There’s No Reason Atheists Should Be Excluded in These Cases

Yesterday, the Washington Post‘s On Faith section published an article I wrote about how atheists exclusion occurs in the unlikeliest of places, from the memorial for the Boston Bombing victims to the revamped Boy Scouts of America. Even the “Atheist Church” isn’t immune from prejudiced thinking:

In all of these instances, kind, well-intentioned atheists were excluded on the basis of their beliefs, by people who often claim their faith makes them more moral, more noble, and more generous than those who don’t possess it. Indeed, we are finding that faith is not a virtue. If it were, you would not see atheists being banned from an interfaith (or, to phrase it more accurately, interthought) event meant to honor people of all backgrounds and beliefs. You would not see atheists kicked out of the Boy Scouts of America when scouting organizations around the world (not to mention the Girl Scouts of the USA) have accepted atheists in their ranks without a problem. And I doubt you would see church groups renege on their contract at the last second if they were dealing with another religious group.

You can read the entire piece here. Please comment there if you have anything to say!

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • JKPS

    Well I’m seeing a lot of depressingly hateful bullshit in the comments, but I thought it was a really well-written article and I shared it on my Facebook page.

  • WallofSleep

    Of course they can’t include atheists in charitable/memorial type events. To do so would give the lie to the claim that those with faith solely dominate the moral high ground.

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    The tragedy didn’t discriminate. It affected everybody. The memorial, therefore, should include everybody. But they selected people who represent specific segments of society. And in doing so, explicitly denied probably the second largest segment (if you lump all Christian denominations into one) in their criteria. There were probably more atheists/agnostics affected than Jews/Buddhists and Muslims combined.

    Thanks, but I’m not feeling up to reading the comments on the WP. I’m too tired of this shit for today.


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