Atheist discrimination is a reality in the USA.  People just plain don’t trust them.

In fact, according to a study conducted by the University of British Columbia and the University of Oregon in 2011, atheists are distrusted as much as rapists. Azim Shariff, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Oregon and a co-author of the study, believes that “People find atheists very suspect. They don’t fear God so we should distrust them; they do not have the same moral obligations of others. This is a common refrain against atheists. People fear them as a group.”

Shariff countered the point with some common sense and logic.

“If you manage to offer credible counteroffers of these stereotypes, this can do a lot to undermine people’s existing prejudice,” he said. “If you realize there are all these atheists you’ve been interacting with all your life and they haven’t raped your children that is going to do a lot do dispel these stereotypes.”  One would hope!

In 2009, a similar study led researchers to conclude the same thing:  atheists are the least trusted and most hated minority.   Considering that atheist nations are considered more peaceful (source), it’s interesting (and sad) to see how powerful religion acts as a force in America. And when a group is facing discrimination, it detracts from the freedoms of every group. A society based on tolerance must support the rights of all minority groups, including atheists.

Here’s a small infographic demonstrating atheist discrimination by the numbers:

Atheist Discrimination:  By the Numbers

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