How Dare You Treat Atheists Like the Rest of Us?

The Wilson County fair had previously said those attendees who brought in a church bulletin would get a $2 discount on admission. This was illegal, considering it was a government-sponsored event, and atheists wanted a discount as well, so the county said they would also accept printouts from atheist websites. Good for them. Crisis averted.

Too bad some Christians in the area are still angry about it.

Check out this letter-to-the-editor in The Tennessean:

I am saddened to see that the Wilson County Fair caved in to pressure from atheist demands to be included on the discounts for God and Country Night at the fair. The fair is under no First Amendment obligation to offer the same discounts to those of no faith in God as it does to who have faith in God.

The First Amendment prohibits Congress from passing any law that establishes a national religion, it says nothing of county fairs offering discounts for showing a church bulletin.

Atheists are not harmed by the discount or kept from not acknowledging the God who created them. They could have walked up and paid the regular fair price just like anyone else that didn’t have a church bulletin and no one would have questioned them or persecuted them.

The idea that offering a discount for showing a church bulletin is a violation of the First Amendment is foolishness and atheists and their buddies at the ACLU should thank whoever it is they thank that they live in a country that tolerates fools as this one does. My sadness is that more and more our country is not just tolerating such fools, but that it is bowing to their absurd demands as the Wilson County Fair did in this case.

Steve Edmondson, Murfreesboro 37129

I’m amazed he could pack that much ignorance in so few paragraphs… No use ripping it apart point by point. I just thought it’d be good for a laugh.

Just keep in mind: the “absurd demands” atheists wanted was the same potential $2 off admission that everyone else was being offered.

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  • The Unbrainwashed

    I can just imagine the thought process that went into writing this letter. The first three paragraphs are illogical, but at least he attempts to give a rational take on the issue. But then in the last paragraph, i’m sure he said, “Fuck it,” and it devolves into name-calling.

    And as been stated over and over again, 4 billion people in this world consider him to be a “fool”.

  • Shane

    These people just seem to be so completely oblivious of reality and locked within their own tiny perspective. Just imagine if everyone got $2 off for presenting a used voodoo doll instead of a church bulletin and then do a little thinking–let the hamster you call a brain do a few laps on his wheel–and let me know what you come up with.

    And giving $2 off for having a church bulletin is exactly the same as charging everyone without a bulletin $2 more. Just like 2 for 1 pizza isn’t ever really 2 for 1 pizza–it’s just that if you only buy one pizza they will still charge you for two because they obviously want to boost their sales volume. It’s all just manipulative framing. I forget what point I was making but I’m hungry now…

  • My sadness is that more and more our country is not just tolerating such fools, but that it is bowing to their absurd demands as the Wilson County Fair did in this case.

    Ya, next thing you know women will want the vote.

  • Jacob Dink

    He makes the point that…

    “The First Amendment prohibits Congress from passing any law that establishes a national religion, it says nothing of county fairs offering discounts for showing a church bulletin.”


    “Although the First Amendment explicitly prohibits only the named rights from being abridged by laws made by the Congress, the Supreme Court has interpreted it as applying more broadly. As the first sentence in the body of the Constitution reserves all legislative authority to the Congress, the courts have held that the First Amendment’s terms also extend to the executive and judicial branches. Additionally, in the 20th century the Supreme Court held that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment applies the limitations of the First Amendment to each state, including any local government within a state.”

    Obviously, he cares not for the supreme court.

  • Doyle

    I sure do love living in Wilson County. It’s great to see all the sheep on a daily basis. I wished some of you would have gotten to see how proud they were of their faith at the fair. All too funny.

  • Radovan Karadzic

    I’ll bet next year they change it to the more traditional “get $2 off if you bring a can of food for our Food Bank”.

    Let’s hope they recycled all those church bulletins, rather than dump them in the landfill with the other garbage.

  • I loved the part when he says: “Atheists are not harmed by the discount or kept from not acknowledging the God who created them”.

    Anyway, I too hope next year they accept a food can or something on that line. It’s more useful, and hardly morally questionable.

  • EKM

    Does he object when organizations bow to the absurd demands of Christian groups? Of course, I bet he would call that “freedom”. It’s only “tolerating fools” when it is a group HE does not like.

  • AV

    Treating non-believers justly makes baby Jesus cry.

  • TXatheist

    Thanks Bruce, love the woman voting comment.

    And he’s actually wrong in the letter. Atheists are harmed financially by having to pay more. Yeah, yeah, I know it’s only 2 bucks but it’s still harm technically.

  • SarahH

    They’re still discriminating against people who don’t attend organizations.

    It really is silly… count me as another supporter of the canned foods idea, if they’re going to offer a discount at all.

  • Polly

    My problem wasn’t that they required some kind of act or pamphlet to get the discount. My problem was that it was a direct attempt to favor a specific religious act – going to church.

    ALL non church goers were discriminated against. Even if you’re a xian and you don’t like “institutionalized” churchianity, you were encouraged to participate in it anyway…by your government! (There are many of those.)

    Holding the “right” beliefs was not the issue. Going to a church was the issue. Why should a county event encourage church attendance?

  • Isn’t atheism a religion according to this particular brand of Christians who tend to complain about issues like this (conservative, fundie, etc)? And yet in issues like this atheism is suddenly not a religion?

  • I sent my congratulations to Blair Scott about this a while back. He and our other fellow Atheists did a splendid job. Perhaps next year the county will see fit to change the name of the “God and Country” fair. It is unconstitutional for a county fair to promote a religion. Many Christians don’t seem to comprehend that though. We have a similar situation going on in Tulsa at the moment. County money is being used to have a religious dedication ceremony for the new arena. It is a clear violation of Church and State but the local religious people think we who protest are just a bunch of evil troublemakers.

  • Being from the area, this is typical Middle Tennessee religious jackassery. How would you like to live with these people every day? It tries my patience sometimes, but it’s kinda neat to live in a place where you can get what you want just by telling people they will go to hell if they don’t do what you say.

  • Sure, it’s a nice victory, but while you fight a propaganda war with those you consider irrational, please do not misrepresent what actually happened.

    In a previous comment I noted that this was unlikely to be a government-sponsored event.

    Here you say “government-sponsored.” You know this how?

    I quickly found this:

    fair board, stockholders…this is most likely not a government-sponsored event, nor is it likely even on public land. a private concern was targeted, and that private concern chose to respond more likely to avoid controversy than to avoid a constitutional right. as far as I understand it, they don’t have to.

    I could be wrong, but as a county govt employee on the other side of the country, I know we are too busy providing health clinics, libraries, and other essential services to run a county fair or even maintain a fairgrounds.

  • Heidi — if the fair were a purely private endeavor, it would still be a “public accomodation” and therefore subject to non-discrimination laws. Those laws protect atheists. The law (42 USC 2000e) treats atheism as a “religion” for purposes of enforcement.

    Look at it this way — what if a restaurant, obviously a private business, offered two dollars off the bill to anyone who had a church flyer? Clearly religious discrimination. What if the restaurant offered two dollars off to white people? People would be screaming their heads off.