I thank Gary Wechter for his response in the May 30 New Times (“A lesson to learn”) to my commentary (“Good News, bad news,” May 23) about the Good News Club, the religious group promoting its dogma in our public schools. However, he makes numerous logical errors in his critique. Space allows me to adequately address only some of them.
Mr. Wechter asks why atheists, if secure in their mission and goals, would have a problem with a group who has different goals. But the goals of some groups can do damage to the principles of our civil society and to public education, and should therefore be opposed. This is the case with the Good News Club, as I outlined in my piece.
Then, Mr. Wechter wonders why I criticize a religious group, instead of merely promoting the positive benefits of atheism. This suggestion is a common tactic used to deflect criticism, even if criticism is deserved. By encouraging a “positive” approach like promoting one’s own ideas, and rejecting a “negative” approach like criticizing others, we are offered a false choice of two options: choose one or the other. But we can choose both or either, as circumstances require. I am happy to promote the many positive benefits of atheism, as well as criticize religion when appropriate.
Furthermore, civil criticism is not a negative. No one is above criticism, and I welcome Mr. Wechter’s critique to my article as an opportunity to help our community better understand the issues surrounding the Good News Club.