Dear Cardinal Dolan,
I understand that you recently shared some overflowing good will with the fellow citizens of your adopted home in the pages of the New York Daily News.
And I like to brag about the beauty and the virtue and the goodness that I see in the New York community.
I bristle and cringe when people who aren’t New Yorkers caricature New Yorkers as cold and unfriendly and rude and almost atheistic and pagan.
Well, with some of your fellow citizens, anyway.
The atheists that I know are, by and large, at least as warm, friendly, polite, and good-hearted as the Christians I know.
Except for the occasional defensiveness that understandably arises from being the most despised minority in America.
I encountered another example of this at church this weekend, when one of the general intercessions prayed for “atheistic tyrannies and secularist”… something, I forget what. Folks, “tyrannies” are evil whether atheist, Christian, or Yertle.
Ironically, the very next petition was that we might grow in love for our neighbors. I had to laugh. That commandment to “love your neighbor” doesn’t come with an exception for atheists.
Watch your language, folks! “Atheistic” is not a synonym for “evil” or “immoral” or “really really bad”. (Neither is Pagan, for that matter.) Don’t use it that way – it hurts real people when you do. People you are supposed to love.