Battlepanda: Godless heathens, and proud of it


Always trying to figure things out with the minimum of bullshit and the maximum of belligerence.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Godless heathens, and proud of it


That's the percentage of Americans who self-identify as atheist.

We also seem to be the last minority that everybody else feel good about dumping on.

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.

....“Atheists, who account for about 3 percent of the U.S. population, offer a glaring exception to the rule of increasing social tolerance over the last 30 years,” says Penny Edgell, associate sociology professor and the study’s lead researcher.

Ever the advocate for moderation, the Drumstir suggests that we don't have all that hard a row to hoe "As for trends toward increasing social tolerance, though, I'm not sure atheists really count as a "glaring exception." It's true that we generally can't get elected to high political office, but aside from that I suspect we don't suffer much serious social ostracism as long we don't insist on making obnoxious nuisances of ourselves." Yes, yes, Kevin. Keep schtum. Don't make trouble. Then maybe the bullies will leave us alone. Or maybe not.

Kevin correctly notes that although the number of self-identified atheists are low in the population, there are many more who are agnostic or just not very religious (despite of their supposed belief in God). Kevin was blasted for lumping those areligious people in with the atheists. But why is it any more correct to say that the fencesitters are more in the God camp? Goodness knows that most religions are discriminating enough when it comes to deciding whose faith is pure enough to enter into heaven. Why do they suddenly get to become the Big Tent in the Sky party when it comes to this debate? They're even fond of trying to undercut atheists by such nonsensical rhetorical tactics as saying "When atheism is taken to extremes, it becomes a religion in and of itself" (hands up anyone whose been annoyed by that canard).

So, if you are among the three percent, I'd say, stand up and be counted. I'm not saying that you should go out of your way to be obnoxious, but don't let yourself become silenced by the fear of appearing obnoxious either. After all, the religious community isn't exactly walking on eggshells when it comes to us:
Sherman: What will you do to win the votes of the Americans who are atheists?

Bush: I guess I'm pretty weak in the atheist community. Faith in God is important to me.

Sherman: Surely you recognize the equal citizenship and patriotism of Americans who are atheists?

Bush: No, I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God.

Sherman (somewhat taken aback): Do you support as a sound constitutional principle the separation of state and church?

Bush: Yes, I support the separation of church and state. I'm just not very high on atheists.