I'm not going to argue laws or work place policies. What I am pondering is the accepted social prejudice in the US toward atheism. I am an atheist and can be vocal about that at times. It boils down to this -- I don't need made up stories to justify why I am alive, why my life sucks, why good or bad things happen, why we can't explain everything ever to occur in the whole huge, unknowable universe. Nor am I so pretentious or self-righteous as to think I deserve an explanation for all those things as if my mere existence obligates that kind of response. Kind of arrogant to think I am entitled to that kind of stroking.
But here's what I'm pissed about: If my believing friends say something to the effect that god has a reason, or they can take solace in god's plan... and so on... that's perfectly fine in polite society. They're just sharing what they believe and are doing me a favor by enlightening me to their sacred knowledge, even if I choose to ignore it in the end. But if I vocalize the fact that god is false and belief in anything supernatural is irrational and wrong then I am considered subversive and anti-social. I'm pretty sure this is what is called a double standard.
This is the First Amendment to the US Constitution:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
We have no official religion in the US and I take issue with the very premise that this is a Christian nation, or any kind of god following nation. For anyone to insist it is is a dismissal of my rights as a citizen and, in fact, a denial of the Constitution itself. And let me say, where Christians or other zealots may have rights to share their beliefs with me, even if I don't want to hear them, I have the same rights.
And in terms of my private life, I have the right to talk as I will. Sure, there are accepted rules within personal relationships regarding the manner in which parties communicate, but I still reject the notion that censoring of one's self or ideas even in that context is unacceptable. I can accept it if a person says "I'd rather not discuss it." But that person owes me the same respect. And it's a practice most believers I know can't seem to grasp. A double standard they refuse to admit.