India Uncut

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Thursday, June 30, 2005

No, not the devil either

Susan Hansen of the New York Times reports on a summer camp that is specifically meant for the children of atheists and agnostics. She writes:
Nearly two million American adults openly identify themselves as atheist or agnostic, according to a 2001 survey by the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. As a group, they face more than their share of bigotry, said Edwin F. Kagin, Camp Quest's longtime director, and their children are often made to feel like outcasts.

Many of the two dozen campers who attended this year's session last week recounted experiences of being called names and otherwise harassed. For instance, Travis Leepers, 17, from Louisiana, reported that just about everyone he knows has expressed concern to him about his soul and has tried to convert him.

Sophia Riehemann, 14, from Bellevue, Ky., recalled how one of her schoolmates called her a devil-worshiper. "People get really confused sometimes," Sophia said. "They think that if we don't believe in God we believe in the devil."
Strange, I didn't know religion was such a big deal in the US. In India it doesn't interfere with my daily life, and my being an atheist just draws curiosity, and sometimes befuddlement, but that's about it.

(Link via email from Ajay Bhat.)
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