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Do Atheists Want to Turn the United States Into an Atheist Nation?

anti atheist sign

I speak generally about atheists and atheism. I cannot speak for all atheists.

The short answer is no!

I do not know of one atheist who is working to turn the United States into an atheist nation. I do know a number of atheists who are working very hard to stop theocrats from turning the United States into a Christian nation.

Most atheists want neutrality. Theocrats want authority, domination, and control. When it comes to government and public education, atheists want Christian dogma checked at the door. Atheists want science taught without creationism and other mythical Bible stories being part of the curriculum. Christians are free to learn about creationism at home or in their houses of worship. They are also free to home school their children or send them to Christian schools. However, when it comes to public schools, evidence-based science is the only science that should be taught in classrooms. Atheists expect public school classrooms to be free of sectarian prayers, Bible readings, and attempts to proselytize school children.

Atheists want oaths and prayers to God banished from the halls of Congress and any place our secular government does its business. Atheists want the first amendment and the separation of church and state strictly applied. Atheists know that the United States is a secular state, and they expect the government to function as a secular state.

Atheists promise to fight attempts to use government funds and programs to support churches and private religious schools. Atheists promise to work to end church tax exemptions, clergy tax exemptions, and the clergy housing allowance. The fight is direct and to the point . . . there is no place in the United States for state sanctioned, state funded religion.

Atheists respect the right of religious people to believe what they want, and they ask Christians to extend atheists the same courtesy. Atheists have no desire to turn the United States into an atheist state, and they sure as hell do not intend to let theocrats turn the United States into a Christian state. Atheists know that history clearly shows that when church and state are one, people die and freedom is lost.


Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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    Religions always make themselves into a core aspect of national identity to propagate their values. And yet when inevitable conflicts arise as a direct result of this identity, the same people are quick to disassociate religion from any blame. Historical conflicts between eg Catholics and Protestants are about land or nationalism, never religion.

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    The U.S. has a complicated situation, a secular constitution (likely the first of its kind), but with a religious Christian majority that by their sheer majority can vote in distinctivly non-secular policy.
    As it is churches get a lot of unwarranted tax breaks and some minor government endorsement of religion. My solution is to expand the popuation of atheists and secularists until there is an unignorable minority that politicians have to cater to. Even then it’ll be a while, Thomas and Scalia need to die for one thing. (Or retire, but that’ll never happen). And the Bible belt is going to be around a while, but hopefully eventually there will be a critical mass similar to gay rights that changes a lot of our non-secular ways.

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      Wow, that sign is disturbing…I didn’t realize I was a “lunatic Atheist.” Glad I don’t live in WV, but I feel sorry for those who do.

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    I think it is worth noting that the USA! patriotism/nationalism beginning from birth dovetails very sickly with extreme religious belief. The mush that results is quite terrifying to those of us outside the glory of bombs bursting in air…
    The very best thing that can happen to these extremes is certainly for religion to lose much sway in America and atheism, especially a caring atheism, offer a healthier balance in life.

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    Appalachian Agnostic

    Brian, lately many of Bruce’s posts have been reminding me of questionable things my high school and grade school teachers said about the good ole USA. I grew up (and still live) in Kentucky. I distinctly remember a high school civics teacher saying, “The American Way is the only way. Another time, he stated his opinion that all students, both male and female, should be required to join the military after graduation from high school.

    Worse than that, an earlier grade school teacher once bemoaned the fact that people “these days” (it was in the 70s or 80s) were much too divided in their attitudes and that we needed a war to unify the country. Still another teacher credited WWII with ending the Great Depression, as if war were a viable option for stimulating economic growth. Maybe she had a point, but this statement seemed at the time to be delivered with a fatalistic attitude. Of course, all three of these teachers were Christians, and I have no doubt that this affected their thinking.

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    Sorry brother Bruce, but yes, this atheist does; I am the Christians worst nightmare! (Ok, scratch that me, you & Polly:)

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    No, but I believe it would benefit society as a whole to become a lot more secular. It seems some churches are getting there thankfully, but I still worry a little. For example, fundamentalists don’t like or care about anything “worldly”. Topics like global warming, overpopulation, wealth distribution, etc don’t seem to matter to them.

    Remember, Jesus is coming any second, so why worry about these “worldly” things?

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    dale m

    Your Constitution preserves and protects religious liberty. There’s the mistake. What would you do if it it preserved and protected Scammers? Same thing. And herein lies the greatest indignation. What should be illegal is made legal. It’s a difficult distinction. If you scam someone, you can be arrested and charged. If you scam millions, politicians consider you a patriot.

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    The trouble is that people who are believers, and especially some of the nuttier, more obsessive types in the US (evangelicals?) can’t put aside their mindset regarding atheists. So they assume that atheism has some sort of agenda, that it must have some sort of belief system underpinning it (which, of course, is the exact opposite of what it means), and that atheists represent an enemy that must be crushed. It’s certainly seen as a badge of nationalism: even in the UK, where religious belief is now fairly minority, and certainly not something you advertise, when it comes to issues of nationalism (Brexit comes to mind) all of a sudden people shout and scream ‘but we’re a Christian country!

    Even when believers attempt to use reason to try and support their beliefs the arguments range from appalling to ‘nice try but..’. So there’s ‘how can something come from nothing?’ and ‘it takes more faith to be an atheist’ (both particularly silly arguments), to the fine tuning argument, or the Kalam Cosmological, both of which also fail but are a little more subtle. Then along comes Ray Comfort and it all starts again!

