Should atheists have civil rights?

May 9, 2012 3:30pm CST
I was reading a blog post a few minutes ago on Psychology Today, and the author states, "The entire country [America] ignores the civil and political rights of atheists" and that in America, "freedom of religion does not yet include freedom from religion" (Barber, 2012). He uses many examples to support his argument, for example that Obama mentions religion in most of his speeches, atheists are not politically represented, that despite the legal separation between church and state the Congress has a chaplain who begins legislative proceedings with a prayer. Do you support his claim? Do you oppose it, if so why? Are atheists characteristically devoid of the right to such rights? Could this be argued true because they're not liked very much as a group? What's your take on this?
18 responses
@Taskr36 (13928)
• United States
9 May 12
Atheists have civil rights. The perception that they are somehow deprived of them is centered around the fact that many Atheist groups want to push their own religion on others. "Obama mentions religion in most of his speeches" The 1st amendment provides the right to free speech. It also gives Obama freedom of religion. This example shows that the atheist you refer to wants to ban Obama's religion and freedom of speech. "atheists are not politically represented" Sure they are. As citizens they have senators and congressman representing them at every level of government. There is no right to have someone with your religion representing you. If that's so important to them, then they should get together and elect an atheist to public office. Are Hindus or Buddhists politically represented? "despite the legal separation between church and state the Congress has a chaplain who begins legislative proceedings with a prayer" Once again, that chaplain has 1st amendment rights of free speech and free religion. Atheists can not ban him from speaking or being religious.
2 people like this
@andy77e (5170)
• United States
10 May 12
Well the reason he doesn't have that freedom, is because freedom from religion is not a civil right. And in order to have freedom OF religion, that means that you can't tell others to not exercise their religion. The only way to have freedom FROM religion is to prevent others from exercising their religion. The two ideas are mutually exclusive. The only way to have one, is to not have the other. And since Freedom OF religion is the foundation our country was based on, Freedom FROM religion can't be granted until we have an oppressive tyrannical government that takes away the freedom of the people. Further, Bill Clinton in the 90s was an Atheist, and he said this mean times in various ways. Yes he claimed to be Christian, but he said many times that there is no absolute truth, which is dynamically opposed to Christianity. As far as mentioning religion in politics, that's kind of dumb to claim we should not have religion in politics. The facts are, the vast majority of people are religious. The idea that politicians are not going to talk about one of the foundations of society, is a little crazy. Does the minority get to dictate to the majority, what the majority can talk about? No it does not. So no, the Atheists do not have the right, or even the moral foundation to suggest everyone else must abide by their demands, any more than the majority should be able to force Atheists to go to church or be exiled. Lastly, if an Atheist truly believes what he claims, that there is no 'god', then it is impossible to be offended by religious observances. Why? Because they are nothing. Prayer to nothing.... is nothing. So how can an Atheist be offended by nothing? If I lick my finger and stick it in the air... does that offend people? No. Why? It's nothing. So if I walk into congress and lick my finger and stick it in the air... should you be offended? How would that offend you? I'm doing nothing. Similarly, if someone prays to nothing, how can a person who believes there is no 'god' be offended by someone doing nothing? The truth is, there are two types of Atheists. One type actually believes there is no 'god', and doesn't care what other people do. He just minds his own business, and doesn't bother himself with 'oh they are praying to nothing, and that bothers me.' Then there is the other type, and they are trying to fight against the very G-d they claim doesn't exist. It's not enough to just not believe, but rather they have to try and force everyone else to not believe. Why? My view is that they know there is a G-d, and they are trying to fight him. Because those that truly believe there is no god, never care what others do.
