Atheism and American politics

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Many Americans have a very unfavorable view of atheists (see: Views on atheists).

Atheism and U.S. presidential politics

In 2012, the Gallup organization reported:

While more than nine in 10 Americans would vote for a presidential candidate who is black, a woman, Catholic, Hispanic, or Jewish, significantly smaller percentages would vote for one who is an atheist (54%) or Muslim (58%).[1]

Atheism and U.S. congressional politics

USA Today indicated in 2014:

Guess how many of the major-party candidates in next month's congressional elections are openly atheist. Hint: You can count them on one finger.

It tells you something that in a time when "no religion" is the category of roughly 20% of Americans, virtually none of the hundreds of Democrats and Republicans vying for congressional seats identify as a religious "none."

.... atheism and related forms of non-belief are about the worst thing a candidate can be associated with.[2]

Obama administration met with an atheist group

The Obama administration is the first administration to met with an atheist group. It meet with the Secular Coalition for America which is a coalition which represents the American Atheists, the American Humanist Association, and the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers.

According to the USA Today, the group met with the White House officials to "discuss problems that they believe are fueled by religion."[3] Among the issues the group discussed were the issues of "military proselytizing" by evangelical Christian members of the military and faith-based initiatives[4]

When first running for office Barack Obama angered religious conservatives with his comment about working-class voters in old industrial towns. Obama said, "They get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."[5]

The Obama administration has been widely criticized for his policies which encroach on religious freedom in areas such as: health care, freedom to dissent on matters relating to the homosexual agenda, religious freedom in the military and religious freedom in other spheres of American life.[6]

Bernie Sanders' reluctance to call himself an atheist

Bernie Sanders is reluctant to publicly call himself an atheist.[7]

See also: Closet atheist

Jon Green wrote about Bernie Sanders:

Bernie Sanders is, as he’s suggested before, Jewish with an emphasis on the ish. His Jewish heritage has informed his morality and his politics, but he doesn’t claim to be observant in any officially religious sense.

In an interview with the Washington Post published this morning, Sanders went a step further, making that point as clearly as he ever:

“I am not actively involved with organized religion,” Sanders said in a recent interview.
Sanders said he believes in God, though not necessarily in a traditional manner.
“I think everyone believes in God in their own ways, “ he said. “To me, it means that all of us are connected, all of life is connected, and that we are all tied together.”

As atheist blogger Hemant Mehta pointed out, that’s basically a really PC way of saying you’re an atheist. Sanders may have used the word “God” to describe his belief system, but it’s pretty clear that his version of God isn’t an old man in the sky. There’s no actual deity involved — no theism — just a generalized interconnectedness.[8]

The Religion News Service states: "Presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders dashed the hopes of some atheists when he declared he had 'very strong religious and spiritual feelings' at a Democratic town hall."[9]

See also

Notes