Imagine you are a member of a religious sect that was denied access to the largest online social networking service. You’d be pretty upset about being discriminated against because of your beliefs, right? Now imagine you are an atheist group whose website was deleted from that same social networking service because a bunch of Christians complained …

Actually, you don’t have to imagine the second scenario, because it has already happened:

For the third time in three years, what may be the largest group of organized atheists in the world is struggling to stay on MySpace, said a Cleveland State University assistant professor who founded the site for nonbelievers.

MySpace deleted the 35,000-member “Atheist and Agnostic Group” on Jan. 1, a little more than a month after hackers broke in and renamed the group’s site “Jesus Is Love,” Bryan Pesta said Wednesday.

MySpace has ignored repeated requests to restore the group’s site, including an online petition with more than 500 signatures, said Pesta, who was the group’s moderator.

“These actions send a clear message to the 30 million godless people in America that we are not welcome on MySpace,” Pesta said. […]

. . . Two years ago, Pesta said, MySpace deleted the group after an organized campaign from Christians opposing the site. MySpace restored it and promised it would be protected, Pesta said.

Last Thanksgiving, hackers broke into the group’s site, deleting material and renaming it “Jesus Is Love.” MySpace restored the site three weeks later but then shut it down this year, Pesta said.

Why are so many Christians afraid of atheists? As far as I know they don’t practice ritual baby sacrifices, or drink blood, or bow down to a statue of Satan. Indeed, atheists are not an organized religion and they practice no rituals at all. All they do is occasionally say they don’t believe in God — anyone’s God — whether that god is Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, whatever.

And why is MySpace so concerned about the complaints of a few so-called Christians that it felt the need to delete this website without any justification other than some of its other members don’t like the views expressed by atheists at that site. Surely MySpace has sites devoted to Islamic groups, Mormon groups, liberal groups, conservative groups, etc. who all have been granted the right to form a social networking site based around their religious and political views, despite the fact that I’m certain other people object to the views and beliefs they espouse. So why single out atheists?

I guess in America, you have the freedom to believe in God, but not the freedom to believe in no god. Always nice to learn what are the limits on freedom in America, isn’t it?

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