General Question

JilltheTooth's avatar

Atheists, how, specifically, are you oppressed in the United States?

Asked by JilltheTooth (19657 points ) October 3rd, 2011

During all that back and forth Atheist vs Theist slamming recently, it was mentioned by more than one atheist that they are “an oppressed minority in America”. I am genuinely curious, how exactly are you oppressed? Can you give me some examples of your oppression?

This is in General, folks, please stay on topic. Thanks.

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133 Answers

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I do not feel comfortable disclosing I’m an atheist in many instances. Since I can’t see the future, I do not know how many opportunities I could have gotten for jobs or whatever if I wasn’t so vocal as to the disclosure sometimes. In my job with cancer patients, knowing I’m an atheist makes them trust me less, like me less, they see me as less capable and as doing damage to my kids. I’ve gotten all kinds of ridiculous comments, let’s not get into it here. Do I feel oppressed? No, because I’m a strong person and I have other identities that are much more problematic to people. I also have white and passing (as a woman) privilege as well as class and education privilege. I can wield these privileges to mitigate whatever oppression comes my way which other people can not do. I don’t think, further, that you’re actually seriously asking this question, you can also hear the sarcasm in your details like ‘there, there, little atheists, as if you’re really oppressed’. To add to that, no Christian in this country can actually claim to be oppressed either, though they do. Finally, if a person feels oppressed, that’s how they feel. It’s not like I can walk around and tell people they’re not real Christians. Oh wait…

Oh and P.S. there is a difference between personal and systematic oppression – which did you mean? Because, systematically, there is oppression of atheists at least in the political arena, where you can’t be in politics and an atheist and you can’t even be the ‘wrong’ kind of Christian to be the President.

Nullo's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Eh? That firefight we’ve been having is technically oppression of the site’s Christians. Just sayin’.

wundayatta's avatar

There are places where I feel like I have to shut-up because it’s not popular to be an atheist. It’s like being mentally ill. You always have to make a conscious decision to disclose or not. There are consequences to declaring your atheism that Christians don’t have to face.

I’m sure Muslims feel this, and maybe even Buddhists or Jews. Mormons and some others are also in danger. Christianity is the default in this nation and anything else is somewhat suspicious. Indeed, it can make things downright frosty, even in a Louisiana summer, if you admit to your lack of belief.

That’s pretty oppressive. I doubt if theists think much about it, assuming they are Christian.

Lightlyseared's avatar

What has being an atheist have to do with being against the US? Plenty of devout muslims are against you and will happily die to bring you down.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Nullo Which fight? The discussion of what makes a real Christian? Or what makes them hateful, in some people’s eyes? I literally could care less, as I’ve mentioned previously.

Seek's avatar

I generally consider religions to be coddled in this country.

Churches and temples don’t have to pay taxes, your tithes and offerings are tax-deductible, many religious institutions have deals with governmental bodies (for example, the Salvation Army is responsible for managing misdemeanor probation in this city, and they are the ones that profit. When you get a DUI, you’re mandated to take AA classes – no, you may not seek a non-religious alternative. It HAS to be AA)

Recently, a higher-up of the organization Atheists of Florida protested the Polk County Sheriff’s Office donating a considerable amount of used sports equipment to local churches. Since that equipment was purchased with taxpayer money, it amounted to a government sponsorship of the religion, and the Atheists of Florida was right to protest. The (very Christian) Sheriff took offense and used his power to file false charges (for example: lewd and lascivious conduct in the presence of a minor, because the [also Christian] neighbor claimed to hear sex sounds coming from the privacy of the woman’s own home) which would have amounted to over 20 years in prison.

Fortunately, just recently the courts dropped all charges, because she was able to hire an experienced legal team with donations from a very successful benefit concert held in her honour.

That is a thoroughly oppressed Atheist.

CWOTUS's avatar

I guess I would turn the discussion around a little bit. I know that Christians and other theists often feel somewhat persecuted on this site because they / you are outnumbered (and quite often outgunned). I can understand. I’m sorry that you might feel that way from time to time.

As an atheist I often feel that way when I walk outside my front door.

Seek's avatar

Oh! In the UK, all you have to do is claim to be a religious institution, and you get tax-exempt status. Richard Dawkins had to fight tooth and nail, and eventually “prove” that his Foundation for Reason and Science had moral and educational value.

JLeslie's avatar

Basically where I live now I am in the closet. Not that I need to tYell everyone I am an athiests, but if conversation turns to religion, I keep silent, or just say I am Jewish and let peole assume whatever they want. In the south people ask all the time, “what church do you attend?” I usually just answer I don’t go to church, and don’t even think it is a time to mention being an athiest whether I felt free to say it or not, but the question reminds me I am in the bible belt.

Just knowing a significant portion of the population of my country assumes I am probably less trustworthy, would never vote for an athiest, and whatever negative goes with it, makes me feel that I can’t say I am an athiest without being careful who I tell for fear of prejudice. I would certainly want someone to get to know me before I told them, so their opinion hopefully is not clouded by their preconceptions and assumptions.

JilltheTooth's avatar

No, @Simone_De_Beauvoir , there is no sarcasm in the details, I am honestly curious. Please try to read things as written instead of ascribing negatives to an honest Q. I think @Seek_Kolinahr had a reasonable example, except that I question that it was because the woman was specifically atheist, or perhaps non-Christian. I agree that in many cases non- Christians are oppressed, but my Q was about the idea of being oppressed for being, specifically, and atheist, which many have argued is a non-belief. Why would it be volunteered as information, except in private conversations? Most of us who are non-Christians feel the issues you are all describing, some have to carefully avoid all mention of their faith for fear of being lynched in this country.

And for the sake of this discussion, I meant “oppression” as defined: oppression

noun
1.
the exercise of authority or power in a burdensome, cruel, or unjust manner.

killrqueen's avatar

I don’ t think it is just athiests…I think it is anyone or any religion that is not orthodox. I have met and know many people who still belive that America should be a strictly Christian nation. They can’t accept the fact that we are a multi cultural/religious nation. Christians and other related religions wouldn’t get such a bad rap if they didn’t have so many bible beaters that oppese everything. What kind of Christian would go to a homosexual persons funeral to protest, what kind of person would tell someone they have never met that were sinners and would burn in hell for eternity. I find that appalling ang if that is what it means to be a Christian or any other religion that supports that kind of behaviour I would rather not be a part of any organized religion.

Seek's avatar

It was definitely because the woman was specifically atheist, specifically representing the Atheists of Florida, and specifically got in the way of the Sheriff giving a very expensive gift to his own church at the expense of the taxpayers.

