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Atheists Face Discrimination And Persecution According To Report

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http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/12/10/15814394-like-lesser-americans-atheists-face-discrimination-persecution-report-says

'Like lesser Americans': Atheists face discrimination, persecution, report says

GENEVA -- Atheists and other religious skeptics suffer persecution or discrimination in many parts of the world and in at least seven countries can be executed if their beliefs become known, according to a report issued Monday.

The study, from the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU), showed that "unbelievers" in Islamic countries face the most severe -- sometimes brutal -- treatment at the hands of the state and adherents of the official religion.

But it also points to policies in some European countries and the United States that favor the religious and their organizations and treat atheists and humanists as outsiders.

The report, "Freedom of Thought 2012," said "there are laws that deny atheists' right to exist, curtail their freedom of belief and expression, revoke their right to citizenship, restrict their right to marry."


Other laws "obstruct their access to public education, prohibit them from holding public office, prevent them from working for the state, criminalize their criticism of religion, and execute them for leaving the religion of their parents."

In the United States, for example, where freedom of religion and speech is protected, a social and political climate prevails "in which atheists and the non-religious are made to feel like lesser Americans, or non-Americans," the report said.

In at least seven U.S. states, constitutional provisions are in place that bar atheists from public office and one state, Arkansas, has a law that bars atheists from testifying as witnesses at trials, the report said.

Atheist billboard hits snag in Hasidic neighborhood

"It is often not the case that when people hear of freedom of religion they interpret that in terms of the non-religious too," Bob Churchill, a spokesperson for IHEU, told NBC News. "This report shows clearly how people who mildly criticize religion may go on to suffer months or years in jail, even awaiting a death sentence."

The report was welcomed by Heiner Bielefeldt, U.N. special rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, who said in a brief introduction there was little awareness that atheists were covered by global human rights agreements.

The IHEU -- which links more than 120 humanist, atheist and secular organizations in more than 40 countries -- said it was issuing the report to mark the U.N.'s Human Rights Day on Monday.

According to its survey of some 60 countries, the seven where expression of atheist views or defection from the official religion can bring capital punishment are Afghanistan, Iran, Maldives, Mauritania, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Sudan.

Forced to lie
The 70-page report lists no recent cases of actual execution for "atheism" -- but researchers say the offence is often subsumed into other charges.

Atheists bill big names for 'coming out' party in the capital

In a range of other countries -- such as Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Kuwait and Jordan -- publication of atheist or humanist views on religion are totally banned or strictly limited under laws prohibiting "blasphemy."

In many of these countries, and others like Malaysia, citizens have to register as adherents of a small number officially-recognized religions -- which normally include no more than Christianity and Judaism as well as Islam.

Atheists and humanists are thereby forced to lie to obtain their official documents without which it is impossible to go to university, receive medical treatment, travel abroad or drive.

In Europe, sub-Saharan Africa and Latin and North America, countries which identify themselves as secular give privileges to or favor Christian churches in providing education and other public services, the IHEU said.

In Greece and Russia, the Orthodox Church is fiercely protected from criticism and is given pride of place on state occasions, while in Britain bishops of the Church of England have automatic seats in the upper house of parliament.

by on Dec. 10, 2012 at 7:49 AM
Replies (11-20):
romalove
by Roma on Dec. 10, 2012 at 8:24 AM


Quoting candlegal:

of course you haven't.

Quoting romalove:


Quoting candlegal:

Really, how many Christian posts have you made about athiests,    SHAME on you.  Whatever.

Quoting romalove:


Quoting candlegal:

I know what I meant and I meant what I said.

Quoting Greenstone920:

Don't you mean how many people Christians have killed?  Because Christians have killed more in the name of their religion than any other religion known to man.

Quoting candlegal:

I wonder if as many athiests have been killed for their lack of religion as Christians have been for theirs?

Quoting romalove:

I thought I might put some perspective here for those who like to cry "persecution"....




The answer is religion in general has been massively destructive to humanity and has killed millions upon millions over time.

The other answer is, there are thread after thread about how Christians are persecuted because instead of Merry Christmas they hear Happy Holidays and atheists wanting a place on the courthouse lawn alongside the Nativity is persecution.

And you take this thread about atheist persecution and try to make it about Christians.

Shame on you.


None.


I haven't.

If you think I have, show me.

