Sociologist Gregory Paul and Pitzer College sociology professor Phil Zuckerman pose this question in the April 29 Washington Post. They point out that while America has gotten over its disrespect for Afro-Americans and Jews and is even becoming more civil to homosexuals, our people still don't like atheists very much. We're considered immoral, wicked and angry; we can't join the Boy Scouts; in the military we are rated as potentially deficient in our psychological evaluations; despite the constitutional ban on religious tests for public office, most Americans are reluctant to vote for a non-believer--much less marry one. This discrimination is rarely mentioned by the mainstream media. Christian conservatives loudly proclaim that our lack of belief in an invisible, illogical supernatural universe whose denizens capriciously and often cruelly interfere with the behavior of the natural universe is detrimental to society, in effect declaring us second-class citizens. Yet social research reveals that not only is this knee-jerk antipathy toward atheists unwarranted, but that we could be role models for the rest of you. According to sources that are cited in the article: On basic questions of morality and human decency--issues such as governmental use of torture, the death penalty, punitive hitting of children, racism, sexism, homophobia, antisemitism, environmental degradation or human rights--the irreligious tend to be more ethical than their religious peers, particularly compared with those who describe themselves as very religious. At the societal level, murder rates are far lower in secularized nations such as Japan or Sweden than they are in the much more religious United States, which also has a much greater portion of its population in prison. Even within this country, states with the highest levels of church attendance, such as Louisiana and Mississippi, have significantly higher murder rates than far less religious states such as Vermont and Oregon. As individuals, atheists tend to score high on measures of intelligence, especially verbal ability and scientific literacy. We tend to raise our children to solve problems rationally, to make up their own minds when it comes to existential questions and to obey the golden rule. We are more likely to practice safe sex than the strongly religious are, and are less likely to be nationalistic or ethnocentric. We place greater value on freedom of thought. While we appear to not fare as well as the religious when it comes to certain indicators of mental health or subjective well-being, new scholarship suggests that this correlation is more complex. For example, Denmark, one of the least religious countries in the history of the world, consistently rates as the happiest of nations. Apostates report feeling happier, better and liberated in their post-religious lives. Some studies suggest that suicide rates are higher among the non-religious. But surveys can be misleading because they count the undecided agnostics as non-religious fence-sitters, whereas true atheists tend to do about as well as believers. On numerous respected measures of societal success—rates of poverty, teenage pregnancy, abortion, STDs, obesity, drug use and crime, as well as economics, high levels of secularity are consistently correlated with positive outcomes in First World nations. None of the secular advanced democracies suffers from the combined social ills seen here in Christian America. Despite this bigotry, the number of American non-theists has tripled as a proportion of the general population since the 1960s. Yhe younger generations have less tolerance for the endless disputes of religion than their elders. American atheists have the same reluctance to be candid with pollsters as gay Americans do, but surveys designed to overcome this have estimated that as many as sixty million Americans, one-fifth of the population, are not believers.