Qingu's avatar

Speaking only for myself and my immediate circle of atheist friends—I don’t feel oppressed at all. I think “oppressed” is a pretty strong word to begin with. I’ve never had to censor myself or withhold my beliefs and I’ve never faced any negative consequences for them. Of course, I live in a big city, and I have a loving and open-minded family.

But that’s just personal experience. Others have pointed out various institutional and public opinion slights against atheism, though I’d be hesitant to call the combined effect “oppression.”

JilltheTooth's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr : Thanks for clarifying. That’s exactly the kind of thing I was wondering when I asked this. Good example.

Jeruba's avatar

I’m not oppressed, at least not in any political way. I don’t count occasional annoyance by my fellow citizens as oppression. Occasional annoyance can happen on the freeway, in the supermarket line, and in our abutting yards, as well as in settings that tend to bring out religious differences. That’s nothing at all like oppression.

However, it does bother me that I will not get to vote for an avowed atheist for president in my lifetime. We’ll see not only a female president but a Jewish president and a Latino president before we see someone who doesn’t belong to a church.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@JilltheTooth “Why would it be volunteered as information, except in private conversations?” – sounds like the kind of thing we hear about non hetero sexuality. Why should it only be mentioned in private conversations? Atheism should be talked about just like non-hetero sexualities so that people realize their default (everyone’s straight and christian) is simply incorrect. As for power, it can work on many levels which is why oppression has two different definitions – micro and macro. I get how the dictionary defines it and all that but that is just a springboard and if you really want to learn about oppression, you must move beyond that point. I think people misunderstand the word and how many examples there might be. Oppression can be obvious and subtle, it can work together with other oppressions or be lessened by other factors. It gets tricky when we talk about anyone oppressed in the U.S., for example, and those oppressed in ‘third world’ countries. Comparatively, we should all shut the hell up, truly. But, realistically, what we experience in our daily lives does matter.

Rarebear's avatar

Not oppressed even a little bit. Everybody knows I’m an atheist.

JilltheTooth's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir : My point, about not mentioning it if it is a non-belief, as I said above, was along the lines of me not saying in normal casual interaction “I’m not from Wisconsin”. It’s essentially pointless to bring it up. Or, to be more meaningful, I don’t introduce Katawagrey to people by saying, “This is my daughter, she’s a bastard” because it’s pointless. There is no shame, secret or otherwise, in the illegitimacy of my child, but it’s unnecessary information. As would be “Hi, I’m JilltheTooth, I have a scar from kidney surgery, nice to meet you.” Again, pointless.

LostInParadise's avatar

Like sojme others here, I tend to keep quiet about religion at work. My feeling is that being an atheist would provide people with the chance to attribute any idiosyncrasies that I may to my religious stance. I also think that the northeast U.S. where I live is probably more tolerant of atheists than other places. If I lived in the South, I would be very hesitant to say anything at all about what I believe to anyone.

I would not say that atheists are oppressed, but there is definitely prejudice against them. There is no, I mean 0, chance of someone who claims to be an atheist to be able to get elected to any public office. In this sense, there is more prejudice against atheists than any other miority. There are gays and Muslims in office.

Mariah's avatar

I do not feel personally oppressed in my day-to-day life but being a minority in this country means not having politicians elected that are representative of my beliefs. Not only do I find it hateful that being an atheist is apparently so unacceptable that we could never possibly elect a person with that belief into a position of power, but this means that the politicians who are elected usually follow a moral rulebook that I do not believe in, which influences their leadership (anti gay-marriage and anti-abortion stances are just two examples of stances that are affected by politicians’ religion).

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@JilltheTooth I get what you’re saying but there are everyday conversations where one simply must come out as both an atheist or as a queer person. For example, someone wanted to have me join in a prayer circle at a street fair to ‘bless my child’ or whatever and I had to decline and say I’m an atheist. Did I absolutey have to say it? No But should I have? Yes, I believe I should have since these people were perfect strangers and need to stop thinking everyone’s all right with doing that kind of thing. People constantly want to talk about the Lord when I’m trying to help them with their cancer-specific questions and sure it might seem pointless to you that I have to refocus the person and tell them I’m an atheist, but it seems not genuine to me, otherwise.

Blackberry's avatar

I don’t feel oppressed personally. Sometimes, I feel that I have to tip toe around certain conversations where my atheism or liberalism may come up because it also seems the majority lean to the right and are more patriotic than me, for example. But that isn’t oppression, or at least oppressive enough to make me feel oppressed, but it doesn’t make me feel as comfortable having to circumvent or hide my beliefs when it may come up. This fear could be in my head, or it could be justified. I don’t know, it also depends on what part of society I am around.

In the military, when we have ceremonies, there is a chaplain who asks everyone to bow their heads so he/she can pray to god (and sometimes, the christian god). I feel so nervous not bowing my head, but it makes me feel better when I see one other person not bowing their head as well.

I’ve never been questioned about it, so that is all I care about.

I’ve been reprimanded by a few bible thumpers for turning them down when asked to join them and their church, but I honestly just assume they’re brainwashed and not normal religious people.

Qingu's avatar

I never bow my head at weddings or whatnot.

I figure if anyone gives me shit, I’d say I’d rather not bear false witness.

jaiyan's avatar

I think it depends on the way the News is reporting things at the time and how the public are feeling about religion that month.
Either by believing in a God (or Goddess) that you can neither see touch or speak to and cannot prove the physical existence of – or have to do elaborate traditional rituals for, these people are often seen as nut jobs. Likewise however atheists can often be excluded in religious ares or in groups of like minded people.
Sometimes religious groups are persecuited against, and sometimes it goes the other way and they’re made out to be this fantastic thing and though roughly coddled. It’s not always fair, but then people are erratic and unfair at times.
Personally I probably count as more spiritual than atheist, I like to think there’s something after death, whether that’s a God or not who knows, but at the same time I can’t help but thinkmaybe that’s it… I always found it hard to believe in God and going to a Christian school when I was a kid was difficult because eveyone had absolute faith and I was always questioning. There was nearly a fight one time but fortunately a teacher stepped in saying that everyone was entitled to their opinions.
Where I live there’s a fairly large population of church goers – we’re in the middle of no where, so that’s pretty much all there is. I get left out of a lot of stuff because I’m on the outside of that community, sometimes it feels like a bit of a loss – I miss parties that some of my friend’s are invited to. Most of the time though I don’t let it bother me – I may not believe in God, but that’s not all there is to me and I’m not about to let it control or dictate my life.

