“The Atheist”: The Myth

“No, I don’t know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots.

This is one nation under God”

– George H.W. Bush during his Presidential campaign in 1987

There is a great stigma associated with atheists in the U.S. They are often seen as unpatriotic and immoral. However, this is only the tip of the iceberg.

According to a 2006 study in the American Sociological Review:

This Gallup poll result shows that Americans would sooner vote for a homosexual president than an atheist one.

“While rejection of Muslims may have spiked in post-9/11 America, rejection of atheists was higher.” Atheists were also considered more problematic than homosexuals, despite the recent controversies throughout the country over gay marriage.

“The Atheist,”as it exists in Americans’ minds, is especially significant because there are no real signs that would indicate a person is an atheist. Religion is still relatively taboo, and even observable behaviors such as attending a church service or wearing a cross pendant, do not clearly indicate a person’s faith. Thus, the negative beliefs associated with “the atheist,” go largely unchallenged by examples of real atheists unless they specifically identify themselves as such.

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