Trouble in Indiana: Library Patron Faces Retaliation for Asking About Nativity Scene

German painting, 1457Image via WikipediaThere are plenty of obstacles to atheist activism, but the most important is that of fear. Atheists often fear social alienation, workplace discrimination, familial conflict, vandalism, and even physical assault simply for revealing their attitudes toward religion. It is easy to dismiss these fears as overblown or exaggerated, especially if you live in a large metropolitan area in a "blue state." However, rural America, especially in the bible belt, can be a different story.

Over at Atheist Revolution, I have posted the disturbing account of an Elwood Public Library patron, himself a librarian with an MLS, who is facing retaliation after he questioned the library's director about the appropriateness of a nativity scene prior to Christmas. A comment thread at elwoodindiana.org, which has since been removed (but is still available via Google cache) reveals the very worst of small town America.

As if all this was not bad enough, the complainant has been threatened and has had his library record published on a public blog in violation of Indiana law. How have the "good Christians" of the community responded? A local pastor organized a protest and petition aimed at keeping the nativity scene. As for the media, they are faithfully reporting what was likely a press release issued by the library, omitting any mention of the subsequent retaliation.