I have begun looking into forming an atheist/freethinkers organization at my university. While I am very excited to begin, and I am also apprehensive. My best friend (also an atheist) strongly suggested that I DO NOT start a club, or even become the administrator of an atheist facebook group for my college, because it could be a potential source of job discrimination.
I know that employers often look at your facebook when considering whether to employ you, and if a religious/religiously affiliated boss finds out your are some sort of atheist ringleader, I'd imagine they would no longer want to hire you.
I think it would be wonderful to start an organization where the nonreligious community of my university could gather and discuss, but I may want to think carefully before I link my name officially to any atheist activity.
So I ask, do any of you think this kind of discrimination in hiring is a valid concern?
What would you do if you were in my shoes?
I'd say definitely go ahead with it, begin an organization. Since it seems your primary concern is facebook, just set your privacy so that only the friends you choose can see your organization. More than anything it'll probably be a good experience since you might encourage some atheists to come out of the closet and you'll be able to form a freethinking platform that can help fight against discrimination and irrationality at the level of undergraduates and beyond.
I can understand your concerns, especially in a country that demonizes Atheism. I also admire your enthusiasm to start up your organization. I guess it would boil down to who it was that is looking at your resume. I also recently had to make a similar decision. I have an online store that sells Leather Masks and although I don’t have facebook (too much drama) anymore, I do a lot of advertising on my Deviant Art Page. I was weary at first about posting my Tattoo on my page and also joining Atheist groups because I was concerned about it affecting my business, you know that whole "I’m not supportin no damn atheist, they are jus as bad as those damn Satan worshipers!" (Sorry I live in the south...and this is the attitude I see on a regular basis) But then I decided that I didn’t care anymore. Just tired of standing idly by and hiding who and what I really was when I shouldn’t because I’m not ashamed of anything. I haven’t seen an increase or decrease in sales since then. I guess what you have to ask yourself is do you feel that doing what you want to do will negatively affect your personal life, and if it will... is it worth denying yourself to gain what would under normal circumstances you would have access too. Every person and situation is different. Do you want to work at a place where you will be despised? Or pass it up for somewhere you will be happy. I also recently decided to not hide my Atheism at my job (over 600 people...most of which are christians) anymore. I don’t advertize that I think they all are full of shit, but if someone asks me I have no issues telling them what I think, life is too short to worry about other people you don’t even care about. But then again maybe I’m just a tad bit bitter for the first 17 years of my life being sheltered and wasted on religion lol.
Nate, that's rather inspirational, especially coming from a southerner. Being from the Northeast, I have a much easier time, and sometimes feel that my concerns are unwarranted. You make a good point about hiding yourself, and I'd have to say that I would rather endure the stress of active discrimination than the accumulated, long-term stress of constantly trying to hide myself.
I would just go ahead and do it. If a potential employer is going to practice unjust discrimination against me because of my lack of religious belief, then I would not want to work there in the first place. Why hide who I am for the sake of a job?
So, let those who would discriminate do so at the beginning because it helps to find a good employer where you do not have to worry about "being found out" and losing the job. Openly be who you are, not some cardboard cutout you think people want to see.