Opinion

Atheists officially become ‘protected class’ in baffling unanimous vote

Madison, Wisc., leaders took a baffling vote this week to add atheists to a list of the city’s protected classes.

In a unanimous decision Tuesday, the Town Council added atheism to a lengthy list of protected classes that bar discrimination on the basis of sex, race, age, religion, color, disability, national origin or ancestry, conviction record, arrest record, military discharge status, refusal to disclose a Social Security number, rental assistance status, political beliefs, citizenship status, marital status, source of income, gender identity, domestic partner status and even physical appearance, WISC-TV reported.

“This is important because I believe it is only fair that if we protect religion, in all its varieties, we should also protect non-religion from discrimination. It’s only fair,” Alderwoman Anita Weier told WISC-TV. “There are many categories that are protected. And it did occur to me that if religion was (there), then perhaps the opposite should be.”

Watch Crowder go undercover to Muslim bakeries to order gay wedding cake.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, which helped push for the classification, heralded the decision.

“It’s really making a big statement that we’re not going to put up with discrimination in the name of God, that being a believer doesn’t mean you can discriminate,” the group’s co-founder, Annie Laurie Gaylor, told the TV station.

Former Atheists Humanists and Agnostics President Chris Calvey spoke at the meeting in favor of the protection.

“It’s actually something we’re commonly very concerned about, just because atheism is viewed as such a taboo in this country,” he said. “And there’s such a stigma with it that people, 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. If that came up in a job interview, that’s held against them.”

It may be worth Madison officials’ time to simply compile a list of those not protected.

The Twitterverse, of course, had plenty to say.

Related:

Parents tired of ‘perpetually offended’ atheists; ‘We live in a country where we’re free.’

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Carmine Sabia

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