I'm a christian living in the UK. Some people on here have intimated that atheists in the US are persecuted in some ways. I have no idea what this means, but would very interested to find out. So the questions is how? Its a genuine question, and i'm not looking for discussion on whether God exists etc, just the topic at hand. Thanks.
As almost any UK'er here will tell you, the UK has its own share of wackiness. If not related to atheism, then other things. The "loony left" for example, who back notions of political correctness that would curl your toenails.
Sadly, loony left notions are creeping into the US, especially in our educational system.
Political correctness has always irritated me. Like, if you can't say what you want, why bother with free speech?
It's not like that now, Olivia. The loony left were around in the 1980s. We can pretty much say and think what we like. The only people frowned upon are far-right racists and Islamic Jihad types. We still let them march and everything, but they are kept out of harm's way by the police. Actually, the left barely exist any more, everyone's gone "centre".
I hear of persecution all the time, but have not felt any.
I've been an Atheist since I was 16, and was agnostic for 3 years prior. I've always been open and honest with my lack of beliefs, and even my most fundie of friends don't think I'm any worse for it. I live in Northren KY in an area that is considered to be "Greater Cincinnati" (as in Cincinnati OH). Maybe I just get lucky and meet decent xians, or my area is more concerned with drama. Don't really care because my xian friends are always up for a good debate over a beer.
In certain other countries you can know people for decades and never even learn about their beliefs. They may be Christians, but religion just isn't really talked about in normal conversations.
I think atheists can be legally discriminated against in the U.S. because we have no laws recognizing us as a minority. If somebody refuses to sell a house to a black family, that's illegal. But -- unless I'm mistaken -- it's not illegal if it's an atheist family that is discriminated against.
Any lawyers here? What legal protections do atheists have?
The only law protecting us is the freedom of religion or lack of it, as far as I know.
But atheism is not a religion . . .
It is, however, a religious belief in the legal sense
Okay, Steve, I see no reason not to take your word for it . . .
It is, the Supreme Court made that point clear in Wallace v. Jaffree, 472 U.S. 38 (1985).
How about Jessica Ahlquist? Jessica is a courageous 17 year old high school student in Providence, R.I., - an atheist who objected to the unconstitutional posting of a Christian prayer in the school gymnasium. After some legal wrangling, the school was forced to remove it. The fallout has resulted in Jessica receiving numerous threats of injury and death to her and her family. THAT is persecution, not to mention a prime example of TRUE Christian love and charity.
Another high school student - a young man who was designated the school's valedictorian due to his exemplary academic record - was subsequently denied the right to deliver the customary valedictory at his graduation when it was discovered that he was an atheist. The school made it clear that atheism would not be tolerated at that school. Persecution? You tell me.
The Boy Scouts of America routinely expel members they discover to be atheists - even eagle scouts in some infamous cases.
Only ONE out of the 535 members of Congress is an avowed atheist. I assure you, that there are other atheists senators and representatives, but they are forced to hide it for fear of electoral persecution. Two of the recent candiates for the Republican nomination made it clear that if they gained the power to do so, they would exclude atheists from any participation in American life. They are called, "Dominionists."
Pharmacies and hospitals routinely deny services to people who do not share their religious beliefs.
School boards and state legislatures are busily passing laws to exclude the teaching of any science in their schools that does not conform to their Christian beliefs. As an atheist who believes science is vital to any modern society, I feel persecuted by these laws.
Perhaps most scary of all, there is widespread speculation that the 5 white, male, Catholic majority on the Supreme Court cannot wait to receive a case that will allow them to dismantle the constitutional separation of church and state. At that point, any student who refuses to pray to Jesus in schools will be vigorously persecuted.
I could provide you with MANY more examples, but I suspect that will be covered by others posting on this site.
There are atheists who feel persecuted by Jehovah's witnesses and/or Mormons on Saturday mornings. Not I. I persecute them first by politely pointing out that they are deluded idiots.