1 person likes this
• United States
12 May 12
There's also at least a third type of atheist. The type who doesn't believe in a god, who doesn't care that you believe in a god, but who also doesn't want the idea that there are invisible, infallible deities with no evidence to support those claims floating around and watching over lives and dictating the earth. The thing about this is that people have a habit of believing what they're taught. It's one of those strange things. So the third type of atheist doesn't care if that's what you believe, but would much rather verifiable, consistent, reviewed, repeatable topics be taught as fact to the young minds who will eventually help to shape future generations of this world, and so on. This type of atheist believes that belief is a personal thing. So while this type of atheist doesn't believe in a god, this individual still understands that the concept of this belief is extremely powerful and can influence lives on a mass scale. This type of atheist's goal isn't to bombard religious displays or to attack currency, but this type still doesn't want myth actually being pushed as fact in certain forums.
@andy77e (5170)
• United States
12 May 12
"who doesn't care that you believe in a god" "but who also doesn't want the idea that there are invisible, infallible deities with no evidence to support those claims floating around and watching over lives and dictating the earth. " These two statements are contradictory. If you don't care what I believe, then automatically, you can't care that I believe in an invisible infallible deity. If you do, then automatically you do care that I believe in a G-d. It's one or the other, not both. "The thing about this is that people have a habit of believing what they're taught. It's one of those strange things. So the third type of atheist doesn't care if that's what you believe, but would much rather verifiable, consistent, reviewed, repeatable topics be taught as fact to the young minds who will eventually help to shape future generations of this world, and so on." Again, you are saying you do care. If you don't care, then you shouldn't care what other people are taught either. Because you don't care. But now your saying you do care what others are taught. These are contradictory statements. I want people taught in the truth of a divine creator, especially if they are going to shape the future for generations. Why is your opinion of greater value than mine? "This type of atheist's goal isn't to bombard religious displays or to attack currency, but this type still doesn't want myth actually being pushed as fact in certain forums." You are assuming it's a myth, which you can't prove. This means you yourself, are pushing things as fact, which are not. If you can assume one thing, and try and push it on everyone else by dictating what is taught... can't I do the same? Or am I the second class citizen who isn't allowed to have a voice?
• United States
13 May 12
I can't even muster up an adequate response to that mess of logic. That I would care if a religious man next door to me kept preaching to my son and telling him he was going to hell unless he prayed to a sky guy, my not wanting him to scare my son with a fairy tale in no way means it's because I believe in that fairy tale. It's because I don't want some guy telling that nonsense to my son. On the flip side, if your son is walking by my house and I don't say anything to him, then... ???? I'm not trying to be rude here, but if you can't see what's what, then perhaps you're not firing on as many cylinders as you think.
• United States
9 May 12
Well lets see... we cannot mention God of any religion in school, Atheist check one in their column. They have taken "God" out of most and all political papers, signs etc, atheist check two. If the President believes in prayer it is his right to do so. He has the right to free speech as well and can speak a prayer whenever he wants. Atheists have the right to slam church goers at every chance and yet many of them still celebrate our Holidays. Atheist who celebrate Christmas for the gifts are jerks taking advantage of our Holidays. Those who celebrate Hanukkah, or Diwali or any other holidays that are relgious are all hypocrites. Either you are religious or not. If you chose not to be don't celebrate our holidays. Also have respect for our views just because your not religious doesn't mean others have to act as though they aren't. Side not I am Christian and I offer apology tot he other religions if I spelt anything wrong.
1 person likes this
9 May 12
You can't mention gods in schools? Are you sure? Can you point to a law to that effect? It seems unlikely. Second, you call atheists "jerks" for sharing "your" holidays. Are you claiming the ancient and practically universal midwinter festival as suddenly being exclusively Christian property all of a sudden?