Jeruba's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir, I agree that situations of those kinds create a special pressure in which you have to make a response of some kind. I do see more than one way to handle them, however, For example, last year when I was attending classes with my foot in a cast and leaning on a cane, a young classmate stopped me and told me she was a Christian and asked if she might pray for me. I answered that she didn’t need my permission to pray for anyone or anything that she might want to pray for.

She apparently thought this answer gave her some sort of an edge because she then pressed forward—she literally came closer and leaned in—and asked if we might go somewhere and pray together right then. I replied: “I’m sorry, but I don’t share your beliefs. Thank you for your concern, though.” Then I hobbled on my way.

I usually avoid openly declaring myself an atheist, not because I am protecting myself or dissembling but out of kindness and pity. Having been reared in a deeply Christian household, I know how scary that sounds to true believers and how it will cause them to worry about me. Religious people are typically very easily disturbed and seem to take to heart every reminder that there are others who differ with them, as if their own personal faith were threatened by its failure to take hold universally. I don’t want to cause them unnecessary pain when there is nothing for them to do about it and silence costs me nothing. As I said elsewhere, I am comfortable enough in my own mind that I don’t feel any need to force an awareness of my position on everyone I meet, much less convert them.

Also I don’t want any of them to make me their cause and target me for salvation.

It doesn’t bother me to participate in a group gesture of prayer. I’m just as willing to bow my head for the Lord’s Prayer as I am to stand when others stand in a synagogue and bow when others bow in a Buddhist zendo or at a Wiccan ritual. When I go there voluntarily, I go tacitly agreeing to respect their forms and not challenge them. Reverence for the source of life and respect for the force of nature are not absent just because I don’t attribute them to any divine entity or superhuman personality. All religions offer many wise and worthy teachings that do us no harm.

When I do find it necessary to declare myself, however, and there are times when I do, I don’t just say “I’m an atheist.” I say “I’m a committed atheist.” I want it to sound like it has every bit as much conviction behind it as anyone else’s declared beliefs.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Jeruba ” I know how scary that sounds to true believers and how it will cause them to worry about me.” – this, right here…what is that all about? I agree with Seek…who says religious people are beyond coddled in this country…why should I withhold information about myself for the sake of people who would be frightened to hear about my ideology but have no problem sharing theirs with anyone who will and will not listen? I get how I come off sounding, as if I’m angry or whatever but that’s not it…what could it possibly matter to another being (and I think that’s some of what @JilltheTooth was getting at in her comments to me) if I don’t believe in their god? Why should this revelation frighten them so? I mean, seriously.

OpryLeigh's avatar

I watched a programme recently about how, here in the UK, some parents were having to go to church and “prove” themselves as Christians (even though half of them weren’t) in order to send their kids to the school of their choice.

I am not an atheist but, in my day to day life, I have noticed that, amongst the majority of young people, the topic of religion or personal beliefs doesn’t often come up during the first few meetings. I see this as a good thing as, although I am a believer, I don’t want people to base their opinions on me on that fact alone. I do assume that the majority of young people I meet don’t believe in God and, most of the time, I am correct in this assumption. In fact, of all the young British people I know personally, there are only two that are religious in any way. One is Christian and the other is Sikh. It appears to me that the majority of church goers in this country are over 40 years old. Less people are getting married in church and more and more new parents are choosing not to have their children Christened. I doubt very much that any of the atheists I know would consider themselves oppressed and I am happy to say that, as someone who believes in God, neither do I. From what I have read above, it is obviously a very different story in the US. This is probably the reason that, apart from certain parts of Ireland maybe, there are no places in the UK that are considered “Bible Belts”.

Jeruba's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir, I understand your question. I don’t know if I can answer it.

But let me try instead to point out what I think is a key difference between your approach and mine. I won’t speak for your position but only say what is my perception of it, so please accept that as a disclaimer.

The pertinent concept to me in this context is what is the default setting—an idea borrowed from computer processing. My default setting is off: I don’t disclose unless I perceive a need or reason to do so that is strong enough to overcome my preference for keeping personal information private. Do these people have any need to know X about me? Is there any benefit to me in disclosing it? Am I on intimate terms with them and willing to exchange confidences? If not, then it remains unspoken.

May I add that I felt exactly the same way when I was (as a teenager) an avowed Christian who was urged at least once a week to bear witness to others. Never, not once, did I do anything like what that young student did with me.

When you say “why should I withhold information about myself for the sake of people who would be frightened . . .” that gives me the idea that your default setting is on: you prefer to disclose unless there is a reason not to. This approach is going to produce entirely different results.

So when I say why I withhold information, that is by no means an attempt to offer a reason that should also do for you. Unlike many believers and nonbelievers in religion, I am not saying “You should be like me.”

As to why others might react with alarm, consider

(a) that they may have been taught to fear you (surely you have encountered this kind of reaction in other contexts),

(b) that they may believe you are in the grip of Satan (i.e., forces of evil, by whatever name) and hence as unpredictable and dangerous as a madman who does not subscribe to the rules of civilized society,

(c) that they may believe you are going to hell and may like you or care about you enough to be fearful on your behalf and want to save you from that, not to mention hoping to reunite with you on the other side (this one is especially popular with parents and other family members),

(d) that they may think you are a threat to them—that you want to destroy their beliefs as much as they want to destroy yours (projection), and

(e) that they may feel that their entire belief system is threatened as long as it is possible to thrive without subscribing to it (a direct challenge to what they have been taught).

I am not troubled by people who believe A while I believe B (or simply reject A). I am troubled by—and deeply fear—people who believe A and who think that I too must believe A. People who truly believe that A must prevail and that all must bow before A are willing to go to any lengths to eliminate nonbelievers. Conversion is one avenue to that end; extermination is another.

And people who think that way are more than likely to think that others think that way too. I am no threat to them, but they don’t know that.

It is more comfortable for all of us if I don’t go out of my way to arouse the anxieties, fears, and fight-or-flight responses of those to whom I intend no menace whatsoever.

amujinx's avatar

I personally don’t feel oppressed in any way, but I do have an example of oppression: the Boy Scouts of America. They are a private organization, so they can exclude who they wish, but for the longest time they received preferential treatment in getting access to public and non-public governmental resources (such as, getting to rent land from the US Army at a cheaper cost than others would for their jamboree’s). That might have ended in 2004 when the ACLU sued over this treatment, but I haven’t bothered to follow up on the decision. The BSA excludes homosexuals as well as agnostics and atheists from becoming members.

CWOTUS's avatar

I could answer for you with one word, @Jeruba (because I understand exactly what you mean). It’s politeness. It’s simple good manners to not challenge others’ beliefs in polite conversation.

