Letter to the Editor

Student Contributer

To the Editor,

In regard to the article “Pamphlet Guys” (Issue 5, p. 8):  I get that it’s on the opinion page, and I believe that everybody is entitled to his or her own opinion.  However, I take great offense at the inclusion of a piece that dedicates one third of its content to bashing peoples’ personal beliefs.

Though I find the author’s assessment of atheism to be misguided, especially when every condemnation of the “atheist avenger” he presents also applies to the so-called “religious crusaders,” this is not what I take most offense with. He is entitled to his opinion, and I am not writing to debate religious beliefs. My problem is that something so blatantly inflammatory was validated with publication. I certainly agree that pamphlet guys are irritating, as I don’t like being preached to any more than the next person. However, the article’s presentation of the “avenger” goes beyond how annoying pamphlet people are and escalates to a condemnation of atheism.

Perhaps it doesn’t seem like a big deal, as atheism may (or may not, I don’t know) be a prevalent view on the Whitman campus. My concerns may seem like the view of the majority trying to defend itself.  Regardless, whomever the language is directed towards, the sort of language present borders on hate speech. If the same or comparable words were printed about a religious tradition, we’d probably have another symposium or campus backlash on our hands. As such, I am confused as to why it is suddenly OK to print stuff along the lines of “[the atheist] drag[s] people kicking and screaming from the safety of their faith” for “condescending” self-gratification. Present here is a gross double standard about what types of personal viewpoints should be protected and which are fair game to attack.

Overall, I believe that publishing this article shows a great deal of poor judgment. Differing viewpoints are great, but at what point does one guy’s opinion become outright bashing?

– Ian Gill ’11