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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Thanks. I'm working on finding a new job.  Another company wants me as their designer and I'm just working out the details. The bosses at my current job are devout christians and I would rather avoid an awkward situation.

America, I presume... You know, I'm glad I live in Europe, I don't have to hide my atheism from anyone and if they don't like it... Fuck 'Em.

Europe is A LOT older than America. I'd like to believe it's only a matter of time (probably not in my life time) before we wake up to reality...


Atheists and the non-religious are an ever-increasing component of the American population and we are headed in the direction of the rest of the industrialized world in both doG and other gods becoming less and less of an influence and presence in American life.  England sent it criminals to Australia and its Puritans to America.  I've been convinced for a long time that the Aussies got the far better deal, and I wish I lived there or Denmark.  Unfortunately, I was born too long ago for the slowly advancing tide of the change to have much of an effect on my life. ;-(

I worked at a call center for a world-wide company and was branded the 'Jesus Hater' and 'Devil Worshiper' after simply stating that "everyone has a right to their own private beliefs" in response to being asked what church I attended.  Then I was further attacked for having a science degree, as they thought science was 'stupid and pointless'.  My co-workers could not understand why anyone would study it, which was also a daily topic of discussion.  Needless to say, I did not stick around long once the daily discrimination against my non-beliefs started as my co-workers were making me miserable.

No, but a bunch of Christian zealots organised themselves into getting me kicked out of Facebook by repeatedly reporting innocuous posts.

When I entered the job market, I was amazed that at least 3/4ths of my interviewers would ask about my religious affiliation, when that was supposedly illegal, and oddly enough I was never hired by anyone that asked me that question. One position I took, as an instructor at a nationally supported non-profit, (a friend hired me) was terminated shortly after the Administrator was told I was an Atheist. Once this administrator had told me I was going to hell, she never got closer than 10 feet to me.

And again... legal protections against this don't exist in (I presume) the US?

There are legal protections against this in the US.  If anything like this were to happen to me or my family, I would do something about it.  But not everyone can.  There are many times where you KNOW that your workplace mistreats you for your faith (or lack of), but you have no way to prove it.  There are also parts of the US where everyone including the lawyers and judges are born again Christians, and you may not have much of a chance with them.  :(

I know what you mean. At my current job, one of my bosses seems to get a kick out of harassing anyone that looks a little different. If they wear a cross or attend her church, then she treats them like actual human beings. She knew well enough not to directly ask anyone their religion, but she was definitely going out of her way to harass some of the employees and the only criteria that seemed to fit is that she assumed or knew their religious affiliation. In my daily interactions with others at work, some people would start trying to talk to me about their beliefs. When I'd say that I'm an atheist, the more vocal christians would take it as some kind of personal assault. The only way of avoiding the conversations without hostility seemed to be just to say I'm a taoist. It is as though other religious affiliations people can be ok with, but somehow in being an atheist they feel they have a say in my beliefs. I now where a Yin-Yang to avoid being included in any of their religious discussions. It is not a total lie though, as the taoist perception of existence seems to fit in pretty well with quantum theory and taoism as a whole is more about learning to ask the right questions then forcing a common creed.

Hi Dylan, I'm not familiar with taoism. Is it related in any way to Buddhism ?  I have always respected Buddhas dying words : "Doubt everything.  Find your own light".  Hang tough.  Make a joke out of religious beliefs when it comes up.  Ask them what would be their religious beliefs had they been born in the Middle East to Muslim parents.   Or in India to Hindu parents.  This works.  I have used this, & if they're honest, it will at least make them THINK !

There is a lot in common between Buddhism and Taoism, however as it was originally written Taoism does not expressly refer to any kind of reincarnation. In the oldest versions of the Tao Te Ching, the term 'heaven' is used but it is difficult to say whether it is referring to an afterlife or just the sky and the universe. Most of it speaks figuratively. It consists of many short verse poems, most of which are intended to be open to interpretation, with the intention of stimulating deep thought.


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