Coloma's avatar

No more oppressing than being of a spiritual nature and fearing an atheists dismissal, or being of one faith and feeling oppressed by another.

I made mention to a friend of a friend while traveling in asia last year that I was partial to the eastern philosophies and was talking a bit about buddhism, well…this woman is a dyed in the wool christian and she immediately disliked me. It was obvious from the look on her face that sharing a bit of philosophy threatened her belief system immensely.

DominicX's avatar

I don’t feel oppressed for being an atheist, but I’m from the San Francisco Bay Area. Things are simply different here. It’s the same reason why everyone I came out to was accepting of my homosexuality. And it’s a big part of why I don’t necessarily want to live anywhere else in the future…

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Jeruba Yes, I agree that my default setting is so called ‘on’ because everyone’s on in the other direction. Whether god exists or not is irrelevant to me, my atheism isn’t something private or life or death for me. I get that religion, to some, is completely different in that it’s who they are as people and everything gets colored but that doesn’t mean everyone needs to be assumed to have a relationship with god. I disclose to correct that assumption, both about me and the spaces I’m in. In some ways, this disclosure is obviously about something beyond myself just like others preaching is driven by something to happen beyond them. But most people I meet aren’t preaching to me or if they start that way they quickly learn to stop. Most people I meet just assume I’m with them on the god thing, on a specific jesus saved us all thing, which is obviously and logically ridiculous. As to your reasons, yes they are good ones, especially the projection one. Interesting. @CWOTUS – aside from the whole gag reflex I get when people discuss ‘propriety’, I must say that if we’re going to play polite, then those with god on their minds must play along and keep him to themselves. Yet, it’s never considered impolite when god is placed into speeches, tragedies, whatever….cause, oh yes, that’s okay since it’s one person’s beliefs.

Jeruba's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir, then I think we’re about as close to an understanding as we’re going to get. As I said, I’m not trying to convert you either.

However, I don’t think this is true: ”everyone’s on in the other direction.” I know plenty of Christians and other believers (and nonbelievers) whose default is off. It’s just that it’s hard to notice them. In all contexts it’s very hard to make your silence louder than someone else’s noise.

I used to feel responsible for correcting other people’s wrong assumptions, but I don’t any more. If I take responsibility for setting everyone straight and correcting their presumed errors with my presumed truths, I’m not behaving any differently from them.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Jeruba Must be the population I work with – my cancer patients are mostly Baptist and Catholic people. Still, in my workplace, everyone is quite Christian throughout the day. The front desk receptionist has an orthodox prayer stuck to her computer and there are orthodox paintings around the front desk area. Inappropriate? You bet, but who’s going to say anything?

Jeruba's avatar

A lot of people turn to religion in a time of crisis even if they are weak believers otherwise. For some, having cancer is the biggest crisis they have ever faced. People deal with it as best they can, and some of them are going to think it’s a good time to renew their faith or adopt a new one.

Is your workplace by any chance a church-affiliated hospital?

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Jeruba On paper only, historically…methodist is part of its name but literally no one thinks of that…I get that about cancer patients…and suppose that’s what staff are using to deal with the work but come on.

saint's avatar

I’m not.

Jeruba's avatar

@CWOTUS, yes, simple good manners is an adequate reason when the setting is that of polite conversation.

In other situations it might be more like not growling at a very large dog.

@Simone_De_Beauvoir, ”literally no one thinks of that”: how do you know? I don’t think you can make such broad assumptions about what other people are thinking. If I entered a hospital with any sign of religious affiliation in its name or environment, I would be acutely aware of it and on guard. Two of the major hospitals in my area are Catholic hospitals, and I have to make myself not react to the presence of a crucifix over every bed. (I assume by “orthodox paintings” you mean paintings with religious themes?) Some people might choose your hospital because of a presumed religious tie, thinking to find spiritual support as well as ministry to physical need on its premises.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Jeruba All right so the chaplain thinks of it, :)~ I mean that in its policies it’s secular.

GabrielsLamb's avatar

I’m not an Atheist but I sit on their side. I have seen Religious people rip into the hearts of atheists just because they are the absolute negation of the faith that Christians especially use as more a weapon to force conformity than anything else.

Don’t get me wrong… our atheist friends can get pretty damn snarky too… But in most of my own observations it was antagonized by utter and dire stupidity on the part of a person who just refuses reason and replaces blind faith with logic.

Even God doesn’t want us to do that folks!

augustlan's avatar

I wouldn’t say I’m oppressed, personally, but I agree with many of the answers others have given. Many people are less likely to trust me, for one. I live in a religious area, and would feel uncomfortable with proclaiming my atheism just anywhere. I’m bombarded with religious billboards and church signs that tell me I’m going to hell. I doubt I could get a job at Chick-fil-A, Forever 21, or any of multiple trucking companies around here that use bible quotes or “Go with God” on their trucks. And for sure, the political landscape is devoid of anyone who shares my outlook on life.

flo's avatar

People should be able to send their chidren to school for school related purposes, not coversion. See Here

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@flo Yes. And, also, what’s up with this?

Jeruba's avatar

@GabrielsLamb, I think you mean ”replaces logic with blind faith.” Otherwise your remark sounds self-contradictory.

GA anyway. I used to defend the nonsmokers even when I was doing 2½ packs a day myself.

GabrielsLamb's avatar

@Jeruba Yes, I did mean that… Thanks for the help and the clarification, I can be a scatter brain more than not. POINTS!

GabrielsLamb's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir *Gasp! Is that real? Holy crap!

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@GabrielsLamb Yes and it bothers me. A lot.

jca's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir: I think if I were talking with cancer patients, and they were looking to discuss their faith, Christian or otherwise, I would just be supportive of them and their beliefs without feeling a need to disclose my own. I would take the attitude that this is about them, they’re the ill one who needs to vent, and I can put my beliefs and opinions on the back burner.

Like @Jeruba said, if I am with Jewish people I can listen and try to understand what they’re discussing, and if I’m with my pagan/Wiccan friends, I can listen and learn from them without having to necessarily discuss myself.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@jca Oh, absolutely…I do that…it’s just that when they ask me to do something that specifically would be disingenuous on my part, I do not do it. My beliefs and opinions are always on the backburner, trust me or I’d tell them that prayer simply won’t work to heal their tumors. You don’t understand all the details of my job, not that I share all of it. But, suffice it to say, this isn’t a big issue.

