Secular Southerners are often discriminated against at the legal level. Take North Carolina's State Constitution, for example. The Preamble is "We, the people of the State of North Carolina, grateful to Almighty God, the Sovereign Ruler of Nations, for the preservation of the American Union and the existence of our civil, political and religious liberties, and acknowledging our dependence upon Him for the continuance of those blessings to us and our posterity, do, for the more certain security thereof and for the better government of this State, ordain and establish this Constitution." How can the constitution be all-inclusive if it deliberately leaves freethinkers out? Not all North Carolinians are grateful to the "Almighty God, the Sovereign Ruler of Nations."
Article VI, Section 8 clearly states that "The following persons shall be disqualified for office: First, any person who shall deny the being of Almighty God," even though people being sworn into office are allowed to swear an oath OR the secular equivalent, an affirmation. Most of the other states with constitutions discriminating against freethinkers are Southern, such as Arkansas, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas.
The presence of so much religious bigotry here calls for extra reinforcements. There are plenty of freethinkers here in the South, but many of us feel outnumbered and alone. We can't put up an atheist billboard without it being vandalized within a couple days, much to the delight of other local residents. Our complaints typically go ignored by our peers and state officials. No one wants to help "those atheists." When even our leaders won't help us, it's hard to feel like we have any power. I encourage my fellow Southern secularists and secularists everywhere to speak out against the injustices that occur here. We need it desperately.
The South has never been known to be a leader in social progress; it's known for being the most resistant to comply. Using religion to subjugate others was unacceptable when we held slaves, it's unacceptable when it's used to deny rights to women and the LGBT community, and it's unacceptable when it's used to deny rights to anyone who isn't Christian.
I'm a Freethinking Female, a Secular Southerner, a Bible Belt Blasphemer - and proud. Let's fight these injustices, together.