Welp, I read quite possibly the dumbest pro-atheist article ever written. Congratulations, sociologists Gregory Paul and Phil Zuckerman! Let’s take it point by point, shall we?
Long after blacks and Jews have made great strides, and even as homosexuals gain respect, acceptance and new rights, there is still a group that lots of Americans just don’t like much: atheists. Those who don’t believe in God are widely considered to be immoral, wicked and angry. They can’t join the Boy Scouts. Atheist soldiers are rated potentially deficient when they do not score as sufficiently “spiritual” in military psychological evaluations. Surveys find that most Americans refuse or are reluctant to marry or vote for nontheists; in other words, nonbelievers are one minority still commonly denied in practical terms the right to assume office despite the constitutional ban on religious tests.
So, the historical (and contemporary) plight of blacks, Jews, and homosexuals is roughly equivalent to the horrific discrimination atheists face every day? Because we can’t join the Boy Scouts? All right, that checks out. I’m with you so far… Wait a second. I just remembered trying to join the Boy Scouts isn’t the same thing as being denied employment or the right to marry. That makes this line of reasoning moronic. We can’t join a private youth organization, greatly reducing opportunities to be sexually abused at the hands of “mentally awake, morally straight,” typically ardent Christian adults—DISCRIMINATION!! We have the right to be molested and traumatized as children, just like all God-fearing American citizens!
Next point: we can join the military, but we may be labeled “potentially deficient.” Boo fucking hoo. That’s not exactly on the level of being outright rejected on the basis of sexual orientation, or having to live with the half-assed compromise of “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Also, frankly, I think in military terms, the average atheist would be “deficient.” The entire purpose of the military—the reason for the psychological abuse inflicted in boot camp, and punishment meted out during service—is to encourage subjugation to the group. You are not an individual; you are a cog in a well-oiled machine.
In psychological terms, it’s much easier to “break” a person of a religious background, since all religions share a common purpose with military thinking: you are subordinate to the group/church/God/beliefs you either chose or were born into, just as you are subordinate to the orders and chain of command the moment you enlist. Not all atheists are rugged individualists like myself, but most tend to think for themselves and stray from conventional thoughts or ideas. They will speak out and buck the system. In military terms, they’ll hot dog. They’re much more likely to end up like James Garner in Tank than Adolphe Menjou in Paths of Glory. That, to military brass, would make them “deficient.” The military does not reward enterprise and individuality; such things lead to defiance of ridiculous orders from incompetent leaders, and where would the military be if that happened on a regular basis?
And let’s not forget the adage that there are no atheists in a foxhole. A “deficiency” of atheists in the military is their lack of belief in God or an afterlife, right? If they don’t think God will help them survive in combat, or if they don’t think they’ll go on to their reward, they may be less likely to make “heroic” sacrifices. “May be” is the key phrase, because if you’re fighting alongside people you genuinely care about, is your belief that there is no heaven going to make you any less likely to jump on a live grenade to protect your unit? It depends on the person, in the exact same way it depends on the person of faith. But I could see a very reasonable argument that atheists would be less likely to make heroic sacrifices, because frankly, we value life more. We don’t see it as an endless parade of misery, and that the worse it is, the better it’ll be in heaven. That is a bullshit ideology that leads to complacency and despair, the assumption that all humans are the ragdolls of a malevolent universe (or worse, a malevolent God), so why bother taking action to change it? After all, we can’t change anything. We have no control. Blech. What a load of garbage.
The last point in this paragraph is the craziest and stupidest: that atheists are “denied… the right to assume office,” on religious grounds. Freedom of choice, motherfuckers. There is, as the authors point out, no legal basis whatsoever preventing atheists from seeking or holding public office (except in a handful of southern states, which this article doesn’t even mention to bolster its retarded arguments—but it’s moot, because that’s their right, just as it’s my right not to live there). No atheist would be punished for running a campaign, except perhaps in wasted time, money, and effort. But we live in a country where everybody’s allowed to vote for the candidate they choose. If voters choose spirituality and faith over logic and reason, that’s their nightmare; it’s not discrimination. And atheists have held these rights since the Constitution was ratified, unlike many minority groups who had to fight for the right simply to run for office.