by StuartJuly 2nd, 2011 3 Comments
Don’t often come across an article of this nature and so thought I’d post it here to see what you think:
Posted by Stuart James
Many of the millions of Americans who do not believe in the supernatural have had enough of being targeted by unremitting discrimination. I know this because of the telling reaction to a Washington Post opinion article I wrote last month.
After the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” it occurred to me that gays were making greater strides than atheists and agnostics in popular acceptance. Support for gay marriage is now at majority level. Houston, of all places, has a lesbian mayor. No one considers sexual orientation of guests entering the White House, yet it remains an event worthy of comment when the president remembers to note Americans of non-faith along with those of faith, The subtle bigotry begins in childhood, when atheist kids are asked to recite “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance or are unable to join Boy Scouts. If Jews or blacks were being excluded in the same ways, there would be indignation.
The bum deal American atheists have constantly received is extensively documented in “Atheists as Other” published in the journal American Sociological Review. American anti-atheism that sees the nonreligious as a dangerous foreign element dates to the early years of the republic, with Christians being the main perpetrators. Never mind that a number of founders, including crafters of the Declaration of Independence, were deists, or that the writers of the Constitution were careful to state that the power of the government derives from “We the people,” not “We the people under God.” And the Cold War did not help matters, causing many Americans to conclude that being ungodly meant somehow being in league with the atheistic commie Reds, while true-blue Americans (before blue meant liberal Democrat) were faith-based churchgoers.
But the history of the matter is moot. The “crime” that the nonpious are committing is nothing more than declining to believe in supernatural beings and forces that lack sufficient verification of their reality. There is no excuse for discrimination that is as under the radar as it is persistent. So I wrote an op-ed that, in the tradition of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr’s Letter From Birmingham Jail, would put the nation on notice by calling for the societal civil rights of Ameroatheists.