|Atheist President in 2012Page 2 of 2 (1, 2)|
|(Apologizing in advance for the length of this post. )|
Assuming such a candidate were running, what policies would an atheist president implement if one were elected in 2012?
There is no atheist party. But atheists are all around you, whether declared or not. The**** statements above (msg. 16, etc.) regarding atheists as most hated minority, unfortunately, mock and challenge what’s measured, well-documented fact. See:
Gallup Polls & Other Surveys on American Attitudes Towards Atheists
Over 40 Years of Research Show Atheists Are Despised, Distrusted
Gallup has been asking people about whether they would vote for atheists for president for quite some time. Here are the numbers who have said "no" over the years:
February 1999: 48%
August 1987: 48%
April 1983: 51%
July 1978: 53%
December 1959: 74%
September 1958: 77%
August 1958: 75%
It might be argued that there is some cause for hope here, since the number of Americans who would refuse to vote for someone solely on the basis of being an atheist has dropped from 75% to "merely" 48% over the course of 40 years. It's not much hope, though. First, the numbers of Americans whose prejudice would prevent them from voting for members of other minorities has dropped much farther much faster over the same period of time. Second, the numbers of those prejudiced against atheists hasn't really dropped in the past couple of decades — almost all the progress was made between 1959 and 1978.
Finally, other studies and surveys indicate that prejudice against atheists is going back up. A March, 2007 survey done by Newsweek shows that 62% of people would refuse to vote for any candidate admitting to being an atheist. Republicans were, predictably, the most bigoted at 78%, followed by Democrats at 60% and independents at 45%. Among those surveyed, 47% claimed that America is more accepting of atheists than in the past. I wonder where they got that idea? The only positive results from this survey were that 68% of the people felt that atheists could be moral — but this begs the question of why people won't vote for atheists.
[The article provides lots more statistics and modes of considering this information. Follow the link to read more. – Where4]
Atheists Identified as America’s Most Distrusted Minority,
According to Sociological Study
Washington, DC—American’s increasing acceptance of religious diversity does not extend to those who don’t believe in a god, according to a national survey by researchers in the University of Minnesota’s department of sociology. The study will appear in the April  issue of the American Sociological Review.
From a telephone sampling of more than 2,000 households, university researchers found that 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.
Even though atheists are few in number, not formally organized and relatively hard to publicly identify, they are seen as a threat to the American way of life by a large portion of the American public. “Atheists, who account for about 3 percent of the U.S. population, offer a glaring exception to the rule of increasing social tolerance over the last 30 years,” says Penny Edgell, associate sociology professor and the study’s lead researcher.
Edgell also argues that today’s atheists play the role that Catholics, Jews and communists have played in the past—they offer a symbolic moral boundary to membership in American society. “It seems most Americans believe that diversity is fine, as long as every one shares a common ‘core’ of values that make them trustworthy—and in America, that ‘core’ has historically been religious,” says Edgell. Many of the study’s respondents associated atheism with an array of moral indiscretions ranging from criminal behavior to rampant materialism and cultural elitism.
Edgell believes a fear of moral decline and resulting social disorder is behind the findings. “Americans believe they share more than rules and procedures with their fellow citizens—they share an understanding of right and wrong,” she said. “Our findings seem to rest on a view of atheists as self-interested individuals who are not concerned with the common good.”
The researchers also found acceptance or rejection of atheists is related not only to personal religiosity, but also to one’s exposure to diversity, education and political orientation—with more educated, East and West Coast Americans more accepting of atheists than their Midwestern counterparts.
The study is co-authored by assistant professor Joseph Gerteis and associate professor Doug Hartmann. It’s the first in a series of national studies conducted the American Mosaic Project, a three-year project funded by the Minneapolis-based David Edelstein Family Foundation that looks at race, religion and cultural diversity in the contemporary United States.
# # #
The American Sociological Review, edited by Jerry A. Jacobs (University of Pennsylvania), is the flagship journal of the American Sociological Association.
But back to the OP…
Assuming such a candidate were running, what policies would an atheist president implement if one were elected in 2012?
To my knowledge, there is not an atheist running for president this year. There is, however, at least one atheist running for US Congress in 2012: Cecil Bothwell. He currently serves on the city council in Asheville, North Carolina. Here is a statement of Bothwell’s beliefs:
“The important part of religion is what you believe when you’re in your room alone, not what you profess to believe in a crowd of believers.”
— Hal Crowther, The Oxford American No. 73
Bold Ideas About Religion and Politics
We read in the Sermon on the Mount that we should “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” The same text admonishes us to “forgive our debtors” (or those who “trespass against us.”) For me, this Golden Rule is the fundamental, guiding principle for a good life, and I do my best to follow it as closely as possible.
Our Founding Fathers were mindful of the fact that many early immigrants came to America to escape persecution, including torture and execution, for holding religious beliefs that were considered heretical or unorthodox. They felt strongly about establishing the United States of America as a place where everyone would be free to choose whether and how to worship. Thus, the First Amendment to the Constitution states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
As Americans, we have always been proud of our diversity. Our citizens include devout believers, seekers and doubters. We have people who worship in churches, temples, synagogues or mosques; others who worship nature; some who acknowledge multiple Gods; and some who envision God as dwelling in every person. Our inclusiveness and diversity have made us strong. Anyone is free to study religious texts or dispute them or research their origin. For many, these endeavors strengthen their faith; for some it may lead to investigating alternative approaches to living a decent, moral, ethical life. For all, however, the ability to define one’s own beliefs is a fundamental freedom guaranteed by the Constitution.
