atheist Shame

Yesterday as you know doubt are aware, much of the internet either completely went “black” or put up information about stopping SOPA & PIPA, two bills which are currently being pushed in the House and the Senate that would limit the internet and effectively censor information.

Free Speech is kinda my thing. In 2004 and 2005, I personally went down to DC and lobbied several Senators on behalf of myself, against the Broadcast Decency Act. The bill passed both times with 99 Senators supporting it. The first time however, then-President Bush forgot to sign it. But he did sign it into law in 2005. That bill came in the aftermath of Janet Jackson’s half-second “wardrobe malfunction” and raised the fines of broadcasters who air “indecency” to absurd levels. This would shut down small radio stations if they got fined. But worse, the law created an atmosphere of fear and over censorship by station owners.

So yesterday, Dangerous Talk was quick to join the black-out strike against SOPA & PIPA and any other pieces of legislation that would or could censor the internet in any way. I was disappointed however, that many other atheist websites did not feel so moved to support the strike.

Atheists depend on the internet for many reasons. For one thing, it has become a place where we can go and be open about our lack of belief. It is also a place we can go to find other atheists, freethinkers, and humanists. But most importantly, the internet is a place where religions die. Freedom of information is the strongest weapon atheists have against religion. So one would think with so much at stake, that the atheist community online would be the first to lend their voice to support a strike aimed to call attention to SOPA & PIPA.

While I was initially disappointed that Google didn’t go entirely black yesterday and shut down their search engine, at least they and many other sites took part in the strike by calling attention to the issue and putting a link right up front so that people can learn what they can do and who to contact. Some atheist websites did this. Kudos goes out to Freethoughtblogs, AtheistNexus, ThinkAtheist, and many others for taking part in this strike in that way.

Most of the major atheist organizations did not take part in the strike and that is disappointing. American Humanist Association is one of the few that did take part and kudos to them. I sent a message to Hemant of the Friendly Atheist blog asking him to take part in the strike and he said no. That’s his choice, but it was disappointing.

As it stands now, it is very likely that SOPA & PIPA will be defeated. But just a few days ago that was not the case. The bills enjoyed massive bipartisan support. This of course has more to do with the fact that lobbyists run our country and the entertainment industry really wants to stop online piracy. It was only because of the threats made by large websites like Google, Wikipedea, Facebook, and Reddit combined with the public outrage shifted the tide of this fight. Most news outlets didn’t cover the problems with these two laws until the threat of the blackout began to look like a reality.

The blackout is over, but your support is still important. You should still contact your representatives in the House and the Senate and let them know you stand against any attempt to “put regulations” on the internet. Republicans hate “regulations” so that is the term to use. If you have a few extra minutes, find your representative’s home address and write them there too. Occupy their house!

For more information of SOPA & PIPA, check out: http://americancensorship.org/

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  • downtowndave3

    You can’t make “religion, or the Word of God” die. Jesus said heaven and earth would pass away, but His Words would never die. The atheist movement today are not the first to try this. http://atheistlegitimacy.blogspot.com/

    • http://twitter.com/DangerousTalk Staks Rosch

      Blah, blah, blah. This is your second warning btw.

  • http://www.atheistrev.com vjack

    I participated and blacked out Atheist Revolution for a few reasons. Of course, I oppose SOPA and PIPA for what they would do to the Internet as a whole. But I also found myself thinking that atheist blogs and websites would be particularly vulnerable given the degree to which we are despised and the number of people who would like us to disappear.