Read this and see how it makes you feel:
The president of a gay rights group says that there are 28 members of Congress who are gay or lesbian, but only one of them feels comfortable revealing that fact.
Gay Coalition of America (GCA) president Bob Silverman told The Guardian that his group was aware of many members of Congress who weren’t ready to make their orientation known.
“Privately, we know that there are 27 other members of Congress who have same-sex attractions and relationships,” Silverman claimed. “But we don’t ‘out’ people.”
I’m purposely misquoting the real article, here:
The president of a secular group says that there are 28 members of Congress who do not believe in God, but only one of them feels comfortable revealing his lack of faith.
Secular Coalition of America (SCA) president Herb Silverman told The Guardian that his group was aware of many members of Congress who weren’t ready to make their non-beliefs known.
“Privately, we know that there are 27 other members of Congress that have no belief in God,” Silverman claimed. “But we don’t ‘out’ people.”
… to make a point about the need to mask one’s real beliefs in our Christian-dominated society.
Bear in mind that I am NOT suggesting an exact parallel. Though I feel that I, personally, couldn’t be anything but an atheist, knowing what I know, the element of choice in atheism makes it significantly different from sexual orientation.
But the two situations are similar in other ways, including the issue of hiding/outing.
Revealing yourself as an atheist in any state in the U.S. would probably be the death of a state- or national-level political career.
“Nontheistic Americans, including humanists, are the group most likely to be discriminated against for their convictions,” Edwords said in a press release congratulating [Pete] Stark. “Recent polls show that fewer than 50 percent of Americans would vote for an atheist presidential candidate, even if that candidate is well qualified… Americans still feel it’s acceptable to discriminate against atheists in ways considered beyond the pale for other groups.”
California Democrat Pete Stark, the one admitted humanist, says something cool:
I would confine God to currency, constitutional control, and colloquialisms like ‘Godspeed’ and ‘gadzooks.’ Then we can begin to deal with the real problems in the world, such as those related to education, health care, poverty, and human rights. But we can’t move ahead if we’re going to tolerate abstinence-only training, creationism, denial of environmental destruction, and oppression of reason.
But on the issue of hiding, masking your true self … Hey, I wrote a book about atheism, and I STILL find myself shutting my mouth in certain social situations. To keep the peace. I’m still, sometimes, the shocking freak who has to hide in order to avoid causing a scene.
Society-wide, I would like that to change.
We still have quite some distance to go.