The demonization of atheists and atheism has existed since the Great Awakening in the 1730 and has existed ever since the strong emergence of evangelical Calvinism in America. The article is wrong.
To all evangelicals, a key element in their belief is the promise of a heavenly afterlife to be awarded to those persist in their belief through the travails of life. ANYTHING which challenges that promise is viewed as a great threat to be condemned. Ergo, evangelicals tend to believe that atheists are to be both condemned and persecuted.
Nice post. I'm old enough to remember Ike and all that went on in the 1950's. I was young but knew the politics behind this later on because I study those things. Obviously America was "godly" while the communists were the opposite, and the "commies" were the bad guys. Everybody knew that you had to have good and bad guys. The bible had this and it just made sense. Theists to this day believe in some divine purpose that you have in your life. This makes you special and sets you aside from everyone else. Of course you are a white Evangelical. Trump and his friends still live in 1950 and this is one of the main problems. The cure is right around the corner. It's almost time for a lot of these bastards to die off. As white Americans lose power it will be interesting to see "the Amerigod" die a timely death.
Great article, it makes a lot of sense to me having grown up in the 50s and 60s. I remember sitting in church and hearing sermons about the evils of communism. I remember the Cuban Missile crisis in October of 1962. They told us to pray because of a possible attack. It was scary times... I understand the reasoning behind pushing religion down our throats.
I'm somebody that's old enough to vaguely remember Eisenhower. I can even remember the "I Like Ike" buttons that the kids in fourth grade were wearing in school. I tend to be an optimist and I really believe that maybe the tide will change. We have a gay man running for president and early polling shows he doing OK. The LGBTQ movement was not really that accepted until recently. I know we unbelievers have a long way to go but we might yet gain a critical mass wherein a majority will no longer demonize us.
Yes, the ever-popular conflation of atheism with various forms of totalitarianism. Few things are more tiresome to deal with in public attitudes toward unbelief and areligion.
Eisenhower said to attend the church "of your choice" but given the attitudes toward Catholics in that era, much less Muslims or Buddhists and such, it was really, at its core, a campaign to push Protestantism, especially the evangelical flavor thereof. This is when the likes of Billy Graham initially gained access to the White House and evangelicals began to dream of, and court, temporal power and influence. Eventually, they were to sell their very souls for it, if they ever had any to begin with. I literally had an evangelical tell me recently that he sees nothing, morally speaking, that he can't overlook in Donald Trump, given the hyper-conservative judiciary appointments he's provided. That's how far they've sunk, that they can't see the problem with that.
When I was coming of age in the evangelical world, I was taught that politics was beneath our lofty concerns. What I didn't realize is that this was already a disingenuous position, and by the 1990s a complete sea change would have taken place. The doctrine younger than a MacDonald's Happy Meal -- the notion that life begins at conception and that abortion is murder -- was invented out of whole cloth. Organizations like the Moral Majority were formed. The National Prayer Breakfast had become an entrenched institution. And the rest is history.
I would be interested in polling data that said what % of Americans identified themselves as non-believers, Atheist or Agnostic. I'm guessing the total would still be about 5% or less. I know that in my area most people would still be distrustful or at least uncomfortable with you after finding out you were a non-believer. Only about 25% -30% of the women's profiles I see on Batch indicate that they would be willing to date someone who is non-religious.
Most people have always felt threatened or uncomfortable with anyone who is non-conforming to the mainstream norms of society, whether it be people who are childless by choice, a different race or non-believers. Most people find the unfamiliar or different in other people scary and we, as non-believers, are still in a place of cultural non-acceptance and non- familiarity that gay and lesbian people were decades ago. Partly because we are, like them, a fairly small % of the society, but also because we are still way less visible or known by most than queer folk.
The religious hatred for Atheists, well ANYONE who was NOT a Christian in fact, began very early in the establishment of the insanity that became Christianity, i.e. somewhere back around the 4th or 5th Century C.E.
As for its rise in the U.S. it most likely began almost as soon a the first 'pilgrims' set their feet on the dry land in my opinion, after all, it IS the nature of the Religious Monster to hate, detest and strive to eradicate anything, everything and anyone who does NOT subscribe to their archaic belief system.