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Discrimination against atheists, both at present and historically,

includes the persecution of those identifying themselves or labeled

by others as atheists, as well as the discrimination against them.

As  atheism  can be defined in various ways, those discriminated

against on the grounds of being atheists might not have been

considered as such in a different time or place. As of 2015, 19

countries punish their citizens for apostasy, and in 13 of those

countries it is punishable by death.

 

Legal discrimination against atheists is uncommon in constitutional

democracies, although some atheists and atheist groups,

particularly in the United States, have protested against laws,

regulations, and institutions that they view as discriminatory. In

some Islamic countries, atheists face discrimination and severe

penalties such as the withdrawal of legal status or, in the case of

 apostasy , capital punishment.

 

Some historians, such as Lucien Febvre, have postulated that

atheism in its modern sense did not exist before the end of the

seventeenth century. However, as governmental authority rested

on the notion of  divine right , it was threatened by those who

denied the existence of the local god. Those labelled as atheist,

including early Christians and Muslims, were as a result targeted

for legal persecution.

 

During the early modern period, the term "atheist" was used as an

insult and applied to a broad range of people, including those who

held opposing theological beliefs, as well as suicides, immoral or

self-indulgent people, and even opponents of the belief in

witchcraft. Atheistic beliefs were seen as threatening to order and

society by philosophers such as Thomas Aquinas. Lawyer and

scholar  Thomas More  said that religious tolerance should be

extended to all except those who did not believe in a deity or the

immortality of the soul. John Locke, a founder of modern notions of religious liberty, argued

that atheists (as well as Catholics and Muslims) should not be granted full citizenship rights. 

 

During the  Inquisition , several of those accused of atheism or blasphemy, or both, were

tortured or executed. These included the priest Giulio Cesare Vanini who was strangled and

burned in 1619 and the Polish nobleman Kazimierz Łyszczyński who was executed in Warsaw,

as well as Etienne Dolet, a Frenchman executed in 1546. Though heralded as atheist martyr

during the nineteenth century, recent scholars hold that the beliefs espoused by Dolet and

Vanini are not atheistic in modern terms.

 

During the nineteenth century, British atheists, though few in number, were subject to

discriminatory practices. The poet Percy Bysshe Shelley was expelled from the University of

Oxford and denied custody of his two children after publishing a pamphlet titled

 The Necessity of Atheism . Those unwilling to swear Christian oaths during judicial

proceedings were unable to give evidence in court to obtain justice until this requirement was

repealed by Acts passed in 1869 and 1870.

 

 Atheist Charles Bradlaugh  was elected as a Member of the British Parliament in 1880. He was

denied the right to affirm rather than swear his oath of office, and was then denied the ability to

swear the oath as other Members objected that he had himself said it would be meaningless.

Bradlaugh was re-elected three times before he was finally able to take his seat in 1886 when the

Speaker of the House permitted him to take the oath.

 

In Germany during the Nazi era, a 1933 decree stated that "No National Socialist may suffer

detriment... on the ground that he does not make any religious profession at all". However, the

regime strongly opposed " godless communism ", and most of Germany's atheist and largely left-

wing free thought organisations were banned the same year; some right-wing groups were

tolerated by the Nazis until the mid-1930s. During negotiations leading to the Nazi-Vatican Concordat of April 26, 1933 Hitler stated that "Secular schools can never be tolerated" because of their irreligious tendencies. Hitler routinely disregarded this undertaking, and the Reich concordat as a whole and by 1939, all Catholic denominational schools had been disbanded or converted to public facilities.

 

In a speech made later in 1933, Hitler claimed to have "stamped out" the Gottlosenbewegung atheistic movement. The word Hitler used, " Gottlosenbewegung ", means "Godless Movement" in German, and refers to the communist free thought movement, though might not refer to atheism in general. The historian Richard J. Evans wrote that, by 1939, 95% of Germans still called themselves Protestant or Catholic, while 3.5% were so called "gottgläubig" (lit. "believers in god", a non-denominational nazified outlook on god beliefs, often described as predominately based on creationist and deistic views) and 1.5% atheist. According to Evans, those members of the affiliation gottgläubig "were convinced Nazis who had left their Church at the behest of the Party, which had been trying since the mid 1930s to reduce the influence of Christianity in society". Heinrich Himmler, who was fascinated with Germanic paganism, was a strong promoter of the gottgläubig movement and didn't allow atheists into the SS, arguing that their "refusal to acknowledge higher powers" would be a "potential source of indiscipline". The majority of the three million Nazi Party members continued to pay their church taxes and register as either Roman Catholic or Evangelical Protestant Christians.

 

 

"TITTER YE NOT"

******************

Four nuns are standing

in line at the gates of

heaven. Peter asks the

first if she has ever

sinned.

"Well, once I looked at a man's penis," she said.

"Put some of this holy

water on your eyes and

you may enter heaven," Peter told her. 

He then asked the

second nun if she had

ever sinned.

"Well, once I held a man's penis," she

replied. "Put your hand in this holy water and you may enter heaven," he said. 

