Mayor Bloomberg Stands Up for Atheists

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg did something on Friday that few mainstream American politicians ever take the opportunity to do: he publicly acknowledged nontheistic Americans and their equal rights before the law.

Responding to criticisms of the recent lawsuit filed by American Atheists, an SCA member organization, to prevent a pair of cross-shaped steel beams found in the World Trade Center ruins from being included in the government-funded National September 11 Memorial and Museum because of its treatment as a religious symbol of Christianity, Bloomberg said the following:

"You've got to be careful in criticizing people. No. 1, they [American Atheists] have a right to sue, and we'll see what the judge says. This group of atheists, they're free in our country to not believe and not practice, and we should defend their right to do that, just as we should defend individuals' rights to practice and to believe."

This is exactly the kind of thing SCA hopes more officials will stand up and say about nontheistic Americans. Notice how Bloomberg isn't saying he agrees with the lawsuit. He's simply making the point that atheists are Americans, too. We are part of the cultural fabric, we have equal rights before the law, and our fellow citizens should not only respect but defend those rights -- as we will theirs.

Sadly, not all Americans have followed Bloomberg's example. Some people have even taken to posting violent wishes and death threats targeted at American Atheists on Facebook. How Christian of them.



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