Researchers concluded: "Americans rate atheists below Muslims, recent immigrants, gays and lesbians and other minority groups in 'sharing their vision of American society.' Atheists are also the minority group most Americans are least willing to allow their children to marry."
Disturbingly, Atheists are "seen as a threat to the American way of life by a large portion of the American public," despite being only 3% of the U.S. population according to Dr. Edgell, associate sociology professor and the lead researcher in the project.
Edgell said that Atheists "play the role that Catholics, Jews and communists have played in the past" in that we provide "a symbolic moral boundary to membership in American society."
In addition, says the study, "The reaction to atheists has long been used as an index of political and social tolerance."