Beth Birnbaum writes powerfully about being an Atheist of Jewish descent living in New York. From the ‘freezerbox’ site:
One woman, a Born-Again Christian, begged me to allow her to tell my children about Jesus before their lack of religion led them to a life of crime. (According to the poll, atheists are considered most prone to moral indiscretions and criminal behavior.) I countered by offering to tell her children that there was no God, along with a crash course in comparative mythology. She declined.
Christmas Eve, 2004, her two sons committed a very public stabbing, killing one man and severely wounding another, then viciously kicked them both. Apparently they didn’t like the way the victims looked at them in a movie theatre.
Bimbaum speaks about the University of Minnesota poll on acceptance of religious diversity. From this poll:
Even though atheists are few in number, not formally organized and relatively hard to publicly identify, they are seen as a threat to the American way of life by a large portion of the American public.
I’m a threat to the “American way of life?” How?
Well, let’s see – I believe in the support of personal freedoms. “An it harm none, do what thou will” is a laudable credo. Of course, this is a difficult philosophy to follow since it is often difficult to determine if someone is being harmed or not. Also, who decides if someone is being harmed?
If you listen to the religious majority, things like gay marriage, women’s reproductive rights, and even Atheism are harmful. I don’t agree obviously. I believe that things like the erosion of Church – State separation, ex-gay ministries, and the systematic gutting of personal liberties are extremely harmful – and I work to combat these atrocities.
Am I a threat to the American way of life because I tutor illiterate adults in reading and writing? Am I threat because I have a decent job? Am I a threat because I don’t regularly act like a pious Christian every Sunday and then do what ever I want to do the rest of the week, like the religious majority?