• United States
10 May 12
One I mentioned more then one religion above not just Christianity. Many religions consider the moon phases yes. Atheist beleive in no gods, no religion so yes celebrating any holiday be it Wiccan, Christian, Jewish or Hindu it doesn't matter, isn't right. It's one or the other either you beleive in higher powers or your an atheist and do not. Yes I find it offensive for atheists to celebrate Christmas a Christian Holiday when they do not believe in our religion. Yes I support my Brother in law in being offended when his brother's wife celebrates Hanukkah while she blasts religion left and right. I don't care if you are an atheist, or whether or not you beleive in higher powers of any kind. I beleive they have the same rights we all do and just becasue there are not as many of them and therefore they hear more from those who do beleive in religion (yeah hey they have the right to speak their own too) doesn't mean they don't have rights. Atheist do not tend to gather together on a regular basis. That is their choice, religious groups do and yes community surrounds that activity. No one says the atheist cannot do the same. Our local district does not allow God in the pledge of allegiance. They say " .. One nation, indivisible..." so on. Many school districts have gone this way. They do not allow days off for religious holidays. Yes they get around some by calling them spring, fall, or winter breaks but they have essentially not allowed any religious Holidays no parties, no celebrations. Not even Halloween or Valentine's Day.. because they are religious. In fact this year they made the kids who went to early services for Ash Wednesday wash the ash off their foreheads when entering the school, They also made the few Jewish boys (admittedly we do not have a large amount of Jewish folks in our area) take off their yamakas! Whose rights where being taken away then?
1 person likes this
14 May 12
If you choose to be offended that people with other beliefs celebrate their holidays at the same time as you, that's your problem and no-one elses. The solution to that is not to be offended, which is also your choice. Personally, like most people, I treat Christmas and Easter as times for family gatherings. I don't choose to be offended if other people keep those holidays in their own way.
@Bluedoll (16104)
• Canada
9 May 12
Hello Eucalysptus, nice to meet you. Sure I can give my take on this as I feel strongly about this serious issue. Please keep in mind I am not an American and look at what is going on in the world not from a political point of view but from a common human right and religious point of view. First, institutions and governmental foundlings are integrated on a belief in God. That is evident in all the structures of anything good in this world. This can be shown to be true. Foundations are not the same as separation of religion from state. I hope you understand my statement. The other most important consideration is about atheism itself. Atheism is a religion because it has all the qualities of a religion despite it says it is not one. Atheism is a presenting a lie. This too can be discerned. That is not say that all people do not have the same rights and freedoms however a change of freedom of foundlings will also mean a change in our social stucture relationship with God. God bless America.
1 person likes this
9 May 12
Atheism is not a religion - look up the definition of "religion" in any dictionary. It's not even a single philosophy, there are multiple athiestic philosophies just as there are multiple religious philosophies. Also your sweeping statement that everythign good is based on religion is clearly untrue - simple observation of everyday life will show you that.
@Bluedoll (16104)
• Canada
10 May 12
@ Citizen_Stuart - You need to reread my comment to understand the context! I am not referring to religion in all places but institutions and principals. The foundations of our society has good standards set down for our benifit. I am not referring to everyday life but I am making reference to the principals we believe in. My statement about atheism being a religion is true and can be clarified. Please be careful how you word you responses in the future. I will appreciate your consideration. Do not instruct me to look something up in the dictionary, you do not have any control over my actions. I will do as I please – thank you! And so you understand my statements, I do feel strongly about these principals, and so I will defend it!
• United States
10 May 12
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/atheism Atheism is the disbelief in gods or higher powers. According tot his dictionary. Now I think perhaps it should be pointed out that all religions have a base structure of what is right and wrong. Do not kill, do not steal etc. There is a reason for that. People of all religions and yes even atheists beleive in these laws be they based off of relgion or not.
@iuliuxd (4453)
• Romania
10 May 12
The so called rights for atheists are a tool they are using to deny freedom of religion.Unfortunately they will get what they want.
• United States
12 May 12
Show me whose religious freedom is being denied by atheists and I will donate to the cause to stop it.
