Saturday, July 29, 2006

Being an atheist in America

Crossposted at Daily Kos

This is going to be a quick post, because I need to get to my Saturday morning water aerobics class, but I wanted to at least start this discussion. I'll have time for some reflections of my own in the comments a little later. But since I am attending this event this afternoon, I wanted to bring up the topic early in the day, in case someone posts something that would be good to bring up at this afternoon's event.

Humanist leader to speak here

"We feel now more than ever there’s a need to assert ourselves to stop this creeping theocracy from taking place, to let the public know that religion has no monopoly on morality," the president of the American Humanist Association said.

Lipman, the 69-year-old leader of the country’s largest humanist group, will be in Columbus this weekend for several events, sponsored by the Humanist Community of Central Ohio.

Humanists are atheists, he said, but they feel a responsibility to lead ethical lives for the good of society.

While polls show that millions of Americans don’t believe in God, Lipman said public officials ignore them because they are afraid to speak out.

"When you speak to anybody, it’s politically incorrect to be anti-gay, it’s politically incorrect to be a racist. . . . But it’s perfectly OK to say, ‘I hate atheists,’ " he said.
I don't know that it's perfectly okay to say you "hate" anyone--most Americans, in my experience, anyway, are uncomfortable with people actually *saying* that word--but I do think he has a point that prejudice against atheists is a more "acceptable" prejudice to many Americans. My quick thought on this is that when someone identifies as an atheist, people tend to see that as a rejection of something that is an important foundation they have build their lives around. It feels threatening.

What are other people's thoughts about this?

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