This is the research paper I wrote for my English Composition class. It's titled "Atheist Acceptance: The Stigma of the South." I realize it's a bit short, but I'd love some feedback.
James - As a professor of English, I will give you a few pointers. Generally, the paper is good and follows a nice argument structure. There are a few bits of wording to watch out for, such as mistaking "it's" and "its." Remember, it's=it is. More important are the occasional sweeping generalizations. For instance, you say "All people in the world want acceptance." This is probably not true and definitely not provable. Another one is this: "This country is supposed to be where all are free and everybody is equal." This might be true as a general belief, but it is nowhere stated in law and has never been true in practice. Finally, at a more general level, you spend more space on establishing that atheists are downtrodden and on rebutting the opposition than you do on proving the thesis, which is that there is or ought to be an atheist civil rights movement. Finally, the title specifies the South, yet this does not receive much focus. Given these problem areas, I would say you should be positioned pretty well with this paper. Except for it's/its and a few other minor word problems, the real problems in the paper are what I call higher order.
Thanks for the constructive criticism. I always want to know if there are flaws in my writing. Like I said I have a hard time molding my thoughts around the research. I did think my thesis might have been a little presumptuous. I made the mistake of not going back and checking to see if everything was following that idea once I was finished writing.
It was my pleasure.
Worthy of note: the state sanctions against atheists holding office are unconstitutional. Article VI of the US Constitution states this unequivocally:
...no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.
There is at least one state office holder, in North Carolina, I believe, who is an atheist and where this issue has come to light. Atheists do indeed have the law on their side in this matter, and should a challenge to gentleman from NC be forced to the courts, the matter should be utterly straightforward.
I actually used, as my source for that section, an article about that very person.
I hope you don't mind if I use this in my English class as an example of a good research paper. I figure that you have probably already turned it in and received a grade but I found this sentence from the introduction to be problematic, "Atheists have been striving for acceptance since it's creation." Other than that, I would say that it is a good primer for the nonreligious to understand issues facing atheists. I probably would have added the specific survey numbers that say people trust rapists more than atheists.