A city in Wisconsin that is the home of a prominent atheist activist organization has passed a law that adds “non-religion” to its non-discrimination statutes. Madison ordinance author Anita Weier told reporters that the proposal did not arise of out any instances of actual discrimination against atheists, but rather was simply birthed out of her belief that non-belief should be included in city protections. “It just seems to me that religion has spread into government more than I feel comfortable with,” she said. “It just occurred to me that religion was protected, so non-religion should be, too.” However, atheists in the city testified before council in support of the move, claiming experiences with discrimination in child custody battles and employment, among other issues.
“[P]eople in my student group, for example, are very hesitant to be honest about their lack of belief in God out of fear that they are going to be discriminated against in employment opportunities,” Chris Calvey, the former president of Atheists, Humanists and Agnostics, told Raw Story. “If that came up in a job interview, that’s held against them.” Todd Steifel, president of Openly Secular, told the Associated Press that he believes there is a stigma against atheists in America. “People have been raised being told that atheists are evil and they eat babies and they can’t be trusted,” he said. MORE