06 March 2012


Is anyone else tired of all the B.S. from those poor "persecuted" Christians who think they are being discriminated against because non-Christians oppose their placing religious displays on public property or saying "Happy Holidays" (to be inclusive of everyone celebrating a religious holiday and/or the New Year) rather than "Merry Christmas."

Any religious person in this country can place a religious display or a dozen of them on his/her own private property. We aren't stopping anyone from wishing someone a "Merry Christmas" ---we just want you to know that you are being snobbish by not including those who do not believe as you do. Your children can pray silently as much or as often as they wish in school.  No one is stopping them. You can teach creationism or intelligent [sic] design to your heart's content at home or in church or Sunday school, but please leave it out of science classes because it has nothing to do with science.  I don't want to hear any more nonsense about secular humanism "taking over" our government ---a government whose Constitution disallows any religious preference, and therefore is supposed to be secular.

Yesterday was my husband's birthday. As usual, I told him I'd take him anywhere he wanted. He chose to stop for Chinese take-out after a trip to Lowe's and then a stop at Barnes & Noble so he could connect to the Wi-Fi network.  I listened to an audio book on my iPod and browsed the shelves while he sat in the café with his Nook.

Christianity, Specialty Bibles, more Bibles,
and other religious materials.
More Christianity 

I noticed an entire row of books (consisting of 6 sections, 5 shelves per section) devoted to religion. I turned around and found another complete row of religious books. I went to the next aisle to find shelf after shelf of religious fiction, and a prominent display of Amish fiction at the end of an aisle.  (I assume these books had Amish characters, not Amish writers.)  I counted 90 shelves of religious books, plus a few with religious-related gift items. Nearly all of the books were on Christianity, some on other major religions, a small section on eastern religions and another on New Age subjects.

Religious fiction.
I was unable to find even one book on atheism, agnosticism, skepticism, freethought, humanism, or related subjects.  Finally I headed to the customer service station.  The woman there assured me they did have a non-religious collection, but even she had a difficult time finding it. Finally, she found it at the bottom of a section on philosophy, near the floor where it was sure to go unnoticed. And that one measly shelf was shared with linguistics.  I had my camera with me so I took a few shots. Unfortunately, my photo of the shelf was blurred, so I'm not sure if three of the books are on linguistics or a part of the, uh-hum, "vast" atheism/agnostic collection at B&N. Depending on which section those belong to, there are either 27 or 30 non-religious books, whereas there are between 3000 and 4000 religious books.
More religious fiction.

Most of my atheist friends are avid readers and most read books on atheism, agnosticism, and related subjects.  Last figures (depending on who has conducted the study) put non-believers in the U.S. at 15 to 20%. Yet B&N doesn't seem to know that. Their non-religious section consists of less than 1% of their collection of similar books on religion.

I don't know how the system works.  Maybe the local manager can decide what books are ordered or on display.  Maybe the manager decides which books are hidden away on the lowest shelves. Or perhaps it is company policy.
One measly shelf includes books on linguistics, atheism and agnosticism, suspiciously near the floor
where it might go unnoticed. (The atheism/agnostic section is in the red box, maybe including
the three books on the far left inside the red box and maybe not.)

I have read dozens of fiction books in which the protagonist is non-religious. Yet we atheists don't have our own atheist fiction section, but the Christian fiction section at my local B&N is huge.

So ---all  of you Christians who think the rest of us are trying to take your religion away from you, we are not.

When you have an entire political party catering to your every whim, a far-right news network (FOX) and many radio and cable networks (CBN, for example) spielling your religious hype, where there is a church on nearly every corner in most towns  ---I live in a town of 750 households with six churches ---and book stores that have more than 100 books on religion for every single book on non-religion, I doubt you have anything to worry about.

Now, on the other hand, there is a man who drives around my neighborhood with two 6-foot long Confederate flags waving from the back of his pick-up, a lighted cross on the grill, and several shot guns in a gun rack in his back window. Who do you think needs to be worrying in my town? Christians or atheists?

4/14/12 Addendum:
You may find this article interesting Is There A War On Religion?

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