An Internet hub for centrists, independents and moderates with domestic and international news, analysis, original reporting and popular features from the left, center and right.
« On to the Next Step
The Event: Chapter 8 »
Feb 20, 2007 by michaelvdg
As long as she isn’t mormon, homosexual, or atheist.
H/t Austin Roth
Posted on Oct 10, 2012
Posted on Jan 25, 2012
Posted on Nov 11, 2010
Posted on Nov 7, 2010
And I have to give a hat tip to Instapundit.
To what extent one can trust these types of polls, it is an interesting one, especially for me.
Knowing how strongly emotions run against homosexuality still for a lot of people, the fact that I would still be less electable than an openly gay candidate because I am an atheist is surprising to me.
That may be due to the fact that I have rarely been exposed to direct contempt, anger, or threats of violence due to my lack of religious beliefs, but almost every gay person I have ever known has been.
That should have been ‘and never exposed to threats of violence’ in the last paragraph.
I wonder how different the poll results if instead of generic groups the names were included. I wonder how the ‘average joe’ would do matching up candidates to groups, like the ‘idiot Muslim’ 8 questions from the other day. It doesn’t look good for the White male Libertarian atheist transsexual this year.
I really think we just need someone other than pissed off goth kids beating the drum for our beliefs. I too am surprised that atheists rank so low. Perhaps we need our own lobby. Big Atheist has a ring to it.
On the other hand, the lack of persecution is pretty nice, maybe I’ll just keep my mouth shut.
Wow, so a married heterosexual monogamous white male man would lose because he doesn’t believe in God. And yet I’m betting few would be willing to openly voice that religious belief makes you better and no religious belief makes you bad….because it’s absurd.
As a de-facto atheist I of course already knew that an atheist would never be elected to public office. Even if he was almost saint-like in his actions and words, the fact that these wonderful things weren’t done in the name of a supernatural being means his good “doesn’t count”.
Part of the problem is fear. I’m willing to bet there ARE plenty of atheists in public office, but they are in the closet, they don’t dare speak out. Most people also are probably unaware that a majority of scientists are non-religious, or that atheists far outnumber Jews, for instance, in the US. If atheists were more open people would realize that atheists aren’t some phantom menace, but regular people from all walks of life. As things stand most atheists are quiet about their beliefs, because religion has this special treatment by which it cannot be challenged by logic or doubt, as that would be “dis-respectful”. Most non-religious still have that instinctive training, and will only really come out about how ludicrous some religious belief seems to them in the company of other atheists.
“As things stand most atheists are quiet about their beliefs”
Thats because its hard to talk about your favorite flavor of ice cream if you don’t eat ice cream. How exactly can people talk about beliefs they don’t have without basically trying to convert people, which frankly most atheists couldn’t give a damn about.
I think the problem is really with that set of atheists who DO have a religion, the one of anti-God. They are the ones who want to force everyone into some form of compliance with their world-view, rather than accepting the right of the majority to believe, and for that majority belief to have an influence on society.
I am not saying we have to quietly sit in the closet, but those who denigrate believers, and try change the obvious intent of the First Amendment into the elimination of religion in any form of public life, make the atheists look like God-haters.
Given time, they will try to get ‘In God We Trust’ removed from money (actually, again, because it has been tried), have the Declaration of Independence redacted, and so on. That does not sit well with many people, including some atheists like myself, and many who are only marginally religious, but get very upset by these tactics.
Well said. There are, I’m sure, religious people who truly fear atheists or distrust them for no good reason, just as some atheists have an unreasonable distrust of religion. Those are the people who make it problematic.
As things stand most atheists are quiet about their beliefs, because religion has this special treatment by which it cannot be challenged by logic or doubt, as that would be â€œdis-respectfulâ€?.
Lynx, I’ve said it before but I have to repeat that I disagree. It is perfectly possible to dissent with religious beliefs in a respectful way; what most religious people react strongly against is when their beliefs truly are treated in a disrespectful way. There are exceptions as I noted above; some people simply aren’t reasonable, and that applies to some religious people and to some atheists/agnostics. The vast majority though, in both groups, could find a lot of common ground in their values if they could feel comfortable having discussions with the other group. That requires the ability to ignore the extremists in both camps.
C. Stanley, true, you can have a conversation about religion and non-religion without going into insults, but I believe in this case both extremes are not equal, if only because of sheer numbers. There is a climate of fear amongst public figures whereby making the argument that there is no God will instantly get you maligned as a “God-hater” and an extremist, that does not exist on the other side of the curve. No public official is terrified that if they affirm they DO believe in God the Big Atheists will ruin their career.
Here’s a different example to make my point. You can have a discussion about homosexuality in which people with radically different opinions on the subject can talk without insulting one another. However, in San Francisco if a public figure came out and said they thought homosexuality wasn’t right he or she would be burned in effigy, at best. The fact that an individual conversation can be civilized doesn’t mean that the GENERAL climate isn’t favorable to one position. The general climate towards atheism is anything but friendly.
