Christians have lately been complaining about so-called religious discrimination. This religious discrimination is nothing compared to the deliberate and malicious discrimination that I suffer because of my beliefs.
I believe in compassion, tolerance, kindness, justice, fairness, reason, science and peace. But I am also an atheist, and because I don’t believe in an anthropomorphic god I can’t legally hold public office in the states of Arkansas, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas. As an atheist, I could legally be condemned to death in at least 13 countries, including Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Yemen. As an atheist, I can’t become a Mason, I can’t be affiliated with the Boy Scouts, and some judges have considered atheism as grounds for denying custody of children.
Many Republicans, including George Bush Sr., believe that atheists should not be allowed citizenship. Because of my belief, I have received threatening phone calls and threatening notes in my mailbox. In short, prejudice against my kind is rampant in the U.S. and many other countries.
I tolerate and respect nearly all religions and religious sects, and I hope that my beliefs will someday also be tolerated and respected.
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Gary Boothe, Pasco