Hi - I'm writing an article for the BBC News website on workplace discrimination against atheists. I have seen a few stories on this site about people who felt excluded by their co-workers or even lost their job after expressing their beliefs. I would like to talk to people who have been through such an experience. You can contact me directly - my email is brianwheelerbbc@gmail.com - or share your stories in this forum.

Brian Wheeler

BBC News, Washington


**Moderator's note: After our initial message of caution to all of you we've had an opportunity to confirm that Mr. Wheeler is indeed who he says he is. Knowing this, we'd like to encourage everyone to please share their stories of discrimination in the workplace with Mr. Wheeler. We shouldn't let the opportunity of a BBC News reporter telling the world the story of very real anti-atheist discrimination pass by! He is on a deadline so you must contact him as soon as you're able to.

(Anyone interested in confirming the legitimacy of this Moderator's note may contact Nelson either on TA or by email.)**

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Oh my dog Gordon!  How have you not been drummed out of the service for not liking hockey?  I don't watch any, never have, never will.


One of my wife of 30 years criteria for males of interest way back when was: doesn't watch hockey (growing up in rural Ontario with 2 tv stations, one tv, one father who worshipped hockey, especially the fights).  Also no smoking...good on both counts.



Down in Cincinnati, Ohio, it's all about the Reds baseball team and the Bengals football team(the laughing stock of the NFL!).  Gets old quick.  Sometimes I feel like I would be a better American if I could just give two hoots about football and baseball.  Lol.

At work I really haven’t been discriminated against mostly because I am not vocal about it.  There are a few people who know but they aren’t the gossiping type.  Truth be told no one has out right asked me "are you a christian?" but I have had a few hiccups.  To show you the type of people I work with, I run an online leather mask shop, nothing terribly outlandish but there are a lot of fantasy designs.  Some people at work saw my site and immediately labeled me a Satan worshiper... it was a fringe group so it really didn’t effect me, but it is typical for the South.  Just recently someone saw me reading The God Delusion on my lunch break (I was off by myself and they approached me), when he saw what I was reading this look of instant disgust and pity came over his face then recommended some author that refutes the book.  In my personal life I am a very outspoken atheist, and I will not hide it at work, but at the same time I'm not broadcasting it, the backlash I'm sure would be termination as they have fired others who just look different from cookie cutter bible belt theist.  Free country?  Yeah right.

Nate wrote:  Just recently someone saw me reading The God Delusion on my lunch break (I was off by myself and they approached me), when he saw what I was reading this look of instant disgust and pity came over his face then recommended some author that refutes the book. (end snippet)


@ Nate - You reminded me of something. This past summer I was invited to a family 4th of July day long outing that I was not up to. I don't do well in the heat. I thought if I could bring my Christopher Hitchens book and find a shady spot to read in, i might survive lol. I took the jacket off a fiction book and put it over the Hitchens book so no one would bust me. It worked like a charm. lol.

I'm in deepest, darkest, bible belt, Wise County (oxymoron) Texas.  I am known at the local Starbucks and Macdonalds for always having a book with me to read as I masticate and drink.  Most of the time it's a Hitchens book, or Dawkins or some related atheist book.  I take Hitchens' "The Portable Atheist" with me a lot and I'm entertained by some of the weird looks i get when some of the bible-pounders take notice of the title, fun and games among the dolts.

Are you sure you're not getting funny looks because of your choice of eatery? Damn, if I saw someone reading Hitchens in Starbucks or McDonalds, I'd give them a funny look... why is someone, obviously intelligent, eating in Starbucks or McDonalds? :-)

At Starbucks I have herbal tea and two of the small, overpriced cookies, and at Mickey-Ds I have decaf coffee and fresh oatmeal/raisin cookies that are incredibly delicious.  The other item I get occasionally is a biscuit to have with my coffee.  "Senior" coffee @ Mickey-Ds cost me 27-cents for a bottomless cup and three cookies are a buck, so for $1.35 with the Texas evangelist governor Perry's cut I can have all the coolies I should and all the coffee I want, which is usually two cups.  I have no other fare @ Mickey-Ds as if that's any business of yours.  Mostly I go to either establishment to allow these bible-believers to see there are Atheist living among them.  Occasionally I get challenged and then the fun begins.

Mind your own bucking fuisness and don't chastise me, or anyone for their choice of diet or from where they obtain it.

Ok, I'll chastise you for jumping off the handle and not reading the :-) at the end of my reply denoting wit/sarcasm/irony... remember, you're amongst friends here, not deepest, darkest, bible belt, Wise County.

Not a problem, chastisement received and noted.  ;-)

I can see that you're well anchored in reality... that's good. You're not one of those free floating agnostic types are you?


Ok, I'll stop now... ;-)

I'm a free-floating atheist having passed from an otherwise life-long status as a hyper agnostic until my family, missus, son & daughter dragged me along with them to a fully Pentecostal "Christian Fellowship" church; I gave them a year mostly out of curiosity.  That weird experience some 25-years ago resulted in my going with the "Big A" as my brother in law called it, I think he's a deist, and I've been a self-outed and very active atheist ever since.  Seeing the weird and bat-shit crazy stuff those folks do made me the non-believer I am today.  Erin Go Bragh!

I do this. I find that Terry Pratchett's hardcover dust covers are just the right size and width for The God Delusion. I call it the Pratchett Delusion:)


In other news - I work for a large corporation in South Africa. The working population is very Afrikaans and white. Not only are they a bunch of racist mofo's (the stereotypes of white SA'ns aren't untrue in some places), but this area is also predominantly Christian (old-school, very Calvinistic). I have a lift club with two brothers - the one puts on worship CDs in the car; the other switches over on the way home for the 6pm 'Godsdiens' ('God service') on the radio, which takes members of the listenership and gets them to read psalms and pray etc. I once tried to report an interesting comment I'd read about chaos theory (from one of Nelson's Sunday School links.. but that is besides the point), and Brother #1 thought it sounded too much like evolutionary theory, and went on a 10 min rant about evolution and how it's a crock.

In my department, the secretary had a small statue of Buddha in her office, which she had been given as a present. The CEO (our co. employs over 1500 ppl) got wind of it and told her to remove it as it is against 'company policy'.

I am very quiet about my worldview - I wish it never to come out as long as I work here, and I'm very scared of the idea. Brother #2 has starting trying to engage me with one liner conversation intros after the Godsdiens has finished, which I have so far successfully diverted. I have no idea how I plan to handle it if the question ever comes up directly. I do not pretend to not know the Bible, so that I think is an adequate decoy at the moment.

I am also typing this at work, waiting for the brothers to decide it's home time (they leave anywhere between 1 - 1.5 hours after the official end of the work day), Alt+Tab'ing like mad whenever someone walks down the corridor, as this is the ONE site you do not want to get caught on.


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