Living Under The Burning Fire Of Persecution

These are just a few things that were?posted on the Liberal America Facebook page, misspellings and other grammatical errors included, in response to the recent article?You’re an Atheist!!!

“John 3-16 Jeremiah 29-11”?

“Sorry, but if you don’t believe in some supreme being……I feel badly for you…what hope do you have… do you get through…..when do you plan on seeing all those in your life gone before you…….I am not one to push things doen others’ throats…..but I hope and pray you come out of this cloud……..”?

“One day every atheist will bow in submission to the Almighty Creator God!!! Unfortunately that will be the last time they enjoy His Presence, as they bought into Satan’s lie that there’s no God!”?

“You’re a fuc$Ing fool is what you are!!!”?

“Good; now shut the fuck up and stop pretending that things you don’t believe in offend you.”

“The bible says the fool has said in his heart there is no god the bible says why if some don’t believe does that make god less affect nay”

These are pretty tame. I, personally, have had hundreds of?supposedly religious people?threaten to kill me or harm me in some way. The same is true of most openly atheistic Facebook users, simply because we don’t have a belief in a “higher power.” Many atheists?who see these attacks will stay quiet for fear of the extreme hate and vitriol thrown at us. It doesn’t just stay on social media either. The hate can spread into the home.

People who lack faith have lost family members, myself included, because those family members either harassed, abused, or otherwise couldn’t accept having an atheist in the family. For those who?maintain ties with antagonistic theistic family members, the snide remarks?can be?enough to make the atheist question whether (s)he should have? continued to hide the truth.?A favorite comment, for some odd reason, seems to be,

“(S)he used to be a nice Christian. I wonder what happened.”

In schools, secular groups are demonized, if not completely banned.?Often, teachers won’t allow students to use their rooms after school for these groups, or the administration is openly hostile toward them. A few years ago, a basketball player was bullied so badly because she refused to participate in a team prayer that she was forced out of her high school.

Outside of school, atheists deal with the constant reminder of just how “outside the norm” we are. Churches, depending on where you live, seem to be on?nearly every street corner. Signs shout in our faces messages such as “The glory of God” or “You can’t enter Heaven unless Jesus enters you” or “Hell: One way in No way out.”?There is a constant flood of visual propaganda telling us just how needy other people think?we are?for not?believing in the same things they do.

When?atheists do speak up, or even ask questions about an aspect of the Christian faith, they’re usually answered with statements such as “Stop shoving your atheism down our throats!”

Hearing that, atheists?turn inward, asking themselves a never-ending series of repeating questions:

  • Why should atheists not speak their minds when theists are free to almost say anything they want?
  • Why do Christians in the U.S. demand respect for their belief that nonbelievers will be tortured for eternity yet?atheists don’t?get the same respect for stating their thoughts?
  • Why is it okay for Christians to say God is wonderful for saving the child in a horrific accident, but it is not okay for?an atheist?to say the Christian God isn’t wonderful?because of?the suffering of those who don’t survive?

For the atheists who have been out for a while, we laugh at the hypocrisy. Honestly, if we didn’t laugh, we’d probably cry for the state of the U.S. and other countries where hypocrisy like this permeates the culture.

Atheists also must endure a good deal of?governmental discrimination, both state and federal. There are seven states, my current home of South Carolina being one of them, that forbid atheists from seeking public office, with these restrictions?written into their Constitution. In 1961, the Supreme Court reaffirmed the ban on religious tests to serve in office, but these states continue to prohibit atheists from seeking public offices within these states, because?their state Constitutions still ban atheists from obtaining office.

My personal experience in?the military wasn’t much better. Our first full day of Basic Training?saw us marching to the nondenominational Christian church, where we were forced to sit through a Catholic prayer. We were not given the option to step outside. The following Sunday, the Week Eight trainee in charge of us gave us no choice about going to one of the religious services. In the military academies, I understand?it’s even worse.

There are also myriad?misrepresentations in the media, both benign and malicious. It seems to start earlier every year. “The evil atheists are attacking Christmas.” Some messages are seen?all year around?such as,?“Keep Christ in Christmas.” Or heard as a?weekly theme on Fox News,?which is constantly telling people the lie that?“America is a Christian nation.”

Granted, not all the negativity is directed specifically at atheists. Muslims, Wiccans,?and any person practicing any religion other than Christianity is subject to the blatant disrespect and discrimination that this country was founded to escape.

As Christians holler loudly, “If you don’t like it, leave!,” atheists and other non-Christians must wonder who is really persecuted in this country. There are?almost constant rants about how atheist groups and others?are trying to “take religion out of schools” or “take religion out of government” that simply aren’t true.

Screen grab from
Screen grab of atheist persecution?from

When a person proclaiming to be a Christian utters death threats or wishes ill fate to befall non-believers, one is forced to wonder what “god” these people truly worship, because it certainly doesn’t seem to be a benevolent one. And it brings up?the question – who is really living under the burning fire of persecution?