In response to Elizabeth Dole and Kay Hagan’s bigotry toward atheists which went largely unnoticed, B.T. Murtagh of QuarkScrew wrote a very encouraging piece entitled Dole, Hagan And Hating On Atheists. The following excerpt is the part that I found particularly inspiring:
Remember, though, we’re only the last in the line; at one time it would have been just as easy to hate on the Jew, the Muslim, or even the Catholic here in America. In some few places that’s still somewhat the case (Muslims in particular are tempting targets today, in certain venues) but it’s become unacceptable in American society at large.
Keep your eyes on the prize. We’ll get there, if we simply keep insisting on our equality and humanity, as forcefully and insistently as did the other minorities. Given the groundwork already laid, it should be doable in decades rather than centuries.
It wasn’t so long ago that the President George H. W. Bush refused to acknowledge the equal citizenship and patriotism of American atheists, stating:
No, I don’t know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God.
In Barack Obama’s 2006 Call To Renewal address, Obama affirms his own Christianity as well his belief in separation of church and state:
[B]ecause I do not believe that religious people have a monopoly on morality , I would rather have someone who is grounded in morality and ethics, and who is also secular, affirm their morality and ethics and values without pretending that they’re some one they’re not . . . Moreover, given the increasing diversity of America’s population, the dangers of sectarianism have never been greater. Whatever we once were, we are no longer just a Christian nation; we are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation, a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers.”
I share B.T. Murtagh’s hope and finally believe that hope to be well founded.