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Austin Cline

Anti-Atheist Bigotry in Action: Job Discrimination & Mugging

By May 8, 2007

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Although the existence of widespread distrust of and prejudice against atheists is well-known (to atheists, at least), people who act against atheists don't necessarily announce their prejudice in advance. This makes identifying examples of anti-atheist discrimination difficult but sometimes the bigots do make their bigotry clear because they don't know enough to realize that such attitudes should be kept hidden.

Our first case comes from Maine, where the manager of an egg farm alleges that he was fired because his boss didn't like working with atheists. The owner denies it, but an investigator for the Maine Human Rights Commission has concluded that there are "reasonable grounds" for the allegation of discrimination:

Cacy Cantwell says Austin "Jack" DeCoster told him before he was fired that they might have to "part ways" because Cantwell didn't believe in God. ...

Cantwell, who was provided housing he shared with a non-married partner, two of his children and three of her children, said he was criticized by DeCoster, a devout Christian, who didn't approve of the living arrangement.

On another occasion, DeCoster brought up God in a conversation, and Cantwell responded by saying he was an atheist and didn't believe in God.

Source: Seacoast Online

It certainly sounds like DeCoster fired Cantwell for being an atheist and then lied about it later when it looked like he would get into trouble. Different evidence might come up that exonerates DeCoster, but if not then he'll have to pay for this and rightly, too.

As bad as losing your job is, being attacked by a gang of thugs is probably worse and that's what happened to an atheist in South Carolina:

The victim told police he was getting out of his car in the parking lot of the Crabtree Gym in Myrtle Beach about 8 p.m. when the men pulled up beside him and inquired about a derogatory statement on the back windshield of his car, according to an incident report.

The victim told police he wrote the statement as a "rebellious act against the National Day of Prayer," the report states.

Source: Myrtle Beach Online

After that, the men in the car attacked the atheist and stole his wallet. Readers may feel empowered to say that the victim never should have argued with the men in the car, but we don't know what went on. If they tried to argue that atheist can't be moral or that there are no atheists in foxholes, the victim was entirely justified in speaking out we can't all live in fear of what might happen when we contradict bigots. Readers might also think that the atheist only brought it on themselves by having something provocative on their car, but when since when is a provocative sticker sufficient grounds for a physical assault?

Who do you suppose these men were, anyway? They certainly weren't atheists themselves. It's unlikely that they were Jews, Muslims, or Buddhists. Statistically speaking, they were probably religious theists and Christians in particular. We don't have gangs of atheists driving around, beating up, and robbing Christians with a Jesus Fish on their cars, do we? How is it that atheists are the ones without morals or values...?

May 8, 2007 at 6:08 pm
(1) Triphesas says:

It’s interesting that they didn’t bother saying what the so-called “derogatory statement” is. Trying to make it look more offensive than it really was, maybe?

May 10, 2007 at 6:56 pm
(2) William Ely says:

It does not matter what the statement was, this is just outrageous. You can neve back down though. religion is poison and must be resisted at all costs.

May 12, 2007 at 3:59 pm
(3) Florida Atheist says:

Myrtle Beach is not in Florida; its in South Carolina. If the incident had occured in Florida, it would probably have been worst.

May 12, 2007 at 6:40 pm
(4) Austin Cline says:

Thanks for the correction, Florida Atheist…

May 14, 2007 at 11:49 am
(5) GrandmaVickie says:

I have seen some pretty nasty bumper stickers attacking non-believers yet never had the urge to attach the vehicle owner. One I saw yesterday said “Real men love Jesus”. That is attacking the manhood of every man that is not a Christian. I think evey non-Christian man should be offended. How would it look if a real non-Christian man punched out the lights of the car owner?

May 15, 2007 at 9:49 am
(6) Dave Smith says:

I live in fairly conservative Indiana and I had a hilarious thing happen to me a while back in this sort of way. I was at a gas station getting guess and two (I;m guessing mexican) guys are standing behind a car with dealer plates talking in spanish. One comes over to me and in broken english asks me to look at a bumper sticker that was on thier newly bought car. It read: “Have you nailed your messiah today?” I had a hard time explaining to these guys that although I think it’s funny, alot of people may not think so. I don’t know if they were religious or not and I don’t know if they just did that on purpose to see my reaction but I was laughing for the next 2 hours after that.

July 8, 2013 at 6:13 pm
(7) Truth says:

Cacy is a con-artist. Nothing more nothing less. Look up his records if you need proof

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