GabrielsLamb's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir It’s sick is what it is…

bkcunningham's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr, EllenBeth Wachs, the legal coordinator for the Atheists of Florida, was previously arrested on charges of practicing law without a license. John Albert Kieffer, the Florida group’s president, was arrested on charges of disorderly conduct, resisting an officer without violence and possession of prescription medication without proof.

The charges you presented above were filed by a father when allegedly she told his 10-year old son to stop playing basketball near her home. When the father went outside to play with his son, Wachs supposedly starting making sounds like she was having orgasms and having sex.

http://www.wtsp.com/news/article/190447/8/Atheist-activist-arrested-for-being-too-loud-in-bedroom

The outcome of her charges: http://www.theledger.com/article/20110825/NEWS/110829629?p=3&tc=pg

CWOTUS's avatar

I guess that sort of goes to the point, doesn’t it, @bkcunningham? Who in the world gets arrested on such charges? All of them, in fact.

LostInParadise's avatar

The thing about religion is that it makes no difference. There is nothing, absolutely nothing, that follows simply from the belief in a deity. I can argue against any religious position without denying the existence of God. For example:

You say this is the best of all worlds. Tell me then what the standards are. Oh, they are only known to God. Then what you are saying has no meaning.

You say that the Bible argues against homosexuality. Tell me how you know that the Bible is the word of God. You say that it is a matter of faith. What is the basis for this faith? You sure were not born with it.

You say that Biblical prophecy demonstrates its divine origin. Then why is the book of Daniel full of errors? What are we to make of the prophecy that Damascus would be destroyed, when this never happened?

You ask me why I should be moral if I do not fear the wrath of God as laid out in the New Testament. I tell you that if the only basis for your morality is the expectation of eternal bliss then you are no better than a dog that does tricks for food.

When arguing against a religious zealot, it is much better not to declare oneself an atheist. Otherwise you end up having to justify your non-belief.

Mariah's avatar

A lot of people keep saying that we can avoid uncomfortable situations by simply not disclosing the fact that we are athiest. This is true, but you know what it reminds me of? Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.

DADT meant that gay soldiers could avoid the discomfort that might arise from being out of the closet, but it also meant that they had to hide a lot of aspects of their lives. They couldn’t display family photos, they had to go alone to military functions, they had to lie when asked relevant questions to avoid accidentally outing themselves.

I think the same principle applies when you tell athiests to just keep quiet. If you ask an athiest to just shut her mouth and go along with saying grace at a friend’s dinner party, you’re asking her to lie by omission. You’re asking her to play along with the idea that it’s okay to just assume everybody in your presence is comfortable with performing your rituals, which to me and many others, is a form of minor oppression.

People get to be excused all the time from events that they oppose due to their religion. In school, I had a friend who was a Jehovah’s Witness and was opposed to celebrating birthdays, so he was excused from class back when we used to pass out cupcakes in elementary school. Why shouldn’t people get to be excused from events they oppose due to their lack of religion?

JLeslie's avatar

@Mariah Exactly, like DADT. I was saying the same by saying I feel I need to be in the closet. But, just think how many people thought DADT was ok, wanted to hold onto the policy. They prefer to be ignorant (crap there goes that word again) about someone’s sexual preference then just be civil, accepting, and nonjudgemental. They prefer to not know so they don’t have to deal with it, and they can pretend it doesn’t exist.

Side note: If I am at someone else’s house and they say grace, I feel it is their right in their home, even if it makes me uncomfortable. In more public settings I find it innappropriate for someone to initiate grace as an all table participation. Certainly anyone can say a prayer before they eat to themselves.

wundayatta's avatar

Oppression is not, of course, limited to atheists. Muslims and Blacks and Asians and Hispanics and Homosexuals and the Mentally Ill and on and on—all oppressed by the lack of acceptance of mainstream society. All oppressed by the fear of mainstream society.

It really doesn’t matter if it is a religious majority or any other kind. It is the fact that most, if not all minorities experience oppression in some way.

Many folks in minorities will deny there is oppression. Girls will say that feminism is no longer necessary. Blacks will say the civil rights battle has been won. Atheists will deny they experience any negative consequences.

Perhaps the deniers are right, or perhaps oppression is woven into the fabric of society so tightly that people aren’t even aware it is there, even if it is affecting them negatively. In any case, atheists are hardly unique, and as long as there are majorities and minorities, I don’t see this phenomenon going away.

Tolerance is the key here. Tolerance requires knowing people in the minority and finding out they are not so different. Tolerance is not easy to teach. It can only be experienced, I think.

saint's avatar

OK. At this rate, who is NOT oppressed.

Blackberry's avatar

I wonder if a person who has multiple minorities stacked against them has it more difficult? Is there a gay, hispanic, republican atheist out there really struggling? Haha.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@saint White Rich Christian Men are at the top of who’s not oppressed. As you go down from white to other races and from men to other genders and from Christian to other religions and from rich to other classes, oppression increases. This is for the U.S.

JilltheTooth's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir : You work with cancer patients. I can’t imagine any instance while dealing with one that it would be in any way appropriate for you to talk about your atheism, unless, of course, a patient asks you directly if you are an atheist.

@all: I appreciate the discussion here, it’s something I’ve been curious about since it was mentioned on those other threads. Some of these sound to me more like discomfort at not being part of an established religious group, but as was said above, everyone has a different feel for what is oppression. I’m not an atheist, but I’,m not affiliated with any sort of religion or group, and I have felt uncomfortable in some circumstances, but never what I would call oppressed. Your input has been interesting and enlightening for me. Thank you.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@JilltheTooth If they want me to pray with them, I will not because that’s not genuine. I don’t see how you can’t get that. You would think I’d be doing the more dishonest thing by perpetuating in their mind that this is how I will be with them. And they do ask me what Church I go to, etc. That’s how they know I’m an atheist because there is no such thing and I ain’t about to make it up.

JilltheTooth's avatar

Oh, please, @Simone_De_Beauvoir I didn’t say anywhere, go look that you should pray with them. When they ask you, how about asking them to pray, then slightly bow your head, listen and simply think good thoughts for them? You said: “In my job with cancer patients, knowing I’m an atheist makes them trust me less, like me less, they see me as less capable…” why would you add another level of discomfort to someone who is already distressed? There are many ways to not let on, without being dishonest. And frankly, if you have to dissemble a bit, really, this is all about the patient, not about whether or not you feel true to your atheism. All those other cases in your life that you cited, I agree, be true to that, broadcast your beliefs if you want or not, but not with frightened ill people, where their level of confidence and comfort with the staff and doctors and general hospital demeanor can have a significant outcome on their recovery and even survival.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@JilltheTooth Hey, hi, I know you didn’t but that’s the example I was discussing above. And I am discussing my discomfort not that of my patients – our relationships are years long and do not develop the same way each time, we must be able to share each other’s lives and honesty is the way to go here. I do not hang my atheism upon anyone’s shoulders. I really shouldn’t have shared any of this with you anyway. I don’t believe you have any right telling me what I should or shouldn’t do in my job. And I will disregard the fact that you think telling someone you’re an atheist is adding ‘to their discomfort during a frightening time’ – that’s bullshit. But thanks for proving my point.

