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Machines Like Us

4 reasons atheists have to fight for their rights

Wednesday, 08 August 2012

In the U.S., atheists have laws protecting them. But laws aren't always obeyed, or enforced—and fighting for legal rights can have dire consequences.

"You atheists are just taking on the mantle of victimhood. There are laws protecting you—especially the First Amendment. Therefore, you're not really discriminated against. And it's ridiculous for you to claim that you are."

Atheist activists get this one a lot. When we speak out about ways that anti-atheist bigotry plays out, we're told that we're not really oppressed. We're told that, because we have legal protection, because anti-atheist discrimination is illegal, therefore we don't really have any problems, and we're just trying to gain unearned sympathy and win the victim Olympics. (I'd love to hear Bob Costas do the commentary for that!) It's a classic Catch-22: If we speak out about oppression and point to examples of it, we're accused of "playing the victim card," and the oppression becomes invisible. And if we don't speak out about oppression ... then the oppression once again becomes invisible.

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