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Atheophobia is a neologism used to describe the fear, distrust, or hatred of atheists.
 Expressions of atheophobia
Atheophobia expresses itself in the form of generalised attacks on all atheists, as if they were of one mind and one will. Claims about atheists made by atheophobes include such diverse elements as:
- moral inferiority of atheists/atheism
- evilness of atheists
- atheists have rejected God
- atheists wish to destroy religion and abolish religious holidays
- atheists have meaningless or decadent lives
- atheists should not be allowed to express their beliefs
- atheists are a corrupting influence
- atheists are unsuited to responsibility
atheists get to stay up late and take drugs and it's just not fair
- atheists lead lives that are empty and degenerate
- atheists are just college kids wishing to escape personal responsibility
- atheists are men with 'defective' or deceased fathers
 Historical examples
- Poland, 1689 - Kazimierz Łyszczyński is tortured and then burned at the stake for atheism. A man who owed him money brought him before court for writing "and therefore, there is no God" in the margin of a book. Prosecutors later discovered that he wrote a 265-page treatise called De non existentia Dei, where he argued that God is a construct of the human mind, and it was the primary cause of sentencing him to death. The manuscript was destroyed; only five quotations from the work survived in court documents.
- Scotland, 1698 - Thomas Aikenhead is executed for reading a book about atheism at Edinburgh University.
- England, 1880 - Charles Bradlaugh is elected to Parliament, but as an atheist is barred from taking his seat as he wishes to affirm rather than swear to God, as is required. Eventually he wins the argument, getting a law passed that allows MPs to affirm.
- Nazi Germany - Adolf Hitler banned atheist and freethought groups and regularly spoke against the "atheistic" or "godless movement." Indeed, Nazi Germany is a depressingly common example, with Reductio ad Hitlerum (wrongly, and thus ironically) used against atheists to associate them with Nazism.
- Cold War era USA - The association of atheism with "godless communism" became popular during the red scare.
- Chuck Norris wanting to "Tattoo an American flag with the words, "In God we trust," on the forehead of every atheist" when he is elected President. Though considering this was immediately after "Increase jobs in America by sending ninja teams to sabotage and steal them back from other countries", it may have been a joke.
 Modern day
 United States
Atheists are technically banned from holding office in six US states, although cases of the laws being acted upon are rare. In 2008 a Myspace atheist group with 35000 members was deleted for causing offence - just by existing.
No admitted or confirmed atheist has ever been President of the United States, although right-wing nutjobs may think that Obama is an atheist...or maybe a Muslim. Or both. There is only one single Representative who's openly atheist (Democrat Pete Stark), but he's not from real America.
A survey conducted by the University of Minnesota found that atheists are the most distrusted minority in the USA. A plurality of respondents answered that they considered atheists the group which agrees least with their vision of American society, and that they would disapprove if their child wanted to marry one. Atheists scored much lower than even Muslims despite the concurrent trend of Islamophobia.
In the United Kingdom, religion isn't as much of an issue. The Prime Minister immediately after World War Two, Clement Attlee, was an agnostic. Jim Callaghan, Prime Minister before Thatcher, was an atheist. The current Deputy Prime Minister (Nick Clegg) and Leader of the Opposition (Ed Miliband) are atheists, leaving two of the three main political parties led by atheists.
 Middle East
Essentially everywhere. A recent example was that of Alber Saber, a 27-year old Egyptian atheist who ran the Egyptian Atheists Facebook page, with a link to the notorious film Innocence of Muslims. This was discovered by a Muslim friend, who then got in a physical and verbal confrontation with Saber that spilled outside. Upon learning what had occurred, a mob formed threatening his life. Saber's mother called police, who instead of protecting him arrested Saber on the charge of "insulting religion." After learning why he was in jail, a fellow inmate attacked Saber with a knife, slashing his neck.  The case is still pending.
31-year old Indonesian atheist Alexander Aan, in a case very similar to Saber's, was beaten by a mob after posting to his Facebook wall "God does not exist." Rather than protecting him, he was arrested by police for blasphemy and lying on a job application, where he claimed to be a Muslim. Indonesia requires all citizens to identify as either, Muslim, Protestant, Catholic, Buddhist, Hindu or Confucian-atheist is not an option. Similarly, Egypt requires them to identify as either Muslim, Christian or Jewish, and other Muslim countries also have such restrictions. The charge of blasphemy carries five years in prison, and Aan is being held in protective custody before trial to prevent him from being harmed by other inmates.
 In atheists we distrust
Some psychological research suggests that atheophobia tends to be driven by distrust more than other factors. Whereas discrimination against gays, for example, tends to arise from disgust, atheists are distrusted in a fashion similar to criminals such as rapists. Further demonstrating this, people who are shown a stimulus involving secular authorities such as the police show reduced distrust in atheists when asked to make judgments about them.
 See also
- Atheophobia at H2G2
- Atheophobia video at YouTube
- Hollywood Atheist, TV Tropes
- Penny Edgell, Joseph Gerteis, Douglas Hartmann. Atheists As “Other”: Moral Boundaries and Cultural Membership in American Society. American Sociological Review, 2006, vol. 771 (April:211–234).
- An Alien in a Christian World: Intolerance, Coping, and Negotiating Identity Among Atheists in the United States, Christine H. Foust, Wake Forest University
- ↑ The Failure of Atheism to Account for Morality
- ↑ Conservapedia - Atheism and Morality
- ↑ University of Cambridge, Investigating Atheism - Atheism and Morality
- ↑ this one is probably true, depending on how you define "rejected".
- ↑ http://www.leaderu.com/truth/1truth12.html
- ↑ Racjonalista: Kazimierz Łyszczyński 1634-1689 (in Polish)
- ↑ Hitler on Secularism, Atheism, about.com
- ↑ Rev. Billy Graham and Dwight Eisenhower team up to fight "godless communism", PBS Frontline: A Merging of Faith and Patriotism
- ↑ World Net Daily - If I am elected president
- ↑ Atheists around world suffer persecution, discrimination: report
- ↑ Erbe, Bonnie. "Arkansas, 5 Other States, Ban Atheists from Public Service. Seriously" U.S. News & World Report website, 17 February 2009, accessed 5 December 2009.
- ↑ MySpace deletes atheist group, Ed Brayton
- ↑ Secular Coalition for America: Congressman Holds No God-Belief
- ↑ About.com: University of Minnesota Study on American Attitudes Towards Atheists & Atheism
- ↑ "Crashing the Tea Party", David Cambell and Robert Putnam
- ↑ http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article3074541.ece
- ↑ http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/ed-miliband/8032163/Ed-Miliband-I-dont-believe-in-God.html
- ↑ BBC News - Dutch rethink Christianity for a doubtful world
- ↑ http://blog.newhumanist.org.uk/2012/09/egyptian-atheist-faces-prison-for.html
- ↑ http://www.thedailybeast.com/cheats/2012/01/21/indonesian-atheist-attacked-arrested.html
- ↑ Gervais, W. M., Shariff, A. F., & Norenzayan, A. (2011, November 7). Do You Believe in Atheists? Distrust Is Central to Anti-Atheist Prejudice. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Advance online publication. (Press release)
- ↑ Will M. Gervais and Ara Norenzayan. Reminders of Secular Authority Reduce Believers' Distrust in Atheists. Psychological Science 23(5) 483–491