Self-identified "atheist rapper" Charlie Check’m is relatively new on the scene. I was first introduced to him through a few self-promoting e-mails he sent in February announcing a "Hot New Atheist Performer":
Hi, I’m informing you about a hot new Atheist rapper who has music that has the potential to crossover to the mainstream media…This is a Good way to turn Atheists views into "cool" views.
I’m informing you because if you know of any Atheist friendly radio shows, tv shows, magazines, newsletters, or ect. I would like to be a guess and tell a story and have a few songs played or even perform if it’s a tv show or if it’s magazines or newletters, I would like an article about the music.
…I need as much as support I can get from Atheist organizations. The purpose of my music is to promote Atheist views and improve the image of Atheists
I did a quick YouTube search and found the song "Roll with an Atheist"—it sounded like interesting stuff, not as skilled as some music out there, but decent nonetheless. I sent a friend request on Facebook to stay on top of news.
That’s all I thought about it, until last week. At some point I saw an update from Charlie on my Facebook wall that said,
Advantages of being homophobic: Befriending faggots is possibly inviting uninvited come ons. Homophobia scares off dykes and faggots. Some dykes and faggots prey on straight people. Gay friendly straight people are homos main targets. Why invite uninvited come ons?
Huh, I thought. Maybe I read that wrong.
But a couple of days later, I saw another status update from Charlie: "new song "NO GAY MARRIAGE"".
That’s when I decided a little more investigation might prove worthwhile.
Well, I checked out his main website and listened to a few song snippets. Besides the aforementioned song titled "No Gay Marriage" (which begins with the lines "Something’s wrong with your brain, why won’t you just admit that something’s wrong with your brain…"), there are songs called "Christian and a Homo" and "Dyke Chick". I won’t go into detail at the moment about my opinion of the viewpoint expressed in these songs. Let’s say for now that I strongly disagree with the message.
But now I was faced with a dilemma. Should I defriend Charlie on Facebook, since I didn’t want it to be implied that I support his views in any way, or should I maintain the weak Facebook relationship we have because it’s at least worthwhile to keep tabs on his postings? I decided to throw the question out publicly to my Facebook friends along with a link to Charlie’s site.
The response was quick and passionate. This one sums up the views pretty well: "Wow. I would drop-kick this clown off my list so fast….."
One person alerted me to the fact that Charlie Check’m had already been banned from the social networking site Atheist Nexus , "[not] for his views (as atrocious as they are) but rather for the hateful way in which they were expressed and related troll-like behavior." (More on this below.)
That could’ve been the end of it, but I hadn’t yet defriended Charlie on Facebook. And at some point he decided to chime in with a response to the comments:
I’m bored so I think Ill just fuck with you faggots for a while. Homophobia scares off faggots and dykes which is a good thing. It doesnt matter if I’m really a homophobe or not. What’s important is that faggots and dykes think I am. I don’t want to worry about a faggot pretending to be my friend when he secretely just wants to suck my dick. I want to make sure my friends are TRUE friends and not horney ass faggots. It’s simply inappropriate…I just don’t have much in common with faggots. Faggots think about sticking their dicks in men shit holes and I think about sexy women. I talk about women a lot and I know faggots wouldn’t be interested in that.
A later comment:
but I can appeal to lots of Christians who are smart enough to know a MALE IS SUPPOSE TO HAVE A MALE’S BRAIN. So you faggot and dyke atheists are suppose to be smart but you don’t even know that penises and shit holes don’t go together…Now that’s some nasty ass shit. So Pro-faggot Atheists can see that God believers are delusional but they can’t see a dyke bitch is crazy when a dyke bitch claims to not like men but finds a woman who DRESSES LIKE A MAN, TALKS LIKE A MAN, WALKS LIKE A MAN, EVEN WEARS A FUCKIN STRAPPED ON FAKE DICK TO TRY AND TO BE A MAN. I’m a strong Atheist and dykes and faggots are crazier than God believers.
I’ll spare you the further comments.
I mentioned that Charlie had been banned from Atheist Nexus already. According to an article on examiner.com , he had also been invited to perform at an Atheist Nexus-sponsored "Live Dance Party" at the Atheist Alliance International convention in October, but the invitation to perform was revoked. The article reports Brother Richard of Atheist Nexus saying, "While he is free to hold whatever views he chooses, he cannot represent Nexus in any form…While most of his statements were simply ignorant and prejudiced, there were a few that were clearly bigoted and hateful. Even when others tried to show him the error of his ways, he ignored their points and became even more repugnant."
That same article says that Charlie responded on MySpace with the following:
I’m an Atheist rapper/activist. The pro-gay Atheist members at Atheist Nexus know this and they KNOW my music is good for Atheists and they KNOW I fight for Atheist BUT THEY DON’T CARE. If they don’t care about the fight for Atheists, they don’t care about atheism. They only care about their gay agenda.
Which brings me to the question I asked at the start: Should atheists, and those involved in the "atheist movement" (which overlaps the humanist, skeptic, freethought, etc. movements), be concerned if an avowed advocate for atheism expresses such views? Should atheist organizations withhold support, and individual atheists who disagree turn their backs?
Another question: If someone does not rely on tradition or religious authority to form ethical views, are there any good reasons (besides "I find it yucky") to be so virulently homophobic?
I will also follow up on these issues in a future post. I have pretty strong opinions on this, but I am also curious to see what the readers of this blog think.
(Disclaimer: These are, of course, my own views; they do not necessarily represent the views of the Center for Inquiry nor of its affiliated organizations.)