It was unexpected that the first mention of religion or irreligion in the editorial section of The Florida-Times Union under my monitoring policy would be a pro-atheist letter to the editor. This letter by Beth Perry was published today under the heading, “Atheists: Non-believers are coming out.”
I was surprised and delighted to see the article on American atheists, and how they are vilified by people who claim to be "good Christians." Is this any different than what is happening in Iraq presently between the religious sects?
Non-believers are beginning to come out of the closet because of theocratic issues that have developed in Washington, D.C., by our present president, such as the faith-based office, as well as giving tax monies to mostly Christian churches for charity work. This is violating our Constitution and what it stands for, although that does not seem to bother our present commander-in-chief as far as how many violations he has made. On New Year's Day, in 1802, Thomas Jefferson wrote a reply from the Baptists of Danbury, Conn., to their request for an explanation of the meaning of the First Amendment phrase, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion ..." Jefferson replied, "I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibit the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between church and state."
For those who think non-believers cannot be good citizens, you will find less crime, less divorce, less child molestation, less spousal abuse, etc., per capita among non-theists than any religious group.
There are also thousands of "atheists in foxholes."
Having only been an atheist for two years, I am not in a position to determine whether atheists are coming out more so in recent years than previously, but this trend been noted by others who also identify the growth of theocracy as a primary cause. I agree with all of Ms. Perry's other points and am pleased to see something positive about atheism in the local newspaper.