Because Americans are free to choose what they believe, religion in our country is essentially a very private, personal matter. While individuals and families may consider religion to be of critical importance, religion has no place whatsoever in politics. In fact, in areas of the world where there is limited or no religious freedom, there is often extreme persecution, violence and even war.
The historical tendency of beliefs to trigger such strong reactions is actually pretty strange. Most of us would tend to agree that there are practical truths, perhaps we could call them “truths of nature,” on which our beliefs have no discernible effect. Gravity. Sunrise. Photosynthesis. Dogs bark and Monarch butterflies head south in the fall. Whether or not I believe in those things neither affects them, nor your choices among such beliefs. In fact, beliefs are such an interior matter, that nothing we believe has any necessary effect on what others believe. Nor does what we claim to believe necessarily reflect what we actually believe.
Strict separation of church and state protects your church from intrusion by government and protects your beliefs from others who might want to tell you how to worship.
I am an active member of the Unitarian-Universalist Church and understand that churches can play a very important role in the life of the community. Churches bring people together, offer fellowship, help people in need, offer solace and, among many other things, provide counsel and support for those experiencing illness, loss and other devastating life events.
Bothwell didn’t come out brashly as an atheist, but when his atheism was discovered some people tried to use it against him politically. When he was elected to Asheville city council people actually tried to use an antiquated passage in law to prohibit him from being seated.
9:31 PM, Dec. 7, 2009
Critics of Cecil Bothwell cite N.C. bar to atheists
ASHEVILLE — North Carolina's constitution is clear: politicians who deny the existence of God are barred from holding office.
Opponents of Cecil Bothwell are seizing on that law to argue he should not be seated as a City Council member today, even though federal courts have ruled religious tests for public office are unlawful under the U.S. Constitution.
Voters elected the writer and builder to the council last month.
“I'm not saying that Cecil Bothwell is not a good man, but if he's an atheist, he's not eligible to serve in public office, according to the state constitution,” said H.K. Edgerton, a former Asheville NAACP president.
Article 6, section 8 of the state constitution says: “The following persons shall be disqualified for office: First, any person who shall deny the being of Almighty God.”
Rights enshrined in the U.S. Constitution trump the restriction in the state constitution, said Bob Orr, executive director of the N.C. Institute for Constitutional Law.
I think Cecil Bothwell is the greatest! For a lecture he gives on the secular movement and how he personally lives out his lack of faith but wealth of morality and human decency, see him at this Youtube link:
I may not agree with every position that Bothwell stands for, but I cannot doubt that this is a very moral man who happens to be an atheist!
This atheist says, hooray for the United States Constitution, which trumps the laws of the states when it comes to religion and government! The constitution may not be able to protect us from all of the heartfelt prejudice and bigotry of our fellow citizens, but their overt attempts to curtail our legal rights can be successfully litigated under it! We do NOT live in a theocracy! (Hear that, Sticky-Ricky-boy Santorum??????????)
Because more and more of us atheists are feeling cornered in the current political climate some are planning a historic public gathering in Washington, DC on March 24, 2012:
“On March 24th at the National Mall in Washington D.C., the largest gathering of secular men, women and youth will take place. It's free, and people are traveling from across the nation (and even overseas) to attend. Featured speakers include Richard Dawkins, PZ Myers, James Randi, Taslima Nasrin, Adam Savage of Mythbusters. Greta Christina, music by Bad Religion and an incredible day that will make history.”
Full details online at http://www.reasonrally.com
Welcome to the Reason Rally!
The Reason Rally is an event sponsored by many of the country’s largest and most influential secular organizations. It will be free to attend and will take place in Washington, D.C. on March 24th, 2012 from 10:00AM – 6:00PM at the National Mall.
There will be music, comedy, speakers, and so much more. We hope you can join us! Please poke around this site for more information, stay tuned for frequent updates, and let us know if you have any questions! Speakers include:
Dr. Richard Dawkins
Author of The Selfish Gene, The Blind Watchmaker, The God Delusion, The Greatest Show on Earth, and more; Founder of the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science.
Musician, composer, songwriter, actor, comedian and writer.
Co-host of Mythbusters.
High school activist and successful plaintiff in the case of Ahlquist v. City of Cranston.
Author of more than thirty books, including Lajja (“Shame”); Prolific activist for gender equality, free thought, and human rights.
Host and producer of The Green Room with Paul Provenza on Showtime and producer of the movie The Aristocrats (with Penn Jillette)
Founder of the James Randi Educational Foundation; Creator of The One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge; Magician (known as “The Amazing Randi”).
A highly regarded international leader in cosmology and astrophysics and author, most recently of the New York Times bestseller A Universe From Nothing: Why There is Something Rather Than Nothing
Legendary rock band fronted by singer/songwriter Greg Graffin.
I have doubts that I’ll be able to attend the rally, but oh how I’d love to be there! Heh, heh – at the very least, I’ll be there “in spirit.” There may be a future president of the United States there, you just never know!