A recent piece in Psychology Today reports on yet another study that finds Atheists to be "the most mistrusted group" in the United States.
When asked in a national survey to identify segments of the population which did "not all agree with my vision of American society," ten groups were listed. Some were religious -- Christians, Muslims and Jews -- while others covered ethnic categories (Asians, blacks). Still others were traditional targets of popular animus, such as homosexuals and immigrants. The category which elicited the most opprobrium, however, was Atheists. When it came to marriage and other indicators of social acceptance, the godless were the most despised, marginalized and excluded.
Psychology Today contributor Gad Saad observed, "This might be one of the saddest scientific findings I have ever read." He cited a roll-call of famous luminaries including Albert Einstein, Francis Crick, Linus Pauling, Bertrand Russell and others who fall into the Atheist or non-believer category. There have been Atheist men and women who have made astounding contributions to the welfare of humanity, who have fought for civil liberties and individual rights, who have struggled against considerable odds to make the world a more peaceful, tolerant and nourishing space -- and to no avail, at least, it appears, to the average American.
It'd be interesting to know how Australians would react to such a survey. I suspect 'Greenies' or 'Refugees' might come in ahead of 'Atheists' as most-despised.
Posted by Greg Spearritt