BeliefWatch: Smackdown

It may not be fair to call what’s happening in the atheist community a backlash, since atheists have always been and continue to be one of the smallest, most derided groups in the country. In a recent NEWSWEEK Poll, only 3 percent of respondents called themselves atheists and only 30 percent said they’d ever vote for an atheist. No, what’s happening in the “atheist, humanist, freethinkers” community is more like what happens to any ideological or political group as it matures: the hard-liners knock heads with the folks who want to just get along, and the cracks are beginning to show.