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Atheism is the fastest-growing "religious" group in America

According to CNN.


Survey: One in five Americans has no religion
Washington (CNN) – The fastest growing "religious" group in America is made up of people with no religion at all, according to a Pew survey showing that one in five Americans is not affiliated with any religion.

The number of these Americans has grown by 25% just in the past five years, according to a survey released Tuesday by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.

The survey found that the ranks of the unaffiliated are growing even faster among younger Americans.

Thirty-three million Americans now have no religious affiliation, with 13 million in that group identifying as either atheist or agnostic, according to the new survey.

Pew found that those who are religiously unaffiliated are strikingly less religious than the public at large. They attend church infrequently, if at all, are largely not seeking out religion and say that the lack of it in their lives is of little importance.
I found this interesting:
The Pew survey suggested that the Democratic Party would do well to recognize the growth of the unaffiliated, since 63% of them identify with or lean toward that political group. Only 26% of the unaffiliated do the same with the Republican Party.
I have to admit that I don't know any Atheists or Agnostics who are Republican. Is there anyone in this community who is or do any of you know someone who is? I'd be interested in hearing how they justify their political affiliation given the fact that the Republican party is traditionally centered heavily around and supported by those with evangelical religious beliefs (but not always).

Comments

I'm an atheist Republican.

I'd be interested in hearing how they justify their political affiliation given the fact that the Republican party is traditionally centered heavily around and supported by those with evangelical religious beliefs (but not always).

I've found this to be highly overstated. For certain, there are religious conservatives, and many of them come to good political conclusions via religious reasons, but that doesn't invalidate everything.

At the end of the day, it's about priority. Church/state issues aren't as important as the economy, and social issues aren't either. I vote economy and Constitution first, and the Republican Party better matches on the most important issues for me. It means I can push for candidates who prioritize like I do while working within the party structure to break down this social conservatism wall that makes me uncomfortable.
I'm curious about the constitutional issues. Which issues do you match better with the GOP?

FYI - I'm a Blue Dog as opposed to a liberal Dem, so I can sort of understand about the economic, although the GOP has sort of been on a spending party for the last thirty years or so.
Which issues do you match better with the GOP?

Constitutionally, basically all of them. I'm very much interested in strict constructionism, and my opportunities for that are in the GOP.

This is not to say I favor an amendment to ban gay marriage or flag burning, which are rare places that I do oppose them, but on the whole...
So, more or less States' Rights/Sovereignty? I mean, beyond that and the second amendment, the GOP leaves it all up to interpretation.
The GOP is much better on speech, religious (and in turn irreligious) freedom, states rights, etc. The whole thing. Even if the politicians are wishy-washy, nominating judges closer to Scalia/Thomas and away from the Souter/Ginsburg mould more than protects those variances.
How so on religious freedoms? I'm not seeing that one at all - Unless you are talking about taking away individual liberties at the state level.

Speech I can go with either party and find fault. There's been lots of bullshit over the last ten years or so that's made me very uncomfortable.
How so on religious freedoms? I'm not seeing that one at all - Unless you are talking about taking away individual liberties at the state level.

The right to be religious - or not religious - specifically. I'm greatly in favor of conscience clauses and escaping mandates like the contraceptive ones on religious grounds, in part because it sets the precedent for nonbelievers who may run into similar problems in the other direction.
I'm not convinced that nonbelievers need special clauses which excuse them from doing their job....
I believe Karl Rove has said he doesn't believe in God. And S.E. Cupp is the poster child for conservative atheists. I'm sure there are others.
I find it tough to believe S.E. Cupp is an atheist at all. She actively campaigns against the idea that atheists should be treated as equal citizens. I think she mainly holds her stance so that she can sell books.

If she IS an atheist, I think she's probably of the school of thought that says: "while I might be able to be good without God, most people would turn into evil monsters without religion to keep them in check". However, the way she puts her views across, I think it's more likely that she's simply disingenuous.
You're absolutely right that she comes across as, at best, completely different from most atheists you might meet, and at worst a lying attention-seeker. But I can't read her mind and see what she really believes.

If I take people at their word when they say they're Christians, I should do the same with atheists.
If you've read her book or any of her interviews, it's clear she's a) sincere there's no god due to a lack of evidence and b) wishes there was so she could justify the good that she believes religion offers, including community.

Atheists, I've found, struggle a lot with people who believe B while conversely seeking out UU groups or humanist chapters to fill that void.
She's made explicit that she would never vote for an atheist president. Why would she say that if she considers herself an atheist? Her stated reason is because she thinks that religious belief would act as a 'check' on the President's behaviour, hence my statement above.

But in the end, I think her reason for being so supportive of religion goes beyond thinking the rest of the human race needs religion to keep them moral. I think her main focus is to make money and it seems to be working out for her so far.

I reckon Ann Coulter does something pretty similar. I don't think she believes everything she says and writes either.
She's made explicit that she would never vote for an atheist president. Why would she say that if she considers herself an atheist? Her stated reason is because she thinks that religious belief would act as a 'check' on the President's behaviour, hence my statement above.

There's some logic to that, as twisted as it may seem. A lot of it for her has to do with representation as well, a point you may have missed.

I think her main focus is to make money and it seems to be working out for her so far.

I reckon Ann Coulter does something pretty similar. I don't think she believes everything she says and writes either.


