This morning Gretta Vosper, the atheist United Church minister who is currently facing a church inquiry that may result in her being removed from the United Church ministerial, posted an article on her atheism. In the article, titled, “The reason I’m an atheist … in case you missed it,” Vosper presents the current inquiry against her as a form of persecution:
“In the last seventeen months, I have learned what the cost of the label atheist is, even here in Canada. My suitability as a minister was not questioned as long as the work I did fell into the realm of “sharing the good news” or preaching something most in liberal churches would call “the way of Jesus” – a work that focuses a community on the values of love, justice, compassion, and forgiveness. As a non-theist, I was no threat. As a theological non-realist, I was probably misunderstood. But as an atheist? How could that be tolerated?”
In response, I posted the following comment on her blog:
“While I appreciate your honesty in sharing your atheistic convictions, and I recognize that this must be a difficult time, the fact remains that you’re not being persecuted.
“Imagine if a representative of the Canadian Secular Alliance became persuaded of the need to apply Sharia law in society and then decided to become vocal in his new convictions. Would you think he was being persecuted if the Canadian Secular Alliance responded by removing him from being a representative of their organization? Of course not. By endorsing Sharia law this individual would have abandoned the very raison d’etre for the Canadian Secular Alliance.
“Since you’ve rejected theism have you not abandoned the very raison d’etre for Christianity? (To be sure, Christianity is far more than theism, but it at least includes theism.)
“I recognize that you disagree. For you theism is clearly an option. But others within your own church (to say nothing of the rest of Christendom) disagree with you, and one would think they’ve got a right to see that their church retains its historic commitment to theism, just as the Canadian Secular Alliance has the right to retain its historic commitment to secularism.”