Atheism more accepted in America
It has taken decades for this to happen, but finally it has. America is beginning to realise that freedom of religion also entails freedom from religion:
Polls show that the ranks of atheists are growing. The American Religious Identification Survey, a major study released last month, found that those who claimed “no religion” were the only demographic group that grew in all 50 states in the last 18 years.
Nationally, the “nones” in the population nearly doubled, to 15 percent in 2008 from 8 percent in 1990. In South Carolina, they more than tripled, to 10 percent from 3 percent. Not all the “nones” are necessarily committed atheists or agnostics, but they make up a pool of potential supporters.
Local and national atheist organizations have flourished in recent years, fed by outrage over the Bush administration’s embrace of the religious right. A spate of best-selling books on atheism also popularized the notion that nonbelief is not just an argument but a cause, like environmentalism or muscular dystrophy.
The article also reports that despite the uptick in atheistic identification, atheists still remain the most mistrusted group in America:
Despite changing attitudes, polls continue to show that atheists are ranked lower than any other minority or religious group when Americans are asked whether they would vote for or approve of their child marrying a member of that group.
Over lunch with some new atheist joiners at a downtown Charleston restaurant serving shrimp and grits, one young mother said that her husband was afraid to allow her to go public as an atheist because employers would refuse to hire him.
After two decades of tolerating or even spreading the ideas of the growing evangelical interest groups and their dominionist tendencies, Americans are starting to push back.