Atheists are now a protected class in Madison, Wisconsin

by Veronica Coffin on April 7, 2015

 

 

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Every day across the world, in China, Africa, and especially the Middle East, Christians are abused, oppressed, tortured and killed. Here in the United States where the Constitution supposedly guarantees religious freedom, bakers, florists, and pizzeria are fined and driven out of their small businesses because they declined to provide their services to homosexuals on grounds that doing so violates their Christian beliefs.

And yet the city council of Madison, Wisconsin saw fit to make atheists a protected class.

Andrew V. Pestano reports for United Press International that on March 31, 2015, discrimination against atheism was banned in Madison, Wis., after a city council vote — a first in the United States.

“Nonreligion” was added as a protected class by the Common Council under the city’s equal opportunity ordinance. The ordinance states:

Atheism means the disbelief or lack of belief in the existence of God or gods.” The ordinance protects people who don’t believe in God, commonly called atheists, from discrimination in the areas of employment, housing and public accommodations.

The legislation was co-sponsored by 14 of the council’s 20 members and was approved without objection.

Ordinance sponsor Anita Weier said, “This is important because I believe it is only fair that if we protect religion, in all its varieties, we should also protect non-religion from discrimination. It’s only fair. There are many categories that are protected… and it did occur to me that if religion was then perhaps the opposite should be.”

Anita Weier, Chris Calvey

Chris Calvey, former president of Atheists Humanists and Agnostics, spoke in favor of the legislation: “It’s actually something we’re commonly very concerned about, just because atheism is viewed as such a taboo in this country, and there’s such a stigma with it. People in my student group, for example, are very hesitant to be honest about their lack of belief in God out of fear that they are going to be discriminated against… if that came up in a job interview that’s held against them. Having it on the books, where we’re legally a protected class, that’ll make things much easier for atheists. And we’ll be able to be confident that at least if we’re honest about what we actually believe, then we have the law backing us up so we can’t legally be discriminated against.”

Gosh, I don’t recall atheists ever being abused in the United States. Do you?

On the contrary, last December, a self-described “anti-theist” named Preston Smith was invited to give an invocation to Satan at Florida’s Lake Worth City Commission meeting.

Lake Worth city commission meeting

H/t MomOfIV

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