February 25, 2006

Are Atheists Oppressed? A Clue From the Abortion Debate

The Cincinnati Post - Bills could spur abortion challenges

Atheists are a misunderstood and frequently despised group in America. But are we really oppressed? I am not claiming that what we face is comparable to oppression based on gender, age, or race. After all, we can chose to hide our lack of religion. Some choice, I know, but this does put us in a different category.

Maybe the abortion debate can shed some light on this question. It is difficult to uncover reasons for banning abortion that do not have an explicitly religious foundation. Those who seek to ban abortion are clearly attempting to impose their will (the will of the religious majority) on those of us who embrace reality over superstition. The impact of this claim is in no way weakened by the fact that many Christians would also oppose such a ban for two reasons. First, valid reasons for banning abortion that do not rely on religion are never offered. Second, it often seems that atheists are not even permitted to enter this debate. We are assumed to be immoral beings, and our viewpoints are quickly dismissed. Because we are often equated with devils and demons, our views don't need to be counted.

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