Ronald Lindsey, President and CEO of the Center for Inquiry, has a great article out about coming out as an atheist in which he compares and contrasts disbelief with sexual orientation. He makes some great points:
(HuffPo) — However, here I have to register a note of caution. I don’t think coming out will have the same level of success for atheists as it’s had for LGBT individuals. Why? Because even after we come out, some fear will persist. For some, the level of fear, the sense of being threatened, may actually increase.
I’d go further on that point: it’s also the dollars, always the fucking dollars.
It doesn’t cost multinational corporations and wealthy people much of anything for gay and lesbian Americans to have equal rights. In fact most large companies already offer same sex couples insurance and other benefits regardless of the marriage laws in that state. But loosening the religious blinders proudly worn by modern day conservative fundamentalists would spell big, big political trouble for the Republican party and, by proxy, the nutty zillionaires they work for. I don’t see the wealthy and powerful who are hellbent on getting more tax cuts and more government gravy and more government bailouts, by hook or spiritual crook, letting that happen without a tremendous battle.
Conservative evangelicals have become so intertwined with the GOP that the grand old party wouldn’t just feel threatened by a surging atheist movement, they would be facing a very real threat. And the money men behind it are plenty smart enough to know they can probably survive without gay bashing, they can probably survive as a party without gun hysteria and crazy conspiracies therein; it’s hard to imagine how they survive in their current form without a theology for the masses that justifies the cruelty, greed, and widening income inequality practiced in 21st century America.