American’s increasing acceptance of religious diversity does not extend to those who don’t believe in a god, according to a national survey by researchers in the University of Minnesota’s department of sociology. The study will appear in the April issue of the American Sociological Review.
From a telephone sampling of more than 2,000 households, university researchers found that Americans rate atheists below Muslims, recent immigrants, gays and lesbians and other minority groups in “sharing their vision of American society.” Atheists are also the minority group most Americans are least willing to allow their children to marry.
Even though atheists are few in number, not formally organized and relatively hard to publicly identify, they are seen as a threat to the American way of life by a large portion of the American public. “Atheists, who account for about 3 percent of the U.S. population, offer a glaring exception to the rule of increasing social tolerance over the last 30 years,” says Penny Edgell, associate sociology professor and the study’s lead researcher.
It’s clearly much better to trust – at least initially – a President who believes that God told him to lead America. Perhaps a higher power will instruct him to resign.