One Small Step for Atheists in Madison, Wisconsin

One Small Step for Atheists in Madison, Wisconsin February 1, 2015

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The city of Madison, Wisconsin, will soon be considering changes to its Equal Opportunity Ordinance:

Ald. Anita Weier, 18th District, the City Council’s representative on the Equal Opportunities Commission, on Tuesday will propose prohibiting discrimination against the homeless in the areas of employment and housing, and against atheists in employment, housing and public places, the latter including civic space and places of business and recreation.

This would be a more formal recognition, at the local level, of the value of a secular government. As Weier notes:
She said she’s seeking protections for atheism because religion is already a protected class and believes lack of religion should have the same protection.
I’ve said before that I don’t think atheists face the same kind of persecution or oppression as other minorities have, but I still think it’s a good idea to get acknowledgements like this on the books. After all, there are still places in America where atheists can’t technically hold a public office. As Openly Secular chairman Todd Stiefel appropriately put it last month:
“If it was on the books that Jews couldn’t hold public office, or that African-Americans or women couldn’t vote, that would be a no-brainer, ” Stiefel said. “You’d have politicians falling all over themselves to try to get it repealed. Even if it was still unenforceable, it would still be disgraceful and be removed. So why are we different?”
(Image via DonkeyHotey at Flickr)
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