World Magazine-Gene Edward Veith: Not so bright
If atheists think they are bright while the rest of us are stupid, their opinion will probably alienate the public more than their views on God.
Atheists are coming out of the closet. Today, some 5 million Americans claim to be atheists. Throw in agnostics and you have 20 million. Five books making the case for atheism have become bestsellers. The 9/11 attacks have sparked a backlash against "fundamentalism" of every sort, painting conservative Christians with the same brush as Islamofascists. Atheists would seem to be poised for growth, but they have a public-relations problem.
A University of Minnesota poll last year found that atheists were America's most distrusted group. According to a recent Newsweek poll, 62 percent of Americans would refuse to vote for an atheist running for president.
As a result, atheists allege a whole host of slights, hostility, and civil-rights violations. And so many atheists are trying to do what homosexuals did when they pulled off one of the biggest public-relations coups in history, in part by rebranding themselves as "gay." Atheists are calling themselves "brights."