March 26, 2013

Atheism -- the next civil rights issue?

So says millionaire Todd Stiefel:

“What I am trying to accomplish is multifold,” he told Merica. “I consider myself working on the next civil equality movement, just like women’s rights, LGBT rights and African-American Civil Rights. We are still in the early stages of eliminating discrimination against atheists and humanists. That is something I really want to accomplish.”

I guess the one thing I am missing here -- as is Mr. Stiefel -- is just how are atheists "civilly unequal" in the US today. Even among elected officials there is no test of religion permitted ("... but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.") If no atheist ever gets elected, it certainly ain't the Constitution's fault.

What atheist can't marry?
What atheist can't vote?
What atheist doesn't get equal pay for equal work (with all else being equal?)
Where are atheists being disallowed housing? Loans? Education?

Answer: None/They're not. Stiefel even agrees -- but not citing one single thing in which atheists are discriminated. And atheism won't be the "next civil rights issue" because about the only thing that's really offensive to atheists is any public display of religion. And that's just too damn bad. Being offended isn't a civil rights matter. Oh, and when it comes to intrusive (and clearly illegal) attempts at prayer and religious prosthelytizing in a place like a public school, it certainly isn't only atheists who make a fuss.

Sorry, Mr. Stiefel. You might have had me thinking differently had you actually made a case. But you cite nothing. Using your money for rallies and bringing in possibly the currently most famous atheist around, Richard Dawkins, to say “Discrimination comes from ignorance, and in this case it is ignorance about our beliefs” without noting what discrimination you all face is, well, pointless. I'm glad you're doing good things with your millions (like helping with cancer research), but otherwise *yawn*

As one commenter put it,

What do you want? A constitutional amendment reaffirming that 'Yeah, we're cool with Athiests'? Things have a habit of gaining acceptance with the times, and what is essentially a new religion stomping it's feet and shouting 'Recognize me, too!' does not ease the process along.

And it doesn't have to be accepted by anyone as long as the people who believe as they do are treated equally under the law. Period.

Posted by Hube at March 26, 2013 08:24 PM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)

Atheists are "discriminated" against? What a riot. Like the commenter is saying, it's yet another religious group that wants us to recognize them... they're basically the new fundamentalists, and Dawkins (who I absolutely cannot stand) is one of their demagogues.

Posted by: Carl at March 26, 2013 10:30 PM