@iuliuxd (4453)
• Romania
12 May 12
Well you are against the idea of some people praying or the president mentioning God in his speech.Isn`t that enough ? Read andy`s thoughts and you`ll see why that is stupid. Not you personally, i know you are open minded. I was talking about the whole "sect". You think "religion should not be taught in schools ".Why not ? Who are you to tell me what should i learn in school ? Who are you to tell me that i have to learn about evolution but i can`t learn about Christ on my money ? Hell i seem to know more history of the US than you know. You don`t understand that learning about evolution and learning about Jesus or about Verdi or Shakespeare is the same thing and everyone should be able to learn what he wants.You don`t see the freedom is taken away from you every day.You are happy because in your great atheistic mind this is the "triumph of reason" and not the most pervert way to turn what once was a constitutional republic into a tyranny.And it`s not even the tyranny of the majority or democracy as it is called to fool people. You don`t have to donate and you can`t stop it. But you can ask yourself who taught you to think the way you think.
• United States
12 May 12
As to any BS you keep pushing about the "great mind" and all that, it's not my fault if you feel attacked and trivialized because when called to task for wanting your beliefs to be taught as theories all there is to back them up are more beliefs. That's not on me. It's not my fault. Jesus and Shakespeare are two completely different things. How are they in the same universe? Shakespeare is not from a holy book wherein he is said to be the son of a god. Shakespeare's literature is taught as just that -- literature. The man behind it is also discussed. You're trying to sneak your way through this on your belly. You don't want "Jesus" taught as just some historical figure; you don't want the concept of religion broached in philosophy. You want your religion taught in school as competing theory, because you somehow see belief without evidence in the exact same light as scientific theory. As to you knowing more US history than I know, well, I'm sure someone always knows more than someone else. The method of hurriedly checking sources and leaving a new response in the 10-minute intervals in which you decide to read something is a sufficient method for myLot debate. But it works itself out when read in context. Some are just humble enough not to blow that particular whistle. Religion has a place in our society. It's called a church. It's called a home. There is not one good reason anyone can present why religion should be taught in public school. Belief is something personal. And if you do happen to rewrite someone else's words on this, you then have to answer why it's just one unverified belief that should be taught to children in school and not the other thousands. If someone in the United States of America wants their children to learn about religion, I in NO WAY have a problem with their children learning about religion by going to church or learning it from the parents. What I do have a problem with is religion being taught as fact in a public forum. You're an intelligent individual, and I'm not just saying that to be patronizing or anything. I think you know what you're talking about a lot of the time. However, that time was 1826. It's 2012 now and the insane idea that public schools would teach myth as theory in science class is ridiculous. The theory of evolution and the belief of Jesus are so far apart that I cannot even find words to say how far apart they are. And if you don't view them as separate, I believe you're free to teach that to your children. Teach your children that because scientific theory can never be "proof," it must mean that god is responsible for all things. You're free to relay that to your children. But if you try to teach that to MY children, I will give you an atomic wedgie and dunk your head into a toilet. I promise!
@matersfish (6311)
• United States
10 May 12
You can't please everyone. People try to take Christmas away because it may offend a Muslim or a Jew or an atheist/agnostic. But hell with that, I want my presents! I've said many times that I would LOVE some nonreligious representation in this country. I will bend over backwards not to offend religious sensibilities, simply because I know good religious people, but the same people who believe their religious book is scientific and factual are the same people who develop school curriculum and teach children and set policy. Sorry, but that scares me. Of course, I don't believe there can be or should be freedom from religion at large. But in terms of breaking people down into groups, American atheists might be the smallest minority out there. It's definitely true they're not liked. It seems to be in religion's nature to only "like" their own religion and what their religion says they should like. Some are obviously worse than others.
