Minority issues facing a white guy

Nick Glunt

My name is Nick Glunt. I’m a senior magazine journalism major at Kent State. I have dark hair and hazel eyes. I’m tall and thin. I’m from Niles, Ohio and I like learning about ancient Egypt. Writing is my passion, but I enjoy television shows and movies too. My favorite colors are green, yellow and violet.

Though these things describe me, they don’t define me. And every person on this planet is the same way. My favorite color describes me no more than my religion. And that’s the way it should be.

Here’s one more fact about me: I’m an atheist. However, this column isn’t going to be about disproving the existence of God or about how Christians are stupid or unintelligent. Instead, it’s about atheists as a minority.

As researchers from the University of Michigan discovered, atheists are the most distrusted and hated minority in America, more so than African-Americans, Muslims, homosexuals and every other minority group out there.

I personally have experienced intolerance because of my atheism. In fact, I thought hard about whether or not I should talk about it in this column. I anticipate hostility in my future regarding this, but that would just further my point.

Some who know my religious views have looked down on me and have attempted (way too many times) to make me “accept Jesus Christ” into my life. They’ve been both peaceful and hostile, but the best people I’ve encountered are the ones who simply accept my religion and move on.

For me, the ultimate goal in being an atheist shouldn’t be the same as the Christian goal of conversion and expansion. Atheists who convert others come off as aggressive and offensive, which only furthers the distrust. Instead, we need to figure out ways to earn acceptance.

So when I was reading SarahBeth Caplin’s Monday column called “Religious double standards” and its comments, I was a little disappointed — not at Caplin’s view, but at the practices of the Kent State Freethinkers. As described in the column, the group put a bunch of anti-theistic images and slogans in a glass case.

Though I did not see the case myself, I’m still a little upset. We’re the targets of frequent attempted conversions, but that gives us no grounds to counter with the same message. As my mom used to say to me, two wrongs don’t make a right. By performing actions like this, the Kent State Freethinkers are just begging for trouble.

And the Freethinkers aren’t the only ones. I have one atheist friend on Facebook who repeatedly updates his status with anti-theistic statuses, videos and images. He then complains how atheists are the targets of so much discrimination. The fact is, he brings it on himself. He’s just as hostile about his religion as any conservative Christian or judgmental Muslim.

We can’t continue this way. If we want acceptance, we have to get our acts together. Stop with the anti-Christian slogans. Stop with the debates. Stop with the attempted conversions. Don’t let religion be the defining aspect of your life. Religion should be just one part of what makes you who you are.

So just do me a favor, fellow atheists: take a step back and look for ways to be accepted. Otherwise, we’re just perpetuating the image of the hostile atheist.

Nick Glunt is a senior magazine journalism major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].