Last night at the RNC Florida Senator Marco Rubio openly insulted atheists in his speech by saying of Americans:
We are special because we’ve been united not by a common race or ethnicity. We’re bound together by common values. That family is the most important institution in society. That almighty God is the source of all we have.
Our national motto is “In God we Trust,” reminding us that faith in our Creator is the most important American value of all.
I intentionally waited until the morning before commenting on this in order to be generous to the media. Surely more than twelve hours after insulting a group of Americans on a national stage these remarks would garner some attention in the press right? Of course not, because he insulted atheists.
All that appears to exist on this topic in the media, besides quotes without even questioning the validity of this statement, is a couple lines by Andrew Sullivan during his liveblog in which he concluded:
Rubio just ruled atheists out of being Americans. But it’s the smugness of this pathological patriotism that strikes me most. Which means it s not patriotism; it is a solypsistic [sic] nationalism.
Would he have been so forgiving if Rubio had implied Jews or Muslims aren’t Americans? Of course he wouldn’t, that would have been a top story everywhere. Other than that brief mention there was a single tweet by the Huffington Post Religion account saying “do you agree with him?” Again, they would not have asked that had Rubio said “faith in Jesus is the most important American value of all.”
We are one of the few groups of people in this country that can be openly insulted with no repercussions at all in the media. Whether left, right or center the only people you see defending nonbelievers is other nonbelievers and only then in personal blogs or forums directed at us. It’s not just that this is wrong to say, lots of statements made at the RNC probably should not have been uttered, it’s that such statements are treated with impunity by the media. Apparently denigrating atheists’ status as Americans is not even an issue to anyone else.