• United States
10 May 12
As a Christian with family members who are Jewish, Wiccan and Hindu I would have to say that the days of religious separation are falling apart. We can absorb others beliefs and live with them not against them. Now I want to say also that it is not just in my immediate family or should I say generation this has occured. My Aunt and Uncle where married 50 + years he a German Lutheran her a German Jew. (Yeah check that time line). I have extended Grandparents one off the boat Irish Catholic (they are a story all their own) the other off the Boat Russian Jew. In fact when my Uncle passed as well as my cousin (different side of family but also half and half, both 13 years ago) we had a mix of Jewish/Christian ceremonies. We did the same just this past year for my Sister's wedding. We raise our children going to all religious sects involved in the household and let them chose when they are older what they want to be. As an Irish Christian we have many beliefs based off of the Wicca relgion and yes we do study and practice some Wiccan events (many absorbed by the Christians on purpose many hundreds of years ago) and rituals, no not witches. Atheist think they have it bad, people just are confused by no belief in gods, Wiccans are persecuted as witches!
• United States
12 May 12
I do wish that more sane, accepting religious people could change religious, but it always seems to be religion as an institution that promotes the change and not those who could be considered tolerant followers.
@Latrivia (2890)
• United States
11 May 12
Atheists have civil rights. At one point in time they WERE discriminated against under the law, but those days have long passed. These days the issue is not one of civil rights, but rather societal stigmas. This, also, is proof positive that having a degree doesn't make you smart. The author (of this article:http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-human-beast/201205/atheists-the-last-minority-get-civil-rights) draws from a source pool of paranoia, and either deliberate or accidental misunderstanding of the law. There is no law which states the president may not praise their god or congress may not have a chaplain. To have such a law would contradict laws which protect their civil right to practice their religion or speak freely. None of what the author lists really constitutes true discrimination save the bit about the Boy Scouts and the military - but the Boy Scouts of America is a private organization and they have the right to discriminate, if I recall. Being a boy scout isn't a civil right, however, so there's no real violation there. Being religious, practicing your religion, or wishing someone a religious greeting (seriously, your waitress saying "have a blessed day" is discriminatory? GTFO)is not discriminate against atheists. It doesn't violate their rights. As for the negative stereotypes he mentions: older board members and other atheists may recognize the name Madelyn Murray O'Hair. She was one of the many faces of atheism back in the 60's because of a lawsuit in which she fought mandatory biblical recitations in public schools. She won, and went on to found the American Athiests group in Austin, TX. On the face of it she seems like a freedom fighter, but if you ever listened to her interviews or researched her life, you'd quickly learn that she was a hedonistic provocateur with delusions of grandeur, and a mean streak a mile long. She detested religious people so much for simply being religious, that she practically disowned her own son (the same one she fought for in the 60's), and called him a "post-natal abortion" when he decided to convert to Christianity later in his life. She was hardly a nice women. I told you all that to tell you this: the women I just described is THE negative stereotype of American atheists. Mean, condescending, anti-religion, and prejudiced against believers. The reason that stereotype exists, is because the public face of atheism in this country hasn't really changed. A lot of well-known atheists are stereotypically prejudiced against the religious, condescending towards believers and their apologists, and seem to get off on provoking the anyone with an iota of spirituality with rude antics. So the reason atheists have that negative stereotype is because we earned it, and our public representation seems intent on keeping it. It won't go away until atheist talking heads learn to behave. TL;DR - The author doesn't know wtf he's talking about. Clearly he spent more time in the classroom than in the real world, and most of it must have been spent sleeping. No one who thinks "have a blessed day" is discriminatory should be given an ounce of credence in academia...or anywhere, for that matter. Atheists do have civil rights, and they aren't the horribly persecuted minority that some would have you believe.
@iuliuxd (4453)
• Romania
11 May 12
I think she also wanted to emigrate in the Soviet Union where the atheists were in charge but she was so bad that even the comrades rejected her.
