Belated News Roundup: Let’s Talk About Atheists

istock_000003001750xsmallApologies for punting Friday’s news roundup – it was among the crazier of days here, as we got our Prez and EVP prepped to head to the 2nd Alliance of Civilizations forum.

They’ve safely winged off to Istanbul, so it’s time to look back over the past week and see what’s been dominating the headlines while we were burning the midnight oil.  The answer?  Atheists.

On one hand, not all non-believers or people who decline to state their religious identification are atheists – in fact, of the 15% of “non-religious” people in the Pew study that’s been getting so much attention, just under a quarter called themselves atheists; another 15% agnostics. The majority said they were  “nothing in particular” while some non-believers will IDed with a particular religious faith.

On the other hand, the media is still jumping on those stats to proclaim a New Day for the American Atheist:

  • Reuters is the first to official proclaim the New Day for American Atheists, explaining that Obama’s inclusion of atheists in his inaugural speech heralded a “sea change” for non-believers.
  • A USA Today column proclaims No Religion?  No Problem! and hopes that our shifting religious demographics will open the door to more coexistence and less violence and tension.

As you’d expect, there’s also a lot of commentary, some of it pretty vituperative, about what this means for America and whether there’s a War on Churches.   What do you think it means, if anything?  Are you an atheist who’s ready to come out of the closet?