Hello there!

My name is Cécile Cabanac. I’m a french journalist and I work for M6 TV channel which is one of the major television channel in France.

I would like to make a report about atheism and the United States of America.

In France, last few years, we have heard about George W Bush’s links with religion. We’ve been thinking sometimes that all american people were very religious, wich is not true for sure. French people have discovered last days that atheism exists in the United States and it’s been recognized by President Obama himself.

That’s why I would like to make a report to highlight what atheism means in America, and how it’s been hard sometimes for atheist to say their thoughts.

I would like to know if you can help me to contact people who have made their "unreligious coming out" last few years and who have suffer for it. I tkink it would be interesting to show that the consequences can be very important in family,neigbourghood or work. I need to follow three people with different routes. For example:One who has lost his job, one who has broken his links with family about his disbelief, and one who is accepted by his family but still misunderstood.

The questions I’d like to answer in this report are those :

What means atheism today? in america?

Is there mistrust about atheists in the States and why ?

What can be consequences about atheism coming out ? Do Atheist people loose their job when they say they don’t trust in any god ?

Are they some politicians who represent you ?

Do you think that president Barack Obama will change image of atheism in your country ?

Do you think in the future, State and religion can be separated ?

In a positive way, I would like to show that atheist people also form a big community. That’s why I would like to film the American Atheist Convention on April the 9th.

This report will start to be filmed on the very beginning of April to resume filming at the convention in Atlanta.

I’m sorry for my scholar english, I’m looking forward to hear from you.

Tags: Atheism, coming, out

Views: 23

Replies to This Discussion

What means atheism today? in america?
Perhaps in reaction to the last 8 years of conservative rule, I think a lot of non-religious Americans have felt empowered to assert their rights as citizens of a supposedly secular nation. Atheism has started to come out in a major way. People like myself have for years avoided identifying themselves as atheists because of the stigma attached to it. But now, because of the courageous writing and speaking of people like Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, and Daniel Dennet, people are feeling that there is powerful logic, reason and just plain common sense behind atheism.

Is there mistrust about atheists in the States and why ?
Yes, although most of it is based entirely on myths that have just never been questioned. You tend to hear the same notions and phrases parroted by people who probably don't know that there are many atheists among their friends and co-workers. Anti-atheistic sentiment varies depending on what part of the country you are studying. The higher the population of Christian fundamentalists or evangelicals, the more strident and militant the rhetoric. In more liberal areas like the Northeast, there is a much lower influence of these groups and consequently, atheism is much more accepted.

What can be consequences about atheism coming out ? Do Atheist people loose their job when they say they don’t trust in any god ?
Yes, although if brought to court, the atheist usually wins because it's a clear violation of the Constitution. In fact, a teacher in Texas was recently fired for being an atheist. His legal case is still under way, I think.

In fact, there are old laws on the books in 5 states that actually prohibit anyone from holding public office that does not believe in a deity. These are never applied anymore, because they are clearly unconstitutional, but yet they remain on the books.

Are they some politicians who represent you ? None on the national level that I know, although there may be.

Do you think that president Barack Obama will change image of atheism in your country ?
Indirectly, perhaps. As a religious man himself, I doubt he would ever come out and promote it, but all we really ask at this point is a seat at the table, and I'm certain he will provide that. For one of the first times ever, a President acknowledged "non-believers", which I took some comfort in.

Do you think in the future, State and religion can be separated ?
They actually are now, to a large extent, although the separation guaranteed by the First Amendment is under constant attack by the religious Right, who endeavor to turn the US into a Christian theocracy. So far, we have been able to keep Creationism out of science classes, vacate laws attempting to apply religious tests for voting or public office and keep prayer in churches, where it belongs, not in public schools.
Thank you everybody for answering those questions! you're helping me a lot!
I'm still looking for people motivated by this report and who would accept to be followed by a TV crew for almost two days! but my crew and I we're kind people, so, if some of you are shy, don't be afraid of it!
I'd just like to point out that, to balance the story, you should probably find someone who wasn't only affected negatively by coming out as an atheist. I'd hate to see this turn into a story that a believer could point to and say, "See, this just shows you why it's bad to be an atheist."

I'd also love to help but I haven't "come out" completely yet, so I don't have much to talk about, sadly!
Hello Mike,

The aim of my report is really not to say "See, this just shows you why it's bad to be an atheist." as you wrote.
I'll never say if it's good or bad to be an atheist, because it's not the problem. It's a question of freedom and democracy. I'm particularly interested in the case of that teacher in Texas fired because he was suspected to be an atheist!
It's crazy! I'm trying to contact this teacher, I hope He'll accept to be interviewed, and I'll never ask him if he's an atheist, he can say it if he decides to. My report wants to show that it's still hard to talk about atheism today. For some people it's a problem, and I just want to talk about it.
I would try to contact:

Dan Barker and/or Annie Laurie Gaylor from the Freedom From Religion Foundation - 1-608-256-8900 (9-5 CST)

Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United (for Separation of Church and State) - americansunited@au.org

American Atheists - (press only phone number) 1.732.648.9333
Thank you Pamelot for your advice, I'm going to contact those people!
I have a story, but it happened years ago. And it involves much more than religion and atheism. Message me, if you want to know more, it's a rather sensitive subject for me. So, I don't usually talk openly about it.


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