On April 10, 2021, famous atheist and evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins wrote a controversial tweet comparing 2015 NAACP Chapter President Rachel Dolezal’s “identifying” as a black woman to transgenderism.
This of course sparked a major controversy, with the majority of freethinkers coming to his defense, and a minority of outspoken activists going after him. Sadly, some of these activists include those involved in the organized atheist movement.
In 2015, Rachel Dolezal, a white chapter president of NAACP, was vilified for identifying as Black. Some men choose to identify as women, and some women choose to identify as men. You will be vilified if you deny that they literally are what they identify as.
— Richard Dawkins (@RichardDawkins) April 10, 2021
In the years leading up to the division within the atheist community — and the resulting loss of influence for atheism — Dawkins was attacked by woke extremists and movement infiltrators. These attacks, once launched by mere bloggers, turned into condemnations and negative actions by large organizations. The latest attack is from the American Humanist Association Board of Directors with their decision in 2021 to withdraw the 1996 Humanist of the Year award, an award given to Dawkins himself. Additional attacks were recently published against Dawkins by other organizations, going down a path that will only lead to the continued decline of movement atheism.
In the early stages of Atheists for Liberty’s development, we chose to feature on our website an image of Richard Dawkins. Atheists for Liberty selected this photo out of respect for the atheist movement’s 2000’s and early 2010’s accomplishments, many of them due to Dawkins’s activism and bravery to speak out against dogma and superstition.
Revoking awards from 25 years ago and similar actions will only continue to halt the progression of atheist activism around the world and will make secularism look partisan, something that can and will harm decades of hard-earned work that many activists, including those in the American Humanist Association, contributed to.
Professor Dawkins’s tweets were not “bigotry” against those who identify as transgender nor anyone in any particular racial group. From the perspective of an open-minded individual such as Dawkins, he was merely questioning these topics from a rational, scientific perspective.
Atheists for Liberty stands in support of Richard Dawkins and the many millions of atheists who share his perspective.