Americans May Hate Atheists, But At Least the Pope Likes Them

Atheists have just gotten a shout-out from the last person you’d expect: Pope Francis.

On May 22nd he gave a homily saying that anyone who does good, Catholic or not, is redeemed by the “Blood of Christ.”

It is unusual for atheists to encounter such open arms, at least in the U.S. “Every single study that has ever looked at the issue has revealed massive amounts of bigotry and prejudice against atheists in America,” who make up between four and fourteen percent of the population. Americans believe that atheists are about as trustworthy as rapists, and less than half of Americans would vote for an atheist for President.

The most recent data shows that atheists are more distrusted and despised than any other minority.” More specifically, that data shows that 47.6 percent of Americans would disapprove if their child wanted to marry an atheist, and 39.6 percent believe atheists do not share their “vision of American society.”

Even the lead author of the study that made these findings was surprised by the level of animosity towards nonbelievers. “We thought that in the wake of 9/11, people would target Muslims. Frankly, we expected atheists to be a throwaway group.” TSA may not share this view, but for other Americans, atheists are the real threat.

The study showed that fear of atheists isn’t limited to people with generally bigoted views. “Dislike of atheists doesn’t correlate very highly with dislike of gays, immigrants, or Muslims.”

Even those who are not hostile to atheists may assume that everyone believes in God. Wolf Blitzer embarrassed himself on national television by making this mistake when interviewing a survivor of the Oklahoma tornado, Rebecca Vitsmun.

First he told her that she, her husband, and her child were each blessed. She played along. Then he pushed it a step further. “You gotta thank the Lord, right?” he said to her as she stood surrounded by the ruins of homes. “Yeah,” she said, giving him yet another pass. But he had to push the point, which is not even a newsworthy one. “Do you thank the Lord?” he asked again, as though administering a test of her gratitude and worthiness.

Finally she told him, with grace and good humor, that she is an atheist. She added “I don’t blame anybody for thanking the Lord.” Blitzer quickly answered “‘Course not!”

Now if only Pope Francis could do something about the American mail. A German shoe company called “Atheist” discovered that packages sent through the mail with their brand name on them arrive much more slowly, and disappear much more often, than otherwise identical packages without the name, as Care2 Causes’ Steve Williams reports.

One homily acknowledging that atheists can be good people is but a drop out of the ocean of hatred for the secular. Let’s hope that the Pope and other religious leaders follow up with a bucket brigade. It would be particularly nice if they would do it without patronizing. Saying atheists are redeemed by Jesus is like telling them you are praying for them — it implicates them in a system of belief they want nothing to do with. But it is nicer than not sending them their shoes.

 

Photo credit: Catholic Church (England and Wales)

345 comments

Douglas Jack
Douglas Jack3 years ago

Cont'd from cutoff, I suggest that in our communication, we consider each other's perspectives as contributing more dimensions to a 3-dimensional view of the whole as well as including the many traditions from around the world as contributions to an enhanced vision. Mohandas Gandhi referred to this as 'Satyagraha' from the Hindi 'Truth-search'. Gandhi would ask each participant to community dialogues, "What are your best intentions & how can we help you fulfill these?" Even among the British who at the time were involved in imposing Marshall Law including massacres of 1000s of innocents with aid from colonial soldiers such as Canadian & Australian contingents, Gandhi continued to consider each person for their best intentions. https://sites.google.com/site/indigenecommunity/structure/2-satyagraha

Douglas Jack
Douglas Jack3 years ago

Ron G. I as well appreciate your sensitive inquiry & proposals for resolution into these human issues. However as a matter of process, when one person starts from the position of supposedly knowing God's word or messenger, then I believe you agree with me that; there is a problem in 'communication' (Latin 'com' = 'together' + 'munus' = 'gift or service').

Unless you are perfect in comprehension yourself as an individual, then I believe you stand on the same ground as I do, in trying to determine truth for the benefit of the times we live in. The bible (book) has been rewritten by empires many 1000s of times from hundreds of translations, each selectively trying to justify their own Manifest-Destiny. The bible has been used as a tool of empire & population control without conscience. I hope you are not trying to continue in this exploitive controlling tradition even with good intentions.

