RE: virus: Rabid Atheists, Religion in America, and Islam

Sodom (
Mon, 22 Feb 1999 10:30:37 -0500

When George Bush was vice-president he made a comment that he did not think that atheists could be good citizens. While such sentiments are far too prevelant for me to get disturbed about them, the thing that got my attention
the most about the situation was the total lack of public response to it. If
he had said this about any other minority worldview, say Jews, Muslims, Bhuddhists, or even some more obscure sect of Jains, with the only possible exception of Satanists, I think public response would have be very noticible and punishing.

Here is the exchange between Bush and Robert I. Sherman of American Atheist Press August of 88

Goto for the source.

"What will you do to win the votes of Americans who are atheists?"
"I guess I'm pretty weak in the atheist community. Faith in God is important
to me."
"Surely you recognize the equal citizenship and patriotism of Americans who
are atheists?"
"No, I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should
they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God." RS:
"Do you support as a sound constitutional principle the separation of state
and church?"
"Yes, I support the separation of church and state. I'm just not very high
on atheists."

Fortunately our lack of culturally visible manifestations, and our ability to
silently or even deceptively coexist within a more religiously dominated culture, keeps me from feeling any actual sense of oppression. And the commonality of atheist "invisibility" suggests to me, that on the whole atheists are very unrabid.

I agree that we are, as a group, very unrabid. I am very careful as to where and when I deal socially with being an Atheist, and I do feel quite oppressed.

My theory on why America is so different about religion, is that the initial tone of our religious environment was set by religious outcasts from Britain and Europe, who on the whole were far more religious than the societies from which they were fleeing. This combined with the fact that fresh frontiers for
several centuries provided many opportunities for subsequent religious factions to play out their theocratic fantasies, where British and European societies would have had much less tolerance for these flighty escapades. On
the whole we all take religion far more seriously.

Good point

I think things are changing though. I predict after this millenial madness subsides and dies (I think around 2011), that we will become a lot more British in our attitudes about religion. In fact, I can even imagine atheists
reaching higher percentages of the population in both Britain and America. Though I don't predict that religion will die out in the forseeable future, and will probably remain a significant force.

I think the next religious crisis will be a very large insurgence of Islam, and their currently more limited tolerance for secularism. As far as I see it, Islam is immune to Y2K maddness (they have a different schedule), is not on the same cultural track as Christianity, and is quietly making very significant inroads into both minority and immigrant populations.

I think what we are looking at with Islam will be a function of social/financial status. I think that Islam will succeed in places where social class and poverty are at their worst. If our country can spread the wealth about, and offer opportunity, then Islam will not gain a good footing here. Also, the large percentage of Women that are powerful in this country, and there will only be more in the future (what could be better?), Islam will really struggle as subjugation of Women is vital for Islam to function. WOOHOO - lets put the Women in charge!!!

Bill Roh