Religious freedom debate now includes atheists — a.k.a. the least-accepted group in politics

Apr 7, 2015

Image via WISCTV

By Hunter Schwarz

The same week Indiana lawmakers introduced LGBT protections as a response to outrage over their so-called religious freedom bill, Madison, Wis., added another group to its own protected class.

Atheism will now receive the same protections for employment, housing, and public accommodations as other groups after the city council there voted unanimously for the addition to the ordinance, according to WISC-TV. The protected class list in Madison previously included the usual sex, race, religion, and age specifications, but it also protects for things like physical appearance and if someone declines to disclose his or her social security number.

No group faces more discrimination in politics than atheists, according to a 2012 Gallup poll. The poll found 43 percent of voters said they would not vote for an atheist candidate for president — a higher percentage than Muslims or gays and lesbians.


There are currently no openly atheist members of Congress. Maggie Ardiente of the American Humanist Association claimed there are 24 who told her group privately they were closet atheists, during an interview with Religion News Service last year, but there’s no way to confirm that number. And although it’s not enforced, there are eight states in which atheists technically cannot hold office: Arkansas, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South, Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas.

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8 comments on “Religious freedom debate now includes atheists — a.k.a. the least-accepted group in politics

  • The forces of reaction meet the God of Mammon !

    Now what would Jesus do ? Go into the desert and give all his stuff away ? Now that wouldn’t very “Christian”, would it ?

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  • Protected class?

    I wonder if it were a NOT Protected class list that anything at all would be on it, as it would show a states intended bias.

    A Protected class list on the other hand somewhat paints any intended bias in a multitude of grey shades.

    I say abolish this class list and just have EVERYONE as protected, regardless.

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  • “a.k.a. the least-accepted group in politics”

    It would be interesting to see how the religious views of candidates affect the voting preferences of atheists. Which are the least-accepted groups for atheists?

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  • Which are the least-accepted groups for atheists?

    I speak only for myself. The more irrational the less I am inclined to vote for them. That is not limited to religion but extends to all topics. One of the byproducts of being irrational is to believe without evidence, in supernatural events. But an irrational person may display that irrationality in believing that free market capitalism can grow exponentially, FOREVER, in a closed system. Impossible. They may believe that the individual has no obligation to the greater good. No responsibility. Like Rand Paul. They may believe that humans will all submit to socialism, with is an evolutionary impossibility. The free kicks in front of goal are the creationists and literalist scripture adherents. The global warming deniers and conspiracy theorists. All an immediate no vote.

    So in summary. The more irrational, the less chance I will vote for them. No evidence. No vote.

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  • Rather than a list of people you are NOT allowed to dicriminate against, have a list of those that you can discriminate against. Should be a very short list!

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  • I really feel for all of you in America…. I’m constantly flabbergasted at stories like this one. It must be horrible at times 🙁

    Anti-discrimination provisions in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) are adopted into all Australian human-rights legislation, and all new federal legislation is approved by the Human Rights Commission (removed from Parliament).
    It’s such a shame that the US gov can’t agree to do the same.

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