There can be no government run by human beings that is not at the whim of human beings. There is no individual that anyone can put into a position of government that will not seek to impose his/her own views.
That is why a balanced government is not ruled by one individual, but by many people working together, compromising, and using agreed-upon guidelines to ensure that no single group's views are allowed to dominate.
Even a secular system will be ruled by the values of those that are put in charge of its construction and operation.
Yes and no. If imposing those values on the people who disagree is made costly - for example, by a structure of law that makes it harder to violate the rights of a minority - then only the shared
values will be imposed.
So the objection might as well be against ethics and values being implemented into a secular system. Those values will be there even if the person is an atheist. People will then just say atheist values instead of Catholic ones.
But are the base values
of atheists that different from those of Catholics? Do atheists even share a common set of base values? I'd say no and no. I know atheists who believe that the Individual Will is more important than anything else, and that pride is a virtue, not a moral failing. And I know atheists who believe the opposite - that humility in pursuit of a common goal is best. Clearly, the divide isn't between the religious and the non-religious, but between individualists and collectivists, between the Left and the Right, and so on.
I don’t see how someone telling you what is right or wrong is any better based on the source if you disagree with what they are saying.
If someone can give a set of reasons
why something is right or wrong, based on shared concepts - that hurting people is generally wrong if there's no justification, for example - then they stand on firmer ground.
Also, I have little problem with atheism. I do believe in God so there is an obvious philosophical disagreement, but I do not categorize atheists together as stupid. My original post was dedicated toward the lumping of participants in organized religion together and labeling them as incapable of thinking on their own.
I would honestly have the same objection if someone did the same thing to atheists. Just seems more in style to do that with religion.
I'm not going to say one group is more oppressed than the other; in general, "people who care about any position" don't fare well in a cynical society. But consider this: 48% of Americans (as of 1999, but the number's held steady for over a decade before that) would never vote for an atheist president... even if they were sure that candidate was "generally well-qualified."
And people vote for unqualified candidates all the time!
You can claim that this is simply "cultural," but the common belief, simply put, is that atheists are inherently immoral/emotionally broken/immature/dead inside/outright evil. Religious people also get their share of flack, of course. I have more sympathy for a religious group that's genuinely oppressed/hated - for example, Muslims in America, Catholics in anti-Catholic communities, and so on - than I do for people who claim the social benefits of religion without actually believing in anything.