JLeslie's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Ah, but white Christian men seem to feel oppressed. They cite people wanting to take under God out of the pledge, and prayer and Christmas being taken out of schools, and affirmative action faoring minorities over them, the media criticizing the Christian right, etc. However, I do agree white Christian men are overwhelming clueless what it is like to be a minority, to be afraid people will hate them so much they might have a threat of violence against them, just no idea.

@JilltheTooth Certainly in the right circumstance anyone can feel oppressed or scared to reveal or be who they are.

JilltheTooth's avatar

Your very words, @Simone_De_Beauvoir , again: “In my job with cancer patients, knowing I’m an atheist makes them trust me less, like me less, they see me as less capable”. You said it, yourself.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@JilltheTooth I know what I said. That statement is true. And I consider that to be a flaw on the part of my patients. What, just because they’ve got cancer, I can not express my private thoughts on how they respond to atheism? I don’t bring Fluther to my job and you should differentiate between the two, as well.

bkcunningham's avatar

I’m not trying to put words in anyone’s mouth, BUT, if you truely don’t have faith in prayer or in God or god or whatever, and you feel the need to stand up for your beliefs when asked to prayer for or with someone scared, sick and dying; to me, it would be like having a sick child asking you to help write a letter to Santa. You know there is no Santa, but instead of saying, “I don’t believe in Santa and he isn’t going to bring you that toy because your parents can’t afford it.” Or, “Santa isn’t real and you aren’t going to live long enough to see Christmas kid.”

Sometimes, in certain circumstances the kindest thing to do is to give comfort, even if it makes you feel uncomfortable and doesn’t hurt anyone.

Jeruba's avatar

@Mariah, I make a pretty firm distinction between exercising my own discretion over what I do and don’t disclose and telling someone else not to disclose. I would never advise someone to conceal his or her personal convictions. But I do feel strongly that my information is mine and that I am the one to decide whether to share it.

A wish for personal privacy has nothing in common with enforced silence (or enforced exposure); the difference is that it’s a matter of choice, and that difference is profound. It is simply the difference between freedom and coercion.

Blackberry's avatar

@bkcunningham That would make sense, if adults had the same mind as children.

Mariah's avatar

@Jeruba I hope I didn’t give the impression that I think all athiests are obliged disclose their religious views. What I do think is that the burden shouldn’t be on the athiest’s shoulders to avoid uncomfortable situations by remaining silent. I think if an athiest “comes out” and the effect is that people respect him less, the fault is with those people. They are in the wrong for passing judgment on the athiest based on his athiesm; the athiest is not in the wrong for revealing that information. However, if an athiest chooses to withhold it, that’s fine too.

If somebody assumes I share their views and expects me to participate in some kind of religious ritual, I will rarely speak up…my personality is just not one that enjoys rocking the boat. However, I am aware that every time I do that, I am signaling that I do not take issue with their assumption, which isn’t true. I know some athiests believe they have an obligation to protest in these situations because they feel that remaining silent is a lie by omission and contributes to the oppression of athiests. In a way, I agree with them on principle, but I think that’s a rather black and white view of the world. I try to always think in shades of gray and therefore I think that each individual situation needs to be considered separately when choosing how to act. Like in example of the cancer patient, I don’t think I’d say anything; to me, the comfort that my “praying” for the patient might provide is a benefit that outweighs the negative fact that I am signaling approval, via my actions, of the idea that it’s okay to just assume that everybody one meets in the US is Christian. Like I said, I don’t like to rock the boat…but I think that people who would be comfortable with doing so should be free to speak up when someone makes such an assumption. Everyone is free to weigh their pros and cons differently than I do, and some people might think that no benefit outweighs the lie by omission. Others might believe that the benefit of avoiding making anybody uncomfortable, or whatever other benefit they perceive, always outweigh any negatives. That’s fine too. Hope I’m making some sense, here.

@bkcunningham The biggest flaw that I perceive in that argument is the fact that Santa non-believers are not a minority that need advocated. In America, many people will simply assume that you are a Christian unless you say otherwise, and many people take issue with that assumption and feel the need to stick up for their beliefs. Not only that, but a child’s belief in Santa Claus does not create social issues that have the potential to oppress non-believers.

JilltheTooth's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir : Well, I guess if your patients are flawed then that changes the nature of the discussion. Or simply eliminates it.

bkcunningham's avatar

@Mariah, you may be overthinking it with my example regarding the discussion of cancer patients and prayer. Sometimes there are situations where you don’t need to advocate your position or standup for your social issues or stand firm for your beliefs to keep others who feel like you from being oppressed. Sometimes, you just need to show a little kindness and love. I don’t care if you are a member of the LGBTQ, a hetrosexual, a Mormon, a Christian, an Atheist, a Muslim, a Buddist, a Republican, a Democrat, a liberal, a conservative or whatever, it is good to be nice to other people.

For me, personally, if I watched someone “praying” or saying kind and loving words of healing and health and peace with someone who was in a hospital sick and I later found out that person was an atheist, to me it would be an example of how we are suppose to treat others. It would be a huge advocacy for their beliefs.

Mariah's avatar

@bkcunningham, if you read what I said to @Jeruba, you’ll see that I do not disagree with you on the idea that the importance of being kind to somebody in distress is more important than standing up for one’s beliefs that one time.

But what I’m trying to say is that I don’t think it’s necessarily a mistake to decide differently in that situation. Unfortunately in this scenario we must choose between kindness and honesty, so either choice has its merits, but also has the drawback of being either unkind or dishonest. It’s fine that you’d opt for kindness – I would too – but I wouldn’t fault someone for opting for honesty either.

That’s why, to me, the comparison to Santa doesn’t apply because the merits of being honest in that situation are very few (because it does not represent a social issue).

JLeslie's avatar

@bkcunningham I wouldn’t even know how to pray with someone, although I actually tend to agree with you in moments of sickness and suffering we certainly can opt to be kind and comforting, and ignore our own discomfort. But, people need to learn that not the whole world thinks like them when it comes to religion. Christians tend to be the most presumptious in American, if anyone is going to be, because they are the majority, and many times in their communities people speak the same religious language so to speak. I think most Chrisians know there are people of many different faiths in our country, but not sure how many really get how many athiests are around. People should learn to ask for the hospital champlain, or ask someone if they pray, before asking them to pray with them. If people did this in general, it would carry over to hospital settings also.

I tend to be like @Mariah and not make waves. But, if I was asked to pray on a constant basis, as it seems @Simone_De_Beauvoir is, it would get extremely annoying, and feel bad. I think if I were @Simone_De_Beauvoir I would just offer to have the Chaplain come buy later if that is an option.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@JilltheTooth Yes, they are. As are all people, in some way. But I’m glad our talk is over.

bkcunningham's avatar

When you put it like that, I can see you are right, @Mariah. Two virtues. One isn’t necessarily better than the other. I am proud that @Simone_De_Beauvoir, stands up for her beliefs and also acts kindly and assists people who have needs. I’m sort of ashamed that I seemed so arrogant with my views and apologize to anyone who was offended or angered. Life is all about learning.

Gabby101's avatar

Wherever you are in the minority, you run a high risk of feeling oppressed. In San Francisco, it is harder to be part of a western religion than it is to be atheist or someone practicing an eastern religion. It’s unfortunate that people want to be accepted for who they are but don’t always play it forward.

Qingu's avatar

@bkcunningham, see, I would have trouble lying to the sick child about Santa. I don’t like lying to people, even if I think it would make them feel better.

I certainly don’t think I should be expected to lie to adults for the comfort of said adults.

JLeslie's avatar

@bkcunningham What if we turn the table. What if I ask someone to chant there is no God? Or, sit with me while I say it, and bow your head? Wouldn’t that be the equivalent of praying to God when I don’t believe. I think theists fail to see how uncomfortable it is for the atheist. Remember I have already answered I tend to not rock the boat, and the sick persons needs count a lot to me, but still, I wanted to try an offer a similar situation so you can maybe identify better with the atheist position.

bkcunningham's avatar

If a person who was dying found comfort in chanting there is no God and asked me to join in the chanting or bow my head while they chanted there is no God?

jca's avatar

If someone were sick and dying (or sick and not dying, just very sick) and wanted to chant there is no God, and for me to bow my head and be with them while they said it, I would do it. So what? It’s them saying it, not necessarily me feeling it. If it makes them feel better to say it, there’s no harm in me hearing it.

Qingu's avatar

I would think said person was a jackass and let them die alone. And I don’t even believe in God.

JLeslie's avatar

@Qingu I actually agree.

Seek's avatar

@bkcunningham

The “practicing law without a license” refers to her putting an “Esq.” after her name when writing letter after letter trying to find information on the unconstitutional gift to the local churches.

As far as I’m aware, the “Esq.” thing simply means “gentleman” and is used by lawyers by tradition only. It’s not like claiming to be a Ph.D. (though there are many many many Reverend Doctor So-and-Sos dancing about on the Televangelism networks. I was thinking about getting an honorary doctorate in theology myself. Reverand Doctor Seek_Kolinahr has a nice ring to it, don’t you think? You can get it for free here, all you have to do is sign a “statement of faith” and fill out some paperwork.)

bkcunningham's avatar

That’s all well and good, @Seek_Kolinahr. She is the legal coordinator for the Atheists of Florida. If nothing else, it is misleading. I think she addressed officials as if she was a practicing attorney in the state of Florida. She isn’t.

Perhaps the powers that be looked at her a little too closely.I’ll give her that. But, to me, it just means you had better be careful before ruffling feathers in places where your views aren’t welcome by the majority. Get your ducks in a row so to speak.

Seek's avatar

That is exactly the point we are trying to make.

Regardless of who the majority is, one shouldn’t be threatened with 20 years in prison for “ruffling a few feathers” when those birds were clearly in the wrong in the first place.

bkcunningham's avatar

But you will be threatened and may even serve time if you are breaking the law, @Seek_Kolinahr. Right or wrong. Right? :)

Seek's avatar

20 years for writing a letter and faking an orgasm?

bkcunningham's avatar

I don’t know. Is that the maximum she faced? If it is, she should count her lucky stars she wasn’t convicted.

Seek's avatar

The idea that you don’t find the charges absurd in the extreme is astonishing.

The woman was protesting the illegal donation of taxpayer-funded equipment to a religious instutution, and as a result was threatened with 20 years in prison. Thoughtcrime much?

bkcunningham's avatar

I’m saying play by the rules or change the rules. Also, I am really saddened that anyone would protest giving basketball goals and equipment to children for an after school program. Regardless of who is helping the children. I like the fact that there are people willing to help children and use inmates to initiate the help.

bkcunningham's avatar

And how was it an illegal donation?

Seek's avatar

It was a church.

The taxpayers purchased the equipment, and then the equipment was given to a church. Not to a taxpayer-funded community organization, to a church. Polk county tax dollars were spent to make a donation to a church. That is an unconstitutional use of taxpayer funds. If the church needed a basketball hoop, it should have asked its congregation for money. I know churches are really good a guilting cash out of the pockets of their patrons.

bkcunningham's avatar

What specific law in Polk County did they break, @Seek_Kolinahr. I understand that it upsets you, but let’s be reasonable and discuss this and not start saying things like “guilting cash out of the pockets of patrons.” That doesn’t really lead us anywhere but into name calling. I am really interested in your prospective. Please, help me learn.

Seek's avatar

The UNCONSTITUTIONAL USE OF TAXPAYER FUNDS.

Was I somehow not clear on this?

bkcunningham's avatar

You mean, you think they broke a federal law? I was asking you to name what statute or code or whatever to show me what law they broke. So, if it is a federal law, I’ll ask the same question. What statute, code or federal regulation did they go against or break? I’m not following you.

flo's avatar

@bkcunningham, misappropriating funds is wrong period, (Added) whether it is illegal or not. Even if I can’t tell you the code it is unconstitutional. Isn’t that enough?

bkcunningham's avatar

All I’m asking, @flo, is this, is it wrong or illegal?

Seek's avatar

It doesn’t need to be illegal or unstatutory. It’s already UNCONSTITUTIONAL. That transcends local law.

flo's avatar

@bkcunningham it sounds like you mean if we don’t do unethical things it should only be because it is also illegal.

bkcunningham's avatar

I’m asking you to show me specifically where in the US Constitution does it show that the state breeched the constitutional use of taxpayers’ funds clause? If I’m a judge sitting on the US Supreme Court, argue where in the US Constitution the state of Florida, in Polk County, violated Constitutional Law. Also, for a bonus, what US Supreme Court Judge represents Polk County, Fl., and what boundary district does his court sit within?

bkcunningham's avatar

I’m saying if she is going to try to change things, she’d better not do anything illegal. EDIT: Or be willing to face the consequences.