Just then the fourth nun pushed ahead of the third nun. 

"Why did you push

ahead in line?" asked Peter.

"Because I want to gargle before she sits in it!"

replied the nun. 

******************

 

Mother Superior calls all

the nuns together and

says to them:

                     "I must tell

you all something. We

have a case of gonorrhea

in the convent." 

"Thank God," says an

elderly nun at the back of the room, "I'm so tired of Chardonnay." 

 

******************

 

Jesus walks into a motel, throws a bag of nails on

the counter and says,

"Can you put me up for the night?"

 

******************

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A 2009 survey showed that atheists are the

most hated demographic group in Brazil,

among several other minorities polled, being

almost on par with drug addicts. According to

the research, 17% of the interviewees stated

they feel either  hate or repulsion for atheists ,

while 25% feel antipathy and 29% are

indifferent.

 

Canadian secular humanist groups have

worked to end the recitation of prayers during

government proceedings, viewing them as

discriminatory. Scouts Canada states that

while a belief in God or affiliation with

organized religion is not a requirement to join,

members must have " a basic spiritual belief "

and one of the core values is "Duty to God:

Defined as, the responsibility to adhere to

spiritual principles, and thus to the religion that

expresses them, and to accept the duties there

from."

 

Discrimination against atheists in the United

State occurs in legal, personal, social, and

professional contexts. Some American atheists compare their situation to the discrimination faced bye ethnic minorities, LGBT

communities, and women. "Americans still feel it's acceptable to discriminate against atheists in ways considered beyond the pale

for other groups," asserted  Fred Edwords  of the American Humanist Association.

 

INFIDEL One Who Does Not Believe In Your God

A 2009 survey showed that atheists are the

most hated demographic group in Brazil,

among several other minorities polled, being

almost on par with drug addicts. According to

the research, 17% of the interviewees stated

they feel either  hate or repulsion for atheists ,

while 25% feel antipathy and 29% are

indifferent.

 

Canadian secular humanist groups have

worked to end the recitation of prayers during

government proceedings, viewing them as

discriminatory. Scouts Canada states that

while a belief in God or affiliation with

organized religion is not a requirement to join,

members must have " a basic spiritual belief "

and one of the core values is

"Duty to God:

                     Defined as, the responsibility to

adhere to spiritual principles, and thus to the

religion that expresses them, and to accept the

duties there from."

 

Discrimination against atheists in the United State occurs in legal, personal, social, and professional contexts. Some American atheists compare their situation to the discrimination faced bye ethnic minorities, LGBT communities, and women. "Americans still feel it's acceptable to discriminate against atheists in ways considered beyond the pale for other groups," asserted  Fred Edwords 

of the American Humanist Association.

 

However, other atheists reject these comparisons, arguing that while atheists may face disapproval, they have not faced significant  oppression  or discrimination.

 

In the United States, seven state constitutions include religious tests that would effectively prevent atheists from holding public office, and in some cases being a juror/witness, though these have not generally been enforced since the early twentieth century. The U.S. Constitution allows for an affirmation instead of an oath in order to accommodate atheists and others in court or seeking to hold public office. In 1961, the United States Supreme Court explicitly overturned the Maryland provision in the Torcaso v Watkins decision, holding that laws requiring "a belief in the existence of God" in order to hold public office violated freedom of religion provided for by the  First Amendment to the United States Constitution . This decision is generally understood to also apply to witness oaths.

 

Several American atheists have used court challenges to assert discrimination against atheists. Michael Newdow challenged inclusion of the phrase "under God" in the United States Pledge of Allegiance on behalf of his daughter, claiming that the phrase

was discriminatory against non-theists. He won the case at an initial stage, but the Supreme Court dismissed his claim, ruling that Newdow did not have standing to bring his case, thus disposing of the case without ruling on the constitutionality of the pledge.

Respondents to a survey were less likely to support a kidney transplant for hypothetical atheists and agnostics needing it, than for Christian patients with similar medical needs. As the Boy Scouts of America does not allow atheists as members, atheist families

and the  ACLU  from the 1990s onwards have launched a series of court cases arguing discrimination against atheists. In response to ACLU lawsuits, the Pentagon in 2004 ended sponsorship of Scouting units, and in 2005 the BSA agreed to transfer all Scouting units out of government entities such as public schools.

 

Religion Is Responsible

Few politicians have been willing to identify as non-theists, since such revelations have been

considered "political suicide". In a landmark move, California Representative Pete Stark came out in

2007 as the first openly nontheistic member of Congress. In 2009, City Councilman Cecil Bothwell

of Asheville, North Carolina was called "unworthy of his seat" because of his open atheism. Several

polls have shown that about 50 percent of Americans would not vote for a qualified atheist for

president. A 2006 study found that 40% of respondents characterized atheists as a group that did

"not at all agree with my vision of American society", and that 48% would not want their child to

marry an atheist. In both studies, percentages of disapproval of atheists were above those for

Muslims, African-Americans and homosexuals. Many of the respondents associated atheism with

immorality, including criminal behaviour, extreme materialism, and elitism. Atheists and atheist

organizations have alleged discrimination against atheists in the military, and recently, with the

development of the Army's Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program, atheists

have alleged  institutionalized discrimination . In several child custody court

rulings, atheist parents have been discriminated against, either directly or

indirectly. As child custody laws in the United States are often based on the

"best interests of the child" principle, they leave family court judges ample room

to consider a parent's ideology when settling a custody case. Atheism, lack of

religious observation and regular church attendance, and the inability to prove

one's willingness and capacity to attend to religion with one's children, have

been used to deny custody to non-religious parents.

