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Atheists and Persecution
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Via Andrew Sullivan comes this article about a new study: "Atheists identified as America's most distrusted minority, according to new U of M study".


Check this shit out:

From a telephone sampling of more than 2,000 households, university researchers found that Americans rate atheists below Muslims, recent immigrants, gays and lesbians and other minority groups in "sharing their vision of American society." Atheists are also the minority group most Americans are least willing to allow their children to marry.

Okay, so I sort of have an excuse for being 35 and never married. I call myself an agnostic, but I've had some people tell me I'm basically an atheist. I don't believe any current world religions are true, and I don't live as if there is a god. However, I think it's irrational to claim with certainty something that can't be validated, and since I am not able to travel to all corners of the universe, I don't make strong claims about ultimates.

But anyway, I identify with the group, and holy shit, we're lower than Muslims! Lower than gays! How you like them apples?

Edgell also argues that today's atheists play the role that Catholics, Jews and communists have played in the past—they offer a symbolic moral boundary to membership in American society. "It seems most Americans believe that diversity is fine, as long as every one shares a common 'core' of values that make them trustworthy—and in America, that 'core' has historically been religious," says Edgell. Many of the study's respondents associated atheism with an array of moral indiscretions ranging from criminal behavior to rampant materialism and cultural elitism.

Hmm...I wonder how many of these people actually know any atheists? Cause yeah, we're all criminal, materialistic elitists. Fuck.

And what's this crap about values? I'd like to think most of the core values I share with other Americans (including tolerance, you intolerant fuckers) are mostly secular: freedom of speech, freedom of religion, individual responsibility and individual liberties, democratic rule, truth, kindness, know, all that good shit. I suppose most people think you can't really value those things without religion.

Well, they're completely and utterly wrong.

Anyway, I don't have a persecution complex or anything...I'll deal with it. Right now a guy in Afghanistan is fighting for his life over his religious beliefs. I have an Egyptian friend who isn't a Muslim but doesn't say it opening even here, to other Muslims, much less to anyone in his own society.

I'd like to think that a country whose Bill of Rights headlines with freedom of religion, a country founded by people who fled religious persecution, would, you know, be a little more fucking tolerant. When it comes to nonbelievers, guess not.

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