I think this is unnecessarily cynical, and the evidence for it lacking.
A lot of it for her has to do with representation as well, a point you may have missed.

"Representation" is a lame excuse. You could say that about ANY minority group, so I'm sure she would in case of Obama's race, but probably wouldn't in the case of Romney's religion. That's Fox News logic for you...

So no, I didn't miss it. I recognised that it was disingenuous.

I think this is unnecessarily cynical

When it comes to Ann Coulter, I don't think there can ever be too much cynicism. ;)
"Representation" is a lame excuse. You could say that about ANY minority group, so I'm sure she would in case of Obama's race, but probably wouldn't in the case of Romney's religion. That's Fox News logic for you...

She's actually an MSNBC host, but you could say that about any minority group provided the minority issue matters. For religion, it's obviously a fundamental difference that race or gender doesn't carry.
She's actually an MSNBC host

Well when I heard about her (at least a year ago) she had been interviewed at Fox News and seemed to fit right in there. When you say she's an MSNBC host, do you mean that they actually give her a regular spot or something?

I'm not sure what you mean by religion being fundamentally different from race or gender. I mean they are ALL fundamentally different from one another, but I don't see that as having much bearing on the current discussion. It's not like the majority religious group represents a national religion which the President much share, is it?
When you say she's an MSNBC host, do you mean that they actually give her a regular spot or something?

Yeah, she's a regular on The Cycle or something, that 5pm show.

It's not like the majority religious group represents a national religion which the President much share, is it?

No, but they all generally believe in the same god. The devil is in the details.
No, but they all generally believe in the same god. The devil is in the details.

I am not sure what you are saying. Who do you mean by "they"? And if the point is that most Americans worship Jesus, isn't that making Christianity a national religion?

Heck, in the UK (where I live) we HAVE a national religion, but it'd be absurd to say that the Prime Minister had to believe in it.
I am not sure what you are saying. Who do you mean by "they"?

The religious. Most religious in the US are of the God (big G) worshiping kind.

And if the point is that most Americans worship Jesus, isn't that making Christianity a national religion?

Unofficially, maybe. There may not be a religious test for office, but people are free to vote their consciences.
There may not be a religious test for office, but people are free to vote their consciences.

S.E. Cupp wasn't arguing over whether she should be allowed to cancel out other people's votes. She was just saying that she would NEVER vote for an atheist President. Her argument wasn't that the vote would be wasted because no one else would vote them in. Her argument was that she would never vote in an atheist President on principle, so that would even include the case where everyone else DID vote for that person.

She argues that an atheist President wouldn't successfully represent the American public. However, like I said, a black man is presumably able to represent a white-majority America and presumably Cupp thinks a Mormon can represent a mostly non-Mormon populace. So what is it about atheists she thinks makes them inappropriate to represent the American nation as President?

"Voting your conscience" doesn't inevitably mean that you will only vote for someone with similar religious views to your own. But in any case, this is irrelevant to Cupp's statement on the issue.
I think she's been clear as to why she thinks an atheist would not be worthwhile. Do you get why religion is different than race in terms of a fundamental difference between a minority and majority? Such a difference doesn't exist for race or gender.
Do you get why religion is different than race in terms of a fundamental difference between a minority and majority?

I thought I already made it quite clear that I don't know what you mean by this. I still don't.

Atheism is a minority religious position. Black is a minority race. Yes, race and religion are different, but clearly a minority of either should be perfectly capable of representing the nation in the role of President if they are suitable for the job i.e. strong personality, good policies, well educated, etc.
I thought I already made it quite clear that I don't know what you mean by this. I still don't.

At the end of the day, there's really nothing fundamentally different between a man and a woman, or a black person and a white person, when it comes to governance.

Compare this to, say, the religious and nonreligious, where the nonreligious have something very specific about them that differentiate them from the religious. It's a significant issue and difference for many voters, one that I'm unsurprised that is an issue at this point in time because we are such a small and strange minority to so many.

So when Cupp says that she has a problem with voting for someone who represents such a small, significant minority in part because of the representation angle, it's because of the important distinction that makes us a minority - a distinction that doesn't exist with other minority groups.
Compare this to, say, the religious and nonreligious, where the nonreligious have something very specific about them that differentiate them from the religious.

Eh? Atheists aren't some kind of alien species. What on earth are you trying to say?

it's because of the important distinction that makes us a minority - a distinction that doesn't exist with other minority groups.

And that is?
Eh? Atheists aren't some kind of alien species. What on earth are you trying to say?

I don't honestly know how else to say it. You don't see religion as fundamental. I do, Cupp does, and most of the nation does. It's different than being a minority race or gender.
Fundamental in what way? I don't understand what you are trying to say. Did I hit the nail on the head then? Do you ACTUALLY think you're an alien?

If you can't explain what you mean, you cannot be surprised when I don't understand you...
Don't forget Ayn Rand hero to many a conservative.
Which is sort of funny. Her views on social issues left her incompatible with most of the GOP.
My husband is an atheist republican. I'm an atheist democrat. Off of television and out of the media, there are a lot of atheist republicans, at least I know a bunch, because of my husband. Religuion just doesn't factor in at all with their political beliefs, etc. It doesn't even come up unless someone like me brings it up.
One of my LJ friends is an atheist rabid Republican. Democrats, and Obama especially, cannot do anything right at all. I must admit, I find his viewpoints completely non-rational.