It's not often that I get into arguments with people, especially on the internet; I guess what I lack in frequency I make up for in intensity. I'm sure that this argument won't be terribly interesting to most people, but it dealt with parenting and atheism, which are two of my hot button issues so it was important to me. This is what happened:
We have been part of a secular parents group on meetup for the past three years. I found that I never visit the meetup page, so I made a super-private facebook group for the secular parents in our area to post pics, share stories, ask for advice, etc. We had a new guy join the facebook group last week after he attended the annual Easter potluck. Immediately after joining he asked why the group was set to private. I explained that a lot of our members are not open about their non-belief with their families or other friends, and that the privacy setting was in place to protect their private information. The conversation was initially polite, but began to devolve when the new guy, Adam, started telling people how they should parent their children. He is an out atheist and thinks that everyone else in the group should be too. While I am personally very vocal and open about my non-belief, I wouldn't presume to tell other parents how to approach that issue with their families. Everyone has a story and good reasons why they share or don't share their non-belief. Until you know those stories, making assumptions and judgements is uncalled for. So, I tried to be polite, saying that we just need to agree to disagree about it and move on. I could sense that a flame war was building and I didn't want that kind of negativity on a page dedicated to raising thoughtful, happy children in a secular way.
in authority also tend to go power mad. Although the power rush you
could get from being admin of a facebook group eludes me."
Dude, not cool. You are brand new to an established group. You have only attended one in-person event and you are already telling people that they are wrong. This misogynistic insult was enough to kick him out of the facebook group. A few people were upset by this thread and asked the meetup group organizer to boot him from that group too. She did, and his response was even better this time around: "you can go fuck yourself, ignorant slut". Yikes! Personally, I am glad that he's not in the group anymore. I wouldn't want to be around someone who is comfortable telling people off and insulting them in a parenting group.
I know that non-belief is a super wide spectrum and that everyone falls in a different place on it. Part of building a supportive community within this spectrum is respecting the way that other people approach the issue and not resorting to petty name calling & rudeness. Be nice. Such a simple tenet, but one that is so easily mislaid when religion and parenting are on the table.