9 May 12
Atheists have the same rights as anyone else. I think what you're asking is if atheists should have some kind of special recognition in law, or specific representation. The answer is clearly no, as people should be regarded as individuals and not members of one group or another. It's a very old political trick to divide society up into arbitrary groups and get them to resent each other - whether it's christians v atheists, blacks v whites, or whatever. The state should be strictly secular, meaning no particular religion or philosophy gets special attention. It does seem to me to be a clear violation of that principle if Congress has a chaplain on the payroll who opens legislative sessions with a prayer - that's clearly not appropriate for a secular republic.
@Bluedoll (16104)
• Canada
9 May 12
I can agree that religious organizations have no place in government and all citizens have equal rights. I am not against prayer. The entire constitution of the United States of America is based on fundamental beliefs that have standards. Many beliefs and standards were not invented by Americans but have existed for a very long time before America even came into existence. I will not sacrifice solid good values for atheism’s. In God we trust!
14 May 12
What "solid good values" are you talking about, and what values do you think atheism promotes?
• Romania
9 May 12
Atheism has nothing to do with your rights,they also are not a "not liked very much group".If it would ever end with your rights based on the religion you aprove of the world would propably go in a WW3...religion should always stay out of politics although it does not,at least it should not interfere at such a level
9 May 12
I see you're from the UK...it might be the case here that atheism is widely accepted but I don't see that being the case in the States. Shockingly, there are several reports of discrimination against soldiers for their atheist beliefs. When you say that religion should always stay out of politics, this was sort of my point when making this discussion and also one of the views that the author articulates well - in America it can be conceived that religion is a huge part of politics. Some segments of the atheist communities might even go as far as to suggest that they have to fight for the separation of church and state because religious influence undermines their civil liberties.
1 person likes this
@Pose123 (21671)
• Canada
10 May 12
Hi, Does it seem strange to anyone that the US was first settled by people from the UK who wanted freedom of religion, and now the shoe seems to be on the other foot? Religion has far too much influence in American politics. How many voters are there in the US who don't know that Mitt Romney is a Mormon? Why wouldn't an atheist make a good President? Religion should have nothing to do with politics. Blessings.
@Pose123 (21671)
• Canada
10 May 12
Hi Eucalyptus, Not only in the US but everywhere the answer is acceptance. The atheists that are not well liked are those that are opposed to religion, and are constantly putting down religious people. The vast majority of atheists have a live and let live attitude when it comes to religion and only voice their opinion when asked. I don't think that religion has any place in politics and I think that an atheist could be as competent a leader as someone who believes in a higher power. Isn't it time that we accept everyone for who they are and stop trying to make others like ourselves?
@Pose123 (21671)
• Canada
10 May 12
Blessings.
• United States
14 May 12
Civil rights are rights to the things you need to be treated equally as a human being. I don't think baring all mention from religion is a civil right that Atheists have because it conflicts my personal civil right (and the civil rights of all religious people) to be able to express my beliefs. I agree that Atheists probably are not equally represented in government, but I don't think that the president talking about religion invades upon their rights as a group.
@megamatt (14333)
• United States
10 May 12
Oh boy, I debated on whether or not I wanted to respond to this topic because arguments about politics don't often end well. Topics involving religion also do not end well. But when you really just mix the two together, you might as well just be juggling flaming hot pokers. I personally feel that no group no matter there beliefs or lack of there of should be discriminated one. Here is the absolute fact of the matter, any belief that you have is going to likely to offend someone. And any belief that you have is neither right nor wrong. There is a very likely chance that throughout all of our time, no human has ever figured out what is truly going on and no religion is right. And not believing in any religion might not right. Anything that is going on beyond a mortal level could beyond any human comprehension. Any argument is futile because there is no way you can prove or disprove anyone's belief system. The problem is not when people believe, but rather they smash down other people's believes to make their beliefs look better. Which makes me wonder how strong their conviction in their beliefs truly are. The fact is this. There are utter jerks that are part of every single religion that has, is, or ever well exist that make your entire religion look bad. There are good people as well. There are both good and bad people that don't believe in anything. And the same game can be played for every single political party out there. I personally feel that religion is what it is, politics are what they are, and when they mix, it is like mixing gasoline and fire.