11% of Americans wouldn’t vote for a woman.
12% of Americans wouldn’t vote for a Hispanic.
24% of Americans wouldn’t vote for a Mormon.
What that says to me is that a good 10% of the American population is pure dead weight. It’s upsetting to think that my vote is being canceled out by voters who think that the gender, ethnicity, or religion of a candidate is more imporant than that candidate’ political beliefs.
The poll asked about Catholics, Jews, and Mormons. Anyone care to guess what the results would be for a Muslim?
“Given time, they will try to get â€˜In God We Trustâ€™ removed from money ”
Actually frankly I don’t like having that on my money, but whatever. It was introduced in the 1950′s btw, its not like we’ve always had that on our money. Also, Star Spangled Banner didn’t originally have “under God” in it either, and it irks me that the pledge is thereby invalidated for me because of my lack of faith in God.
I would also argue that the Anti-God “atheists” are actually not atheists at all. You can’t really be mad at something you don’t believe in, and those folks are definitely mad. Its like being mad at Santa Claus. I have found them to be very bitter but there is a core of belief in them that has been betrayed somehow.
The Gallop Poll shows how these views break down among liberals, moderates, and conservatives.
And a heck of a good discussion going on about this topic over at The Volokh Conspiracy – Atheists Still the Most Unpopular Minority Group
My favorite was a referenced quote from H. L. Mencken, “We must respect the other fellow’s religion, but only in the sense and to the extent that we respect his theory that his wife is beautiful and his children smart.”
AustinRoth, I checked out some of that thread (the whole thing is way too long) and it was interesting. Fairly curious to me was the fact that not voting for atheists was mostly justified. The main rationalization was that religion shows that a person has certain values, and that you are perfectly justified in not voting for someone based on their values. This argument rests on the assumption that atheism has a set of core values that can therefore be compared to the values of the religious. This, of course, is utter horsesh#t. When someone says they are an atheist you can assume virtually nothing about their values except that they do not follow rules in the name of a supernatural being. An atheist can be pro-life, and atheist can be conservative or liberal (though to be fair I’m betting liberal is more common). When you say categorically that you wouldn’t vote for an atheist you affirm that you know what all atheists are like, which is ludicrous.
Sam said: I would also argue that the Anti-God â€œatheistsâ€? are actually not atheists
I’m not sure about that. With the exception of a few, most angry atheists don’t seem to be angry with God, as you state, but with the those who impose their understanding of God into every discussion.
I believe they are angry at organized religion because of its power to influence public policy.
Sometimes I sympathize with them; sometimes their anger exasperates me. It really depends on the context and what they do with their anger. Worrying about ‘In God We Trust’ seems about as silly as proposing that the cathedrals of Europe be torn down. There is always a historic, architectural, aesthetic or even spiritual component to religious artifacts that one can appreciate.
When someone says they are an atheist you can assume virtually nothing about their values except that they do not follow rules in the name of a supernatural being. An atheist can be pro-life, and atheist can be conservative or liberal (though to be fair Iâ€™m betting liberal is more common). When you say categorically that you wouldnâ€™t vote for an atheist you affirm that you know what all atheists are like, which is ludicrous.
But Lynx, that’s why it’s so important for people of the two groups to be able to talk to each other about shared values. Most people who are religious believers don’t purposely assume that atheists and agnostics are evil or that they’re lacking in moral character, but if they don’t hear things to the contrary then predjudices will prevail. And frankly, when I do charitable work I find that almost all of the people around me are Christians. There may be reasons for that other than the assumption that non-religious people aren’t charitable- and I believe that there are reasons- for example, sheer numbers would skew it in the direction of religious people, and some of the groups that I work with have a religious basis. So while I don’t make assumptions about values of non-religious people, I can see how some religious people would. In other words, I do feel to some degree that it’s incumbent on people who don’t ascribe to a religion, to understand that this leaves a void in how you come across to a religious person. Maybe that’s not fair, but it is human nature. If I don’t know what a person believes on the basis of him/her announcing membership in a community of believers, then I do feel more comfortable with that person if he/she gives some explanation of what value system he/she does ascribe to. Again, maybe that’s wrong- maybe we should be able to always assume the best about people unless proven otherwise, but I don’t think that human nature works that way. We tend to be much more comfortable with the familiar, and we don’t like the unknown. So, I think there’d be much less backlash of distrust against atheists and agnostics if they would talk more about values and help religious people understand that there is plenty of common ground (in fact if these discussions took place more, many religious people would see that some non-religious people are actually living by a stronger moral code than many people who are religious in name only).
For those interested: I wrote a long post about Pilgrims / American exceptionalism, etc. Put it on the timer, will be published at 7 AM PT.
In it, I also deal with why Americans don’t want to vote for an atheist.
Base Design by Elegant Themes | Customized for TMV by T-Steel and Shika | © 2004-2013 The Moderate Voice. All rights reserved.