It seems that Christians don’t want to believe that there is atheist bigotry in America. That’s an odd position to take, since at present, there is ONE openly atheist congressman. (Stark, from California.) If there was only one black congressman, would we not immediately jump on the bandwagon and call for an end to racial discrimination? (Non-believers outnumber blacks, by the way.)
Ask yourself this question: If you were to hear the statement: ”Blacks should be treated like trolls,” would you say that was bigotry?
“Making fun of them and mocking them”? Would that be ok if we were talking about Jews?
Here’s a great article by one of my favorite bloggers, Greta Christina, on the topic of anti-atheist sentiment in America. It discusses the hate campaign by Elizabeth Dole (Yes, THAT Elizabeth Dole) against an opponent who accepted money from a group of atheists. Read this excerpt, where Greta has substituted “Jew” for “Atheist” in the ad.
From the flyer:
“Liberal Kay Hagan flew to Boston to pocket campaign cash from leaders of the Jewish American PAC.”
“Jewish Americans Political Action Committee is a left-wing organization based in Washington, DC — dedicated to ‘Mobilizing America’s Jews for Political Activism.’”
“They actively support political candidates who are Jews.”
“And they want Kay Hagan in the U.S. Senate.”
“We can’t trust Kay Hagan to defend our North Carolina values.”
From the video:
“Kay Hagan attended a Massachusetts fundraiser hosted by a leader of the JEWISH AMERICANS PAC.”
“DaylightJudaism.org: ‘Kay Hagan out to be rewarded for inviting Jews onto her platform.’”
“And what’s THEIR platform?”
“And what does Kay Hagan have to say? ‘North Carolina deserves leadership that advocates on behalf of North Carolinians, every day, every week, every month, and every year.’ Apparently except when Jewish donors in Massachusetts invite you over.”
If there were a campaign flyer or video saying that? The candidate would be excoriated by the mainstream media, up one side and down the other. They’d either be distancing themselves from the people who made it so fast it would make your head spin… or they’d be resigning in disgrace. A resignation called upon, not only by every major news organization in the country, but by their own party. And rightly so.
But apparently, not so much with the atheists.
I think if you stop and think about some of the things you might have heard in church about atheists, you might be appalled if you substitute the name of a group it’s not ok to hate.
From a landmark study at the University of Minnesota in 2006:
Asked whether they would disapprove of a child’s wish to marry an atheist, 47.6 percent of those interviewed said yes. Asked the same question about Muslims and African-Americans, the yes responses fell to 33.5 percent and 27.2 percent, respectively. The yes responses for Asian-Americans, Hispanics, Jews and conservative Christians were 18.5 percent, 18.5 percent, 11.8 percent and 6.9 percent, respectively.
When asked which groups did not share their vision of American society, 39.5 percent of those interviewed mentioned atheists. Asked the same question about Muslims and homosexuals, the figures dropped to a slightly less depressing 26.3 percent and 22.6 percent, respectively. For Hispanics, Jews, Asian-Americans and African-Americans, they fell further to 7.6 percent, 7.4 percent, 7.0 percent and 4.6 percent, respectively.
The study contains other results, but these are sufficient to
underline its gist: Atheists are seen by many Americans (especially conservative Christians) as alien and are, in the words of sociologist Penny Edgell, the study’s lead researcher, “a glaring exception to the rule of increasing tolerance over the last 30 years.”
Harsh words, to be sure. Are you a Christian, and do you think you don’t discriminate against atheists? Let me ask you some questions:
- How many of your friends are openly atheist?
- Would you be happy if your child dated an atheist?
- Do you believe atheists could do a good job in Congress?
- Do you believe atheists are just as moral as you are?
- Do you think atheists are just as smart as you are?
Now… before you go on, re-read all of these questions and substitute the word “Black” for “atheist.” If you find that your answers change, ask yourself if perhaps you aren’t more bigoted towards atheists than blacks.
And before you justify your answers with theology, take yourself out of your own shoes for a minute. I’m not asking you to make a decision about whether or not we’re right or you’re right. I’m asking you a very simple, one-dimensional question. Are you bigoted towards atheists? The reasons are not important just yet. Just a yes or no answer.
If you have to admit that you are bigoted, try to put yourself in our shoes for a minute. Do you think we care that you believe you have good reasons for your bigotry? Do you think blacks cared that whites thought they were “inferior” biologically? Do you think women cared that men thought they weren’t capable of understanding politics well enough to vote intelligently?
If you’re tired of us yelling about how awful you are towards us, it might be a good first step to carefully examine your own house and see if there isn’t something to what we’re saying.
Don’t you think?