Atheists, sure they can be...okay..but would you let your sister marry one?

Wednesday, June 28, 2006 at 08:35 PM

So many different groups have held the low spot on America's social totem pole that it isn't worth listing them.  And one of the recurring themes about each group, spoken by bigots who wanted to pretend to be reasonable in their bigotry, was the cringing question, "would you want your sister to marry one?"

The question assumed a physical revulsion at the very thought of one of them actually (shuddderrr) having sex with your pristine and wholesome sister.

Well, if you're an atheist, congratulations: you're the new no-sister-marrying bottom of the totem:

Survey: U.S. trust lowest for atheists.

By Jeannine Aquino

Atheists are America's least trusted group, according to a national survey conducted by University sociology researchers.

Based on a telephone survey of more than 2,000 households and in-depth interviews with more than 140 people, researchers found that Americans rate atheists below Muslims, recent immigrants, homosexuals and other groups as "sharing their vision of American society." Americans are also least willing to let their children marry atheists.

The study will appear in the April issue of the "American Sociological Review." Professor Joseph Gerteis and associate professor Douglas Hartmann are study co-authors. It is the first in a series of national studies conducted by the American Mosaic Project, a three-year project that looks at race, religion and cultural diversity in the United States.

Edgell said Americans traditionally have been a religious people and associate faith with being a good citizen. The survey results indicate that this belief hasn't changed, Edgell said.

Joe Foley, co-chairman for Campus Atheists and Secular Humanists, was not surprised by the results, either.

"I know atheists aren't studied that much as a sociological group, but I guess atheists are one of the last groups remaining that it's still socially acceptable to hate," Foley said.

I tried to tell a South American this very thing a few years ago, and he couldn't believe that it was true.  Surely the most enduring, bitter discrimination was against his group.  And I'm sure that gays feel that they are the most despised.  But the fact is that the right wing and their petty conformists don't feel the need to demonize atheists, because they know that the general public already thinks of them as some kind of demons from the outer reaches of hell.