They live in evangelical Christian mecca Colorado Springs and things haven’t easy for them as atheists:
Hale said she was fired without cause after being ‘outed’ as an atheist at a mandatory employee sensitivity training session. Betchan said that employees who attended one manager’s ‘voluntary’ Bible study meetings at his former job got the best assignments.
One day, they say, a neighbor knocked and asked to meet the couple after other neighbors had showed her a petition seeking to oust ‘freethinkers ‘ and ‘blacks’ from the neighborhood.
And a member of Betchan’s former Unitarian youth group said she was pressured to participate in a prayer meeting before her swim team’s meet at her District 20 high school. When she begged out of attending, she was benched.
‘At that moment, we knew we knew we needed to do something,’ Betchan said.
‘It has never been the atheists who have burned Christians at the stake,’ Hale said. ‘We would like to live in a place where my daughter is not afraid to have people find out she does not believe in God. We would like to work in workplaces where promotions are based on performance, not attending the right church. We would like atheists to be able to run for political office without persecution or being treated like second-class citizens.’
That’s all they want — equal treatment — and yet they can’t find it in a city where you pretty much have to believe in the right God to be treated fairly.
But this is the way you combat that sort of prejudice: you put yourselves out there and show that you’re reasonable, normal people. You dismantle the stereotypes and let everyone know you’re a part of the community. Hale and Betchan have done a great job in a tough situation.
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