April 27, 2009

The Bigotry We Don't See

The Darwin fish.Image via Wikipedia
Much anti-atheist bigotry is easy to spot, unmistakable for anything else. But what about the less obvious forms of bigotry we might not see at all? Secular Discrimination Report highlights the case of a Texas ex-Christian who recently lost a lucrative contract with a Texas school district because "a school official was disturbed after seeing a Darwin fish on his car." He only learned of this when a friend who worked for the district told him about it. Without this friend, he never would have known what happened.

Blatant, in-your-face anti-atheist bigotry may not always be easy to oppose effectively, but it is certainly easy to spot. I suspect that the covert sort of bigotry, such as that described in this report, is both more common and more damaging than we realize.

Like it or not, we live in an era where it is anti-atheist bigotry is largely considered to be socially acceptable. In fact, many of those responsible for it refuse to acknowledge that it is bigotry at all. Thus, an important part of our task involves raising awareness about anti-atheist bigotry. Attitude change will come, but it will be a gradual process that begins with awareness.

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