Hell, I believe it.
Err, I mean, I don't believe in hell, but... Yeah, I agree with the article itself.
Oregon (the lovely state in which Snively and I live) is the second most atheistic in the US - Washington is first - with 24% of the population referring to themselves as 'non religious'. Of course, non religious is a tough term to nail down, because that can include Secular Humanists, Jedi, and agnostics. Watch your back when dealing with agnostics - they're slippery ones. The Evil Agnostic Conspiracy is behind every major war of the past 200 years, and also Desert Storm. Read my lips: Slippery.
Look, I digress. The point is, I live in a relatively atheist friendly environment. Don't let the LA Times guy give you the impression that it's a constant fight for my life out here - a goodly percentage of my friends are non religious, and my religious friends are incredibly respectful of my choices. Sure, people have tried to muscle me into Christian youth group attendence in the past, but by and large they aren't my friends anymore.
This isn't the case everywhere else, of course. Antisemitism is by now socially unacceptable to the point that it was used as a constant testament to Borat's backwards thinking ways in his movie of the same name. But while people agree that it's wrong to judge people based on their religion, they'll turn right around and judge atheists based on their lack thereof. A few years ago, a Right Christian (not the Right Christian of my previous post) tried to convince me to come to her Youth Group meeting.
Right Christian: You should come to Youth Group tonight!
Left Atheist: Thanks, but... No thanks. I'm an atheist, you see.
Right Christian: Oh... Well, you should still come!
Left Atheist: I'd really rather not. Church functions make me feel sort of uncomfortable.
Right Christian: So you're not open to new opinions?
Left Jew: I'd really rather not. Bacon and Shellfish conventions make me feel sort of uncomfortable.
Right Christian: Oh, well... Could you at least give me a loan? Or give me the name of a good plastic surgeon? I mean, you'd have to know one, with your huge Jewish nose and all...
Because atheists aren't stoked about accepting Jesus doesn't make us close minded or stubborn, it makes us devoted to our theological path. Christian readers: Would you like to come to an American Atheists Society meeting? Everything we're going to talk about there is contrary to what you believe. What, you don't want to come? Close minded, much?
I'm all over the board here. Yes, I do agree with what the LA Times article says: Atheists are stereotyped as bad people. It's untrue to say that we are bad people. To judge us based on this is making the same mistake that Borat does when he says the Jews are out to get us all, or the KKK does when they say Catholics are evil. The only time that making religious judgements about people is valid is when you're talking about those filthy agnostics.
Lee Harvey Oswald? Yeah, he was a closet agnostic. I'm telling you - SLIPPERY.