Last modified on January 14, 2020, at 08:55

Donald Trump and American atheists

"America is a nation of believers, and together we are strengthened by the power of prayer." - President Donald Trump[1]

Politically, most atheists fall on the left side of the political spectrum (see: Atheism and politics and Secular left and Atheism and socialism).

The atheist Gordon Stein wrote:

Atheism has long ceased to be a rare and oft-ignored philosophical outlook...It has transformed itself into an active political programme with clear objectives which, though they vary from state to state, unequivocally include the elimination of state religion, religious education, and the enshrinement of scientism."[2]

Atheists commonly use the political realm to advance their atheistic ideology (see: Political activities of atheists).

Trump's presidential victory and upset secular leftists

See also: American atheism and Secular leftists and psychogenic illness

Many leftists/liberals were extremely upset/angry that Donald Trump won the 2016 U.S presidential race and that anger has lingered.[3][4]

At the 2018 American Atheists National Convention, the ex-president of the American Atheists organization David Silverman declared about the atheist movement post President Donald Trump's election:

It is a hard time to be an atheist activist. This has affected us. And it has affected our community... has really affected us. We are suffering a level of defeatism that I have never seen before...

We feel the loss. And we feel like we have lost. We feel like we lost the election... We see this cascade of attack coming down at us over and over from all different directions and we feel like it's over. I have heard so many times it makes me sick. It makes me sad. It feels like we lost.

The apathy that follows. It doesn't matter. We can't win anyways. It's useless to fight. This apathy is infecting us. It's hurting us.

And people are reacting to each other now. And so that is causing a division. Lots and lots of division in our movement. Hard, bad division... And that has resulted in a splintering and factioning of the movement that I have never seen before and none of us have.

In other words, we're in a bad situation and it's getting worse.[5]

Later in 2018, Silverman was fired due to allegations of financial conflicts and sexual assault (see also: Atheism and sexism).[6]

In January 2017, the atheist and secular leftist PZ Myers said about Donