My letter to the chain newspaper about atheism.

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A nice, tight, 250-word summary of what occurred to me when I was told that Christian advocacy in a newspaper makes sense because Christians read it. Obviously, by this logic, there should be columns for every sort of personal quirk, from fishing to vegetarians to bondage fetishism.  

Subtle bigotry against atheists is still discrimination

Figures vary, but nine of ten Americans might believe in God. At least that’s what they say when asked. Many of these believers are Christian.

If another recent study is accurate, 69% of view a belief in God as necessary to be a genuine American.

This is highly disconcerting. Throughout history, atheists have been subject to criticism, persecution and at times overt eradication at the hands of believers of all faiths.

At the very least, atheists often experience a more subtle form of bigotry. For instance, a survey showed more than 30% of respondents preferring atheists be banned from the teaching profession.

Insecurity, intolerance and outright humbuggery always have been regrettable components of human society, and while majoritarian disapproval of atheism isn’t (yet) comparable to racism, sexism and other forms of institutionalized violence, it represents a form of discrimination characterized by ignorance, and one deserving of periodic counterpoint.

The News and Tribune sees fit to publish not one, but two Christian advocacy columns on a weekly basis. When I made my dismay known in a social media comment, I was told by a reporter that this makes perfect sense because many readers are Christians.

Interestingly, research published in the archive of the Society for the Improvement of Psychological Science suggests that more Americans (and newspaper readers) are atheists than may seem apparent, perhaps as many as 25 – 30%.

That’s because the stigma of atheism, as perpetuated by believers, causes many atheists to pretend they’re pious.

How very sad, indeed.

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