March 25th 2009
By Marie Alena Castle
Ever wondered why atheists rank at rock bottom in public acceptance? Even below Muslims right after 9/11? Blame the media and their religious reporting. A fine example is the Minneapolis Star Tribune, whose weekly Faith & Values pages consistently promote faith only, never secular values. We get to read about trivial do-gooder articles and even more trivial doctrinal and ritualistic beliefs. On March 24 they had a huge article with photos about the Catholic Church’s reinstatement of its imaginary indulgences that supposedly lessen one’s time in an imaginary purgatory in which one works off the residual punishment for largely imaginary sins (pretty much anything related to sex). Meanwhile, on March 12, we sent the Strib editor and also the religion editor the following email. There has been no response:
TO: Nancy Barnes and Jeff Strickler
You have no doubt been reading about the increasing number of nonreligious people in this country, now at about 15%, as reported in your March 9 issue. It might be of considerable public interest to know more about this demographic. What does the increase mean in terms of the political and social effects? What would the godless do if they organized as aggressively as, say, the religious right? What political and social values do the nonreligious have? I’m sure you can think of other good questions and issues to explore.
We have several nonreligious organizations in the Twin Cities area that would be excellent sources for interviews. Most of the members come from religious backgrounds, so can provide some insight into the reasons for the increase, as well as the social/political ramifications of possibly increased influence. They are:
Atheists For Human Rights, http://www.atheistsforhumanrights.org/
Minnesota Atheists, http://www.mnatheists.org/
Humanists of Minnesota, http://www.humanistsofmn.org/
Campus Atheists & Secular Humanists (CASH), http://www.cashumn.org/
Given that surveys always show nonbelievers to be the most unpopular group in society, this would be a good opportunity to show to what extent, if any, such antipathy has any factual basis.
Please contact me if you would like more information or sources of information. Thank you.
Marie Alena Castle, Communications Director, Atheists For Human Rights
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