To hear Fox News and the GOP and the conservative evangelical crowd (aka the Axis of Drivel) tell it, American Christians are the most persecuted people on the planet.
Yeah. Not so much.
Reuters: Atheists Around World Suffer Persecution, Discrimination: Report.
Atheists and other religious skeptics suffer persecution or discrimination in many parts of the world and in at least seven nations can be executed if their beliefs become known, according to a report issued on Monday.The report details the ways in which atheists are charged with crimes in countries where atheist or humanist views on religion are banned outright; in which atheists are compelled to lie about their beliefs in countries compelling identification with state-recognized religions; in which atheists are denied access and privileges that religious believers are not.
The study, from the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU), showed that "unbelievers" in Islamic countries face the most severe - sometimes brutal - treatment at the hands of the state and adherents of the official religion.
But it also points to policies in some European countries and the United States which favor the religious and their organizations and treat atheists and humanists as outsiders.
The report, "Freedom of Thought 2012", said "there are laws that deny atheists' right to exist, curtail their freedom of belief and expression, revoke their right to citizenship, restrict their right to marry."
Other laws "obstruct their access to public education, prohibit them from holding public office, prevent them from working for the state, criminalize their criticism of religion, and execute them for leaving the religion of their parents."
The report was welcomed by Heiner Bielefeldt, United Nations special rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, who said in a brief introduction there was little awareness that atheists were covered by global human rights agreements.
The IHEU - which links over 120 humanist, atheist and secular organizations in more than 40 countries - said it was issuing the report to mark the U.N.'s Human Rights Day on Monday.
And though many USians might imagine this happens only in "those countries, over there," the report notes that legal and cultural discrimination against atheists exists in the US, as well.
While freedom of religion and speech is protected in the United States, the report said, a social and political climate prevails "in which atheists and the non-religious are made to feel like lesser Americans, or non-Americans."And, suffice it to say that no US President has ever been heard to say an equivalent thing about Christians that George H.W. Bush reported said (and has never denied saying) about atheists: "No, I don't know that atheists should be regarded as citizens, nor should they be regarded as patriotic. This is one nation under God. ...I support the separation of church and state. I'm just not very high on atheists."
In at least seven U.S. states, constitutional provisions are in place that bar atheists from public office and one state, Arkansas, has a law that bars an atheist from testifying as a witness at a trial, the report said.
I also, to my knowledge, have not heard of anyone being run off a US Presidential campaign for being a blogger who, irrelevantly to her work, happens to be Christian. Ahem.
Maybe the Axis of Drivel could cool it with the persecution complex.
(Or, failing that, direct their considerable energies toward one of the places in the world where Christians are actually persecuted.)