• United States
10 May 12
Atheists more or less have the same civil rights as anyone else who isn't Christian. Actually, they have probably been the sole voice of religious equality by taking no sides and actually removing all religion from government. Of course, when you go to do governmental duties, you need to put down you're cell phone, pizza, and religious books and go to work. It's fine to represent a majority interest and serve the greater good in most cases, but if you want to claim freedom, you can't let majority rule be detrimental to the minority. What really get's me is the Christians claiming that what they do is fine because it's what the majority wants. There will come a day when Christianity won't be what the majority wants and you'll be eating those as words. The next time you say it's okay because Christians are the majority, just ask yourself if you'd be okay with In Allah We Trust on your money... one nation, indivisible, under Allah... Basically if you wouldn't stand for a different religion doing it as the majority, then you're not representing a majority interest, you're being an oppressive majority, and deserving of all the repercussions that come along with being an oppressor.
@adforme (2116)
10 May 12
Civil rights are for everyone. I do not necessarily believe that America ignores the civil and political rights of atheists. Some Americans may have problems with atheists; but one is free to be that. Freedom of religion is one of the founding principles of the constitution. This includes having no religion at all. There is a separation of church and state in the United States of America, and religion should not influence candidates or voters. Unfortunately, it is a factor in the minds of many voters. If a candidate running for office discloses his religious denomination, it can be detrimental, even if he or she has a good political platform. Religion is weaved tightly in the fabric that is the United States of America, and is a reason for some opinions of certain ideals, but having no religion is also acceptable, just not very popular. The laws allowing for the civil rights of the citizens of the United States of America are to protect every citizen, no matter what his or her religion or lack thereof.
@pogi253 (1587)
• Philippines
10 May 12
The point is there is still quite a lot of prejudgment about atheism. Religious people who transpire to still be the preponderance in the world are mostly regarded as warm-hearted, good natured and philosophical people, while atheists have a positive egotistic, soulless stigma to them. The distress is that people don't often realize that there is so much to have faith in without having to believe in God. I guess this is because since the beginning of society most of humanity has always believed in God in some form or another - hence atheist are still the odd ones out and perhaps will continue to be so for long to come.
• United States
10 May 12
Atheist is a weird term because it refers to people who claim to have no religion but i have friends who claim the religion of their parents but have never done anything like pray or go to church. So if your referring to people who do not practice religion and claim it proudly as i do then you are correct that we have little representation. Separation of church and state is also a joke with Rick Santorum while in the Republican primary election used religion on the forefront of most of his standpoints and the prayer in Congress we can argue that while Christianity isn't the largest religion in the United States anymore this is a Christian country. I believe that in time this will change as many people are converting to more western religions and disavowing religion as a whole.
• United States
10 May 12
Very interesting topic. I am probably an atheist, and I really don't care if other people flaunt their religion as long as you don't expect me to. There is NO legal separation of church and state, that is just how it is. I don't think that atheist are not like, they used by many on the right as a boggy man with their war on things like Christmas. But, many atheist aren't mad about other religions expressing their views, it is only when they expect others to accept their views, and embrass them.
@albto_568 (1269)
• Costa Rica
9 May 12
Well,I am not and does not live in the United States but, I do not believe that atheists civil rights are being denied, not for the examples you propose, we can argue if a chaplain in the congress of a secular state is out of place or don´t, or,if there is one from one religion, it should be one for every religion, wich is, of course, ridiculous and out of the question, but, does this deny or diminish rights from people who does not believe in such things?, I don´t think so. If Obama speaks about religion in his speaches is because most people belong to any religion, or, at least, believe in a superior being, not to mention this because of atheists wouldn´t deny rights of the most, in benefit of the least?. I think that atheists rights would be denied if they were forced to belong to a religion to get the chance to get justice, wealth or education.