On an anecdotal level, I became an atheist around the age of 14, and have never felt the need to hide it. Even in religion classes (Romanian high schools have religious studies, where they teach mainly Orthodox approved theology), I can’t remember being discriminated against for this.
Upon finding out that I was an atheist, one of my teachers, a very warm and caring woman, gave me a CD with a ‘documentary’ on “Intelligent design”. I gracefully took it, watched it, handed it back and told her that I was not convinced. And that was that.
Another teacher remarked that I believe that “people come from monkeys” and after I responded that “it’s not that; there’s a common ancestor; it’s more complicated than that…”, he dropped it.
That was in August but Heaven knows what year. (Why don't people date things clearly on the Internet of all places!) The author notes that it can be more difficult for non-believers in small communities. That seems a common theme: the smaller or more rural the community, the more persistent is religion.
Romania is officially designated as a secular state, although there is no effective separation of church and state. Indeed, according to Law no. 142/1999, state-recognized religious denominations employees receive salaries from the state budget. Therefore, all Romanian citizens who pay taxes contribute to clergy salaries, regardless of their religious affiliation.
Romania is one of the most religious countries in Europe, with 92% of people saying that they believe in God. Irreligion is much lower in Romania than in most other European countries and is among the lowest in the world. At the 2011 census, only 0.11% of the population declared itself atheist, up from the 2002 census, while 0.10% do not belong to any religion.
Kristina (or Christina) Rad...