Many atheists in America live their daily lives without trouble or molestation over their atheism, but many others have good reason to fear exactly that. There are too many places in America where atheism can cause a person to endure bigotry, discrimination, and more.
Getty Photo: John Cumming / Photodisc
The worst, as most know, is the Bible Belt -- the southern region of the United States where conservative, evangelical Christianity is strongest. It is conservative, evangelical Christianity which objects most strongly to atheism, secularism, skepticism, and disbelief in America.
No conservative religion is especially happy about those things; but conservative evangelicals consider them something of a threat, not just to themselves but to America as a whole.
My becoming OPENLY atheist several years ago instead of just keeping my mouth shut and going with the flow contributed to the breakup of my marriage. Other factors were involved but my atheism was run up a flagpole by my can't-soon-enough-be-ex spouse to "ridicule" me and to falsely paint me as an abusive, immoral, lying, sociopath to friends and family. (Fortunately none of her now FORMER friends believe her.)
Living in the US Bible Belt also means I must, to a large degree, keep my mouth shut or end up like a friend did. The friend lost her job because "atheist" was shown in her Facebook profile.
Though she said nothing about her atheism at work, she became aware that her boss at the insurance agency where she worked had looked at her profile. After that the boss started frequently spouting things like, "We're a God-fearing agency!" while glaring at her, talking about how "Acts of God" are in insurance policies, then asking her in front of the whole office if that was a conflict for her. She was covering her own work plus the work of two other people (who joined in the boss's "Hallelujahs!") yet, in the end, was told she was unproductive.
We have both removed "atheist" from our online profiles because we both live in Bible Belt states and we need to stay employed. Neither of us can afford the legal costs to fight things like this.
Remember, though, that it's Christians who are "oppressed" and "persecuted" in modern America. They are the ones whose bigotry and discrimination forces others to live half-lives, hiding who they are, yet they are the ones who complain loudest and most frequently about having to endure political, social, and cultural persecution.