Seek's avatar

She didn’t do anything illegal, and the judge upheld it by dropping all the charges

However, if the AofF hadn’t been able to raise funds for a legal counsel, you know an atheist protester wouldn’t stand a chance against the Sheriff’s Office.

bkcunningham's avatar

Was she put on probation?

bkcunningham's avatar

Oh, and what was her plea?

Seek's avatar

The. Charges. Were. Dropped.

I was not present, nor am I very interested in the legal proceedings. It’s just not my forte. If you want to argue the merits of religion, I’m there for you. If you want to talk courtroom procedures, find someone who’d rather do that then have unmedicated dental work.

bkcunningham's avatar

Second paragraph: “Prosecutors offered a deal to Wachs to resolve her legal matters without a conviction on her record and her felony charges are to be dropped.”

http://www.theledger.com/article/20110825/NEWS/110829629

bkcunningham's avatar

Page 2: “In a brief court hearing, Wachs pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of possessing drug paraphernalia.nProsecutors dropped a misdemeanor charge of possessing cannabis. Polk County Judge Barry Bennett agreed to withhold adjudication — a formal finding of guilt.

“Wachs was ordered to pay $320.50 in fines and court costs. Her pretrial intervention contract states that she also must pay $500 to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office for investigative costs.”

Seek's avatar

They wisely decided not to push probation I guess. I know Hillsborough county does misdemeanor probation through the Salvation Army. That would have stirred up the Atheists of Florida for round 2, methinks. ^_^

bkcunningham's avatar

I don’t know. I think I saw her ringing a bell at Walmart asking for money. Greedy bitch. ;) jk)

flo's avatar

@bkcunningham does something wrong, misappropriating funds let’s say, also have to be illegal for us not to commit it?

bkcunningham's avatar

Okay, get me back on track, please, @flo.Who is misappropriating funds? By funds do you mean the basketball equipment? How much was it worth?

Seek's avatar

One dollar, one million dollars? How wrong does it have to be before it matters?

It’s the principal of the thing. I don’t want my tax dollars going to a church. Period. They get enough special treatment as is. Too much if you ask me.

The only reason I restrain myself from claiming churches should definitely have to pay taxes is that they would then have a right to demand a protected say in government (apart from the Big Religion lobbying that already takes place).

flo's avatar

@bkcunningham I couldn’t have put it better than how @Seek_Kolinahr put it.

Added: “Is is wrong or illegal?” How about both?

augustlan's avatar

This is super relevant to this question. I learned something new from reading it, too. Did you know that child custody is frequently determined on the basis of theism vs. atheism?

JLeslie's avatar

@augustlan That article is disheartening. But, towards the end when it speaks of kids wanting to start groups or put up posters in school, don’t you think that is just as bad as religion in school? Basically the same thing? They shouldn’t be allowed to put up posters in my opinion, or start groups in schools. The comments of course are upsetting, that it is an atrocity, or whatever words they mention, but the actions of the athiests were not ok either. Unless it was in response to religious posters and religious groups in school? Maybe then I can see why they did it. To make a point.

Blackberry's avatar

@augustlan After reading that, I feel like running back into the shadows. But I’m a survivor! :P

DominicX's avatar

@JLeslie

“While it’s not the first state in which we have seen pushback from adults in a position of authority over students to the idea of atheists forming clubs in the same way religious students form clubs, it is the first state in which we’ve had to bring in lawyers to fight for equality denied”

Seems to me like these places allow religious clubs but don’t allow atheist clubs. Now, at my high school, there were neither, but I know people who had Christian clubs at their school and there’s no reason why they shouldn’t also be allowed to have an atheist club.

JLeslie's avatar

@DominicX Thanks for the quote. I must have read too quickly. My preference would be no clubs in the school.

Seek's avatar

There was an “Agape” Christian club at my high school. I wasn’t a member, but there was one.

However, the Wiccan kids had their Books of Shadows confiscated, and I’m pretty sure one kid was suspended for having a copy of The Satanic Bible out during a free reading period. Funny, huh?

This was right after Columbine. No time like a time of stress to bring out the most hypocritical in people.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

Oh, that’s a good point. I got sent home from school for wearing a band t-shirt with 666 on it on the same day that the religious club.. I don’t know what it was… wore all of their matching Jesus themed t-shirts. A few days later I got sent home again for a necklace, if I remember correctly it had an ankh on it. I don’t know, it was the ‘90s. It’s not like I was some kind of devil worshiper, the symbols meant nothing to me.. I just listened to a lot of metal.
Also after Columbine. Mind you, I was a straight A student in honors classes, and I had never gotten in trouble in school in my entire history there.
I remember another kid actually got 3 days suspension for refusing to give up his trenchcoat. In retrospect, I know that his family was extremely poor, and a new coat was probably not an option just because the one he had made the school uneasy.

Blackberry's avatar

@ANef_is_Enuf Ha! Some people were aghast at my middle school when some kids tried to make another kid levitate by forming a circle around him and chanting stuff. They said they learned it from the movie The Craft.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

I was really damn mad. I didn’t fight it, because I wasn’t a ‘troublemaker’ and I didn’t want to stir things up.. but looking back, I wish I had.

bkcunningham's avatar

One of my older brothers got suspended from school for wearing an American flag patch on the sleeve of a denim jacket.

JLeslie's avatar

@bkcunningham Huh? Was it a school with uniforms?

bkcunningham's avatar

No. It was a public high school. He graduated from high school in 1972. It was considered disrespectful to wear an American flag on clothing. EDIT: No uniforms, @JLeslie.

JLeslie's avatar

@bkcunningham Oh, meaning it disrespected the flag during those times. Well, then it makes sense I guess he was not allowed to wear it. I have never heard of that. Our military have the flag on some of their uniforms, I find it surprising that was the feelings back then.

Prosb's avatar

I wouldn’t say I feel oppressed over here in Northeastern U.S. Although I do hesitate telling people I don’t know well, because it is still generally not a very well understood viewpoint.
I could see a harsher reaction to my views if I lived somewhere else in the U.S., such as in the bible belt like @JLeslie.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

I came across a blog the other day that is actually relevant to the question.

laureth's avatar

When I saw this article at Salon today, I thought of this question.

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