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    Brian Vanderlip

    Today in Pakistan:

    Those condemned to death for voicing alternate opinions regarding ‘God’ are killed because patriarchal dud-brains are allowed to bully their way through life. Human life is dirt, a crawling worm while rotten God-delusions get to occupy the throne…
    Trump was/is headed toward a seat of power that has this same right and abiliity to murder people because they do not share his wishes, do not believe in his way. He has been checked but not stopped.
    Trump must be permanently removed from political life, never again allowed to run for any political position. Is Biden up to the job of ending the evangelical God’s Plan in America? No.

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    Atheists just want to not have to suffer attempts to force us to recite or be subject to someone else’s sacred texts. We do not want to follow someone else’s peculiar religious laws. If your religion doesn’t allow you to eat ice cream, don’t eat it, but don’t stand in my way of access to ice cream.

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    MJ Lisbeth

    An “atheist nation” is like an “anarchist city”: It’s an oxymoron.

    You accurately point out that what we, as atheists, want is not our philosophy to rule. Rather, we want neutrality so that people can make up their minds for themselves.

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    Most non-fundamentalists want to have separation of church and state. Unfortunately, the same group that wants the Christian religion to prevail is the group the GOP has assiduously cultivated for years, to oppress those they consider evil. And now those nuts are either running the GOP, or are courted by them. Our country made great strides for decades but now it’s going backwards. We’ll be fighting for true religious freedom even harder than before. This is not how I envisioned the 21st century.

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    Ben Masters

    Or if you don’t want to watch television, don’t, but don’t act like my watching Peter Gunn is the same as watching Sex and The City (in other words, that it’s all immorality, no matter what I watch).

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    Gives me a bit of indigestion when you say only evidence based science should be taught. Often, a theory has little or no support but science has to start with observation and move to theories and then to laws. Very few things are laws of science. Even gravity is not. And science cannot move forward without theories that may account for observations and thus lead to other observation. But a theory – or model of the universe – may be explanatory but it is still a theory. Some things, such as the theory of gravity, are useful even though we know it’s just a teeny tiny bit off under ordinary life conditions. But f we tried to use relativity any time we designed anything we’d never get any designs done.


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    Yulya Sevelova

    Hi there ,Bruce. I do agree regarding that, angiep. And I’m glad you posted this Al Jazeera link, Brian. The separation of church and state is the only thing saving this country from Sharia Law and it’s. equivalents. The position in governments towards religion should be total neutrality.

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    I want a secular government because anything else has a bad habit of trying to tell people how to worship, unfortunately some of the first people to come here from England were the puritans, who very much wanted everyone to worship as they did, and if you didn’t? Well the story of Anne Hutchinson will illistrate what would happen next.

    I am very suspicious of fundamentalist and evangelicals, I know they the have plans to try and take over the government. Just because they have plans does not mean they will succeed, but it does make them a distinct threat to democracy. Many people who were involved in the attempted coup were not poor white fools, they were wealthy business owners, some even went to Washington on private jets, others were well known to the core of the GOP. And no matter how hard some are scampering away, this MUST be remembered. Also remember that zip tie guy is either a vet or still in active service as a Lt Co. in the Air Force! WTF is going on in the officer corps of the Air Force?

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    Eula Lawrence

    As a non-believer myself, I want our government to be secular. Sadly in modern America, the atheist is more likely to follow Jesus’s teaching than a majority of so called Christians. I personally think religion is a private matter and should stay that way. I’m not against you be vocal about it or telling people you are. But it shouldn’t be important if you are or are not religious.

    For most things there needs to be a very strong and thick wall between church and state. There are things that deal with; education, health care (includes abortions), businesses and non-profit stuff that would need regulation, so everyone is guaranteed equal access. Or at least gets the same things taught to them in schools.

    Looking at world. Well not always a 1 for 1. Countries that have higher rates of non-believers or religious people have little influence on the government. They are more happy and better off. Countries with the most religion seem like hell holes. With a lot more problems for the overall people. It isn’t a 1 for 1 comparison, but at times the less religious is of importance. The more true freedom everyone has.

    The biggest reason I want religion out of government though. Is which one is right? Even if you say Christianity for giggle sake. A Texas Christian, a California Christian, a New York Christian and an Idaho Christian would all have differences. That and we have like 666 different religions in the US. Some of these beliefs don’t mix and you shouldn’t favor one. Stop trying to force other people to your beliefs. And making laws that favor your belief. I just want to mind my own business.

    All we have to do is look at January 6th, 2021 and we seen how dangerous the religious people are. But the US has always been at the hands of the tyranny of the minority.

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    MJ Lisbeth

    Eula, your comment are spot-on. I have yet to meet an atheist who wants to “outlaw religion” or “turn the US into an athist nation.” All we want is to not have other people’s religious beliefs forced on us.

    I recently got into an argument with someone on Quora who claims to have been “persecuted” and “spat on” for his faith by “atheists.” First of all, I’m skeptical when any Christian claims to be “persecuted” in North America. Second, I think the person I debated was making a common accusation: Anyone who doesn’t agree with his religious beliefs–or who wants actual science to be taught in science classes or critical thinking to be encouraged in courses like literature and history–is an “atheist.” If anything, a Christian in the US or Canada is far more likely (if he or she is at all likely) to receive admonition, if not outright prejudice or “persecution,” from members of Christian sects other than one’s own than from atheists–or, for that matter, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists or any follower of any other non-Christian teaching.

    As an atheist, I am not trying to stop anyone else from practicing his or her faith–as long as it doesn’t interfere with my, or anyone else’s, rights. The same cannot be said for many who call themselves Christians.

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    MJ Lisbeth

    Another thing: Most fundamentalist Christians don’t seem to realize that they can practice their faith as they see fit because they live in a secular country. Their beliefs–and more relevantly, their antics–would never fly in, say, Saudi Arabia or any other theocracy. In fact, they couldn’t have been what they are in the now-secular European and Latin American countries when they were actual or de facto fiefdoms of the Church.

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Bruce Gerencser