 

Prominent atheists and atheist groups have said that discrimination against

atheists is illustrated by a statement reportedly made by George H. W. Bush

during a public press conference just after announcing his candidacy for the

presidency in 1987. When asked by journalist Robert Sherman about the equal citizenship and  patriotism of American atheists , Sherman reported that Bush answered, "No, I don't know that atheists should be regarded as citizens, nor should they be regarded as patriotic. This is one nation under God." However, Sherman did not tape the exchange and no other journalist reported on it at

the time. George H. W. Bush's son, George W. Bush, acknowledged those who do not worship during a November 3, 2004 press conference when he said "I will be your president regardless of your faith... And if they choose not to worship, they're just as patriotic as your neighbor."

 

The Best And Worst In People

 FAITHLESS 

 GOD IS MY DJ 

God Is A DJ
Faithless
God Is A DJ

Atheists, and those accused of defection from the official religion,

may be subject to discrimination and persecution in many Islamic countries. According to the International Humanist and Ethical Union, compared to other nations, "unbelievers... in Islamic countries face

the most severe – sometimes brutal – treatment". Atheists and religious skeptics can be executed in these twelve nations:

                                                                                            Afghanistan,

Iran, Maldives, Mauritania, Nigeria, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia,

Somalia, Sudan, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen.

According to popular interpretations of Islam, Muslims are not free to change religion or become an atheist:

                                                             denying Islam  and thus becoming an apostate is traditionally punished by death for men and by life imprisonment for women. The death penalty for apostasy is apparent in a range of Islamic states.

 

Although there have been no recently reported executions in Saudi Arabia, a judge in Saudi Arabia has recently recommended that imprisoned blogger  Raif Badawi  go before a high court on a charge of apostasy, which would carry the death penalty upon conviction.

While a death sentence is rare, it is common for atheists to be charged with blasphemy or inciting hatred.

 

New "Arab Spring" regimes in Tunisia and Egypt have jailed several outspoken atheists.

 

Since an apostate can be considered a Muslim whose beliefs cast doubt on the Divine, and or Koran, claims of atheism and

apostasy have been made against Muslim scholars and political opponents throughout history Both fundamentalists and moderates agree that "blasphemers will not be forgiven" although they disagree on the severity of an appropriate punishment. In north western

Syria in 2013 during the Syrian Civil War, jihadists beheaded and defaced a sculpture of  Al-Maʿarri (973–1058 CE) , one of several outspoken Arab and Persian atheist intellectuals who lived and taught during the Islamic Golden Age.

 

Jordan requires atheists to associate themselves with a recognised religion for official identification purposes. In Egypt, intellectuals suspected of holding atheistic beliefs have been prosecuted by judicial and religious authorities.  Novelist Alaa Hamad  was

convicted of publishing a book that contained atheistic ideas and apostasy that were considered to threaten national unity and social peace.

 

Several Bangladeshi atheists have been assassinated, and a "hit list" exists issued by the Bangladesh iIslamic organization, the

 Ansarullah Bangla Team . Activist atheist bloggers are leaving Bangladesh under threat of assassination.

Religion Is Rubbish

Atheists in Indonesia experience official discrimination in the context of registration of births and marriages, and the issuance of identity cards. In 2012,  Atheist Alexander Aan  was beaten by a mob, lost his job as a civil servant and was sentenced to two and a half years in jail for expressing his views online.

 

In Iran, atheism is not recognised as a belief in a legal sense. The law specifies that all citizens must declare themselves as Muslim, Christian, Jewish or  Zoroastrian , with

adherents of the latter three religions counted as religious minorities. The four recognised religions provide rights such as applying for entrance to university, or becoming a lawyer, with the position of judge reserved for Muslims only.

 

The Penal Code is also based upon the religious affiliation of the victim and perpetrator, with the punishment often more times severe on non-Muslims. Numerous writers, thinkers and philanthropists have been accused of apostasy and sentenced to death for questioning the prevailing interpretation of Islam in Iran. The  Iranian Atheists Association  was established

in 2013 to form a platform for Iranian atheists to start debates and to question the current Islamic regime's attitude towards atheists, apostasy, and human rights.

In March 2014, the  Saudi interior ministry  issued a royal decree branding all atheists as terrorists, which defines terrorism as "calling for atheist thought in any form, or calling into question the fundamentals of the Islamic religion on which this country is based".

Compulsory religious instruction in Turkish schools is also considered discriminatory towards atheists.

 The United Church Of Bacon 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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