IhartU
by Gold Member on Dec. 10, 2012 at 8:25 AM
1 mom liked this

 

Where Atheists Can't Hold Office

 

IhartU
by Gold Member on Dec. 10, 2012 at 8:27 AM
2 moms liked this

 

The constitutions of these six US states ban atheists from holding public office:

Arkansas:
"No person who denies the being of a God shall hold any office in the civil departments of this State, nor be competent to testify as a witness in any Court."
 
Maryland:
"That no religious test ought ever to be required as a qualification for any office of profit or trust in this State, other than a declaration of belief in the existence of God; nor shall the Legislature prescribe any other oath of office than the oath prescribed by this Constitution.”
 
Mississippi:
"No person who denies the existence of a Supreme Being shall hold any office in this state."
 
South Carolina:
"No person who denies the existence of a Supreme Being shall hold any office under this Constitution."
 
Tennessee:
"No person who denies the being of God, or a future state of rewards and punishments, shall hold any office in the civil department of this state."
Texas:
"No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office, or public trust, in this State; nor shall any one be excluded from holding office on account of his religious sentiments, provided he acknowledge the existence of a Supreme Being."

A seventh state constitution discriminates against atheists by affording special protection to theists only.

Pennsylvania:
"No person who acknowledges the being of a God and a future state of rewards and punishments shall, on account of his religious sentiments, be disqualified to hold any office or place of trust or profit under this Commonwealth."
romalove
by Roma on Dec. 10, 2012 at 8:27 AM
2 moms liked this


Quoting IhartU:

 

Where Atheists Can't Hold Office

 

But America is secular, remember?

SMH

IhartU
by Gold Member on Dec. 10, 2012 at 8:30 AM

 United States

Billboard posted in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania in February 2008

Discrimination against atheists in the United States occurs in legal, social and professional contexts. Some American atheists compare their situation to the discrimination faced by 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, six state constitutions officially 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 nineteenth 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.

Few politicians have been willing to identify as non-theists, since until recently such revelations would have been considered "political suicide", until Democratic California Representative Pete Stark's 2007 decision to come out 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 his 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 atheistic journalist Robert Sherman about the equal citizenship and patriotism of American atheists, Sherman reports 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." The accuracy of the quote has been questioned, however, as Sherman did not tape the exchange and no other journalist reported on it at the time.

 However, 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."

romalove
by Roma on Dec. 10, 2012 at 8:33 AM
1 mom liked this


Quoting IhartU:

 United States

Billboard posted in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania in February 2008

Discrimination against atheists in the United States occurs in legal, social and professional contexts. Some American atheists compare their situation to the discrimination faced by 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, six state constitutions officially 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 nineteenth 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.

Few politicians have been willing to identify as non-theists, since until recently such revelations would have been considered "political suicide", until Democratic California Representative Pete Stark's 2007 decision to come out 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 his 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 atheistic journalist Robert Sherman about the equal citizenship and patriotism of American atheists, Sherman reports 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." The accuracy of the quote has been questioned, however, as Sherman did not tape the exchange and no other journalist reported on it at the time.

 However, 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."

What I made bigger.

In the comments section of this article on the website, there is a military captain who talks about being an atheist in the military.

It's really sad.

Bookwormy
by Platinum Member on Dec. 10, 2012 at 8:33 AM
1 mom liked this
Doesn't this violate the US constitution? Terrible!!!


Quoting romalove:


Quoting IhartU:

 


Where Atheists Can't Hold Office


 


But America is secular, remember?

SMH


Posted on the NEW CafeMom Mobile
romalove
by Roma on Dec. 10, 2012 at 8:34 AM
1 mom liked this


Quoting Bookwormy:

Doesn't this violate the US constitution? Terrible!!!


Quoting romalove:


Quoting IhartU:

 


Where Atheists Can't Hold Office


 


But America is secular, remember?

SMH


Yes, it does.

But it's atheists so no one cares.

IhartU
by Gold Member on Dec. 10, 2012 at 8:35 AM

 

Quoting romalove:


Quoting Bookwormy:

Doesn't this violate the US constitution? Terrible!!!


Quoting romalove:


Quoting IhartU:

 


Where Atheists Can't Hold Office


 


But America is secular, remember?

SMH


Yes, it does.

But it's atheists so no one cares.

  This is it exactly.

Sekirei
by Nari Trickster on Dec. 10, 2012 at 8:36 AM
1 mom liked this

Remember... atheists are worth less than pagans and heathens... <Sarcasm

and of course... some would want to derail the conversation

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