Another issue which I hope you agree with me on, is that of all the worldwide traditions of truth & interpretations of god or God that; we are better off not starting in 'competition' (Latin 'com' = 'together' + 'petere' = 'to-seek') with each other or with the 10s of 1000s of traditions worldwide for our own individual or collective interpretations except in the original meaning of the word. https://sites.google.com/site/indigenecommunity/home/indigenous-circle-of-life

I suggest that in our communication, we consider each other's perspectives as contributing more d

Douglas Jack
Douglas Jack3 years ago

Ron G. Cont'd from cutoff,
There is a huge problem with god-fearing christians holding major positions within the Finance-Media-Military-Industrial-Complex of the world, turning continually to war & destabilization of foreign governments as a solution to their own lack of gainful employment.
Then again as an imperfect messenger, speaking to other imperfect messengers, maybe the message is about piecing together our theist & atheist gifts to make this rare fragile home work for all. Our complementary attributes is not a mistake but a huge gift. https://sites.google.com/site/indigenecommunity/structure/both-sides-now-equal-time-recorded-dialogues

Douglas Jack
Douglas Jack3 years ago

Ron G. With appreciation for your inclusiveness of "All People", which even Jesus seem to mostly have followed, but inconsistently. His life & works seem to have been one born as a racist but struggling & changing in the land his own people invaded, conquered & misruled for nationalist advantage not unlike today. I'm impressed by some of Jesus' ability to overcome his own demons as well as advocating non-violence. The last couple of millennia have been a pretty horrific story of those claiming, as you say, 'to believe in Jesus', invading, occupying & destroying the peaceful indigenous world.

"Don't go to the non-Jewish people. And don't go into any town where the Samaritans live. But go to the people of Israel (the Jews)." Matthew 10: 5 - 25 or

"a Canaanite woman from that region came out and started shouting, "Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is tormented by a demon." But he did not answer her at all. And his disciples came and urged him, saying, "Send her away, for she keeps shouting after us." He answered, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." But she came and knelt before him, saying, "Lord, help me." He answered, "It is not fair to take the children's food and throw it to the dogs." She said, "Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table." Matthew 15: 21 - 28

There is a huge problem with god-fearing christians holding major positions within the Finance-Media-Military-Ind

Douglas Jack
Douglas Jack3 years ago

Ron G. OK suppose someone says they "personally accept . . . Christ's sacrifice for ALL PEOPLE" & know why that sacrifice was necessary, in order to receive God's forgiveness ...redemption ...of the sins WE ALL COMMIT as you propose. Lets say they are God fearing as well as fearing the Christian community might, if proper respect isn't given this 'god', drop an Atomic bomb, extract finite resources & destroy their biosphere leaving the landscape, watershed & air hopelessly polluted, kill off the indigenous people, bring war, use them as canon-fodder, write dirty threatening messages on Care2 etc. then would you describe this as you do below as "a very inflamatory headline"? Is this a 'religious' legacy which you are trying to establish? Would you like a way out of this self-imposed mind controll? www.indigenecommunity.info
Ron G. The previous comment I posted somehow did not include all of the beginning text because of my use of brackets.

Douglas Jack
Douglas Jack3 years ago

Ron G. OK suppose someone says they as you propose. Lets say they are God fearing as well as fearing the Christian community might, if proper respect isn't given this 'god', drop an Atomic bomb, extract finite resources & destroy their biosphere leaving the landscape, watershed & air hopelessly polluted, kill off the indigenous people, bring war, use them as canon-fodder, write dirty threatening messages on Care2 etc. then would you describe this as you do below as "a very inflamatory headline"? Is this a 'religious' legacy which you are trying to establish? Would you like a way out of this self-imposed mind controll? www.indigenecommunity.info

federico bortoletto

Interessante!!

N R CULCLASURE
N R C.3 years ago

interesting comments !

N R CULCLASURE
N R C.3 years ago

OK love them. That's ok. God loves us all.

Yes Christ is our redeemer. BUT, good works alone will not get anyone into heaven.

He's making a trick statement (if this article is written by facts).

Jesus Christ died on the cross as our redeemer (to pay the price for our sins)

One must accept Jesus Christ as their Lord & Saviour & believe unconditionally that He 1. died on the cross for our sins, 2. was buried & was resurrected on the 3rd day. 3. That he ascended to heaven to prepare a place for those of us who have asked Jesus Christ for salvation based on our belief of these things.

His statement is very misleading & and a very dangerous one at that.

READ CLOSELY.
I AM NOT BASHING ANYONE'S BELIEFS HERE.
JUST STATING THE FACTS,
BECAUSE THE POPE DID NOT GO ON TO SAY WHY " anyone who does good, Catholic or not, is redeemed by the “Blood of Christ.”



Nils Anders Lunde
PlsNoMessage se3 years ago

ty