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.

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Trevor:

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.

Google Pasco County, FL and atheist and John Keifer or and EllenBeth Wachs.  You will find 2 local activists arrested and jailed for NOT BEING CHRISTIAN.  John had 3 charges against him that could have thrown him in prison for 2 years.  Ellenbeth was jailed in a freezing isolation cell for a week and deprived of her MS prescription medicine.  Yes, unless we get off our asses, the USA will be a confirmed christian theocracy.

well i still dont know what i really am yet but i know that atheist have a negative light on them, well at least that is what going on in good old Ohio. if you mention that some one became an atheist the look on ones face is that of disgust 

Xians who have a disgusted look - or are vehement and violent in their condemnation of Atheism are fearful - the light is shining on them - and they don't want to know any truth, other than god is looking after them, and that is a scary place for them to be.

It depends in what country you live in - Atheism in Australia and in U.K is no big deal - therefore no violence generally.

Fundamentalist Muslims are a different breed again, and in Australia were pushing for Sharia Law, which they practice surreptitiously is the next worry.

In politics in America, as long as you are religious, is all that matters - no matter what the behavior is behind the scenes.

And also keep in mind that Atheism is growing because of sites like this - more and more people are 'coming out' - and having conversation and support - xians are really scared of us :D

The more they are frightened, the more aggressive and defensive they become. 

Living in the U.S., I can tell you that atheists are the most mistrusted group there is. With religion being a dominate subject in politics, atheists would have a difficult time getting elected to a national public office. Not saying it couldn't happen only that it would be difficult if not impossible in some areas in the U.S. It goes back the misconception that atheists have no morals. Its bad enough we can't trust the religious in office, can you imagine what would happen if someone with no moral compass was elected..? The sky would fall and the earth would open up and swallow us.. (sarcasm) 

I myself haven't experienced discrimination.  People generally get to know me prior to discovering my atheism, and then it's hard to be hateful.  :o)  However, I refuse to reveal my atheism to anyone where I work.  I know how that goes: they start to look at you weird, and before you know it, the quirky things that once amused them and endeared you to them are now under suspicion due to your lack of love for Jesus underlying them, and you are out on your butt without a paycheck to support your family in no time at all simply because they are uncomfortable with you.  No, thanks. 

One would certainly think it's a crime of some sort to be an athiest (or, at times, even a non-christian) in the states, seeing our politicians and military men trip over each other to get as close to the foot of the cross as possible.  I have always though that Obama is probably a closeted athiest to some degree, but one certainly understands why he has to put forward a public face of Christianity, especially in his case, given the persistant, 'evidence-proof' rumors about his citizenship and religious/political leanings.  I believe we have one sitting congressman who is an open athiest, and he undoubtedly only 'came out' after gaining a strong incumbent advantage, and undoubtedly comes from a deeply progressive east cost district.  In this respect, as so many others, our national conversation has been dragged unspeakably far away from the reality of the majority of the citizens as the conservative party falls ever more under the influence of the religious right.  We had a serious presidential contender this year who, it seemed, would want to legislate homosexuality, infidelity, pornography, contraception and other aspects of American's sex lives to make sure we were staying right in line with God's wishes.  Fortunately, some smart man drained him of all credibility by google-bombing his name to redefine it as something rather heinous.  (Rick Santorum, if you'd like to find out for yourself)

So, while there's not yet any legal persecution of atheism in the states, there are certainly those would would wish it were so, and the national debate seems to have accepted a highly fundamental form of Christianity as the starting point for all discussions.  If a public figure were to suggest, say, removing references to God from the pledge or the currency, or if he were to suggest rescinding tax exemptions from churches that donate to political causes, it wouldn't even be taken seriously enough to raise the ire of most right-wingers here, except the extreme ones who are always on the lookout for 'yet another blow by the liberal, secular, east-coast extremists in the War on Religion', to keep the stew of uninformed, irrational fear brewing among the people.  I'm glad I can express my lack of faith without fear of violence or imprisonment, but there's certainly a form of persecution being perpetrated when the label 'athiest' is spoken with such vitriol as to rob the object of all credibility.  It would happen, on a grand scale, to a politician, but I get it too, in small doses, almost unfailingly in any situation where my beliefs come up.  My atheism automatically disqualifies me from having an opinion that can be taken seriously, for I am clearly a member of an extremist fringe.  Of course, there is a silent majority of atheists in this country, as, surely, in most countries, but they will not be heard from as long as our politicians, abetted by our media, continues to act as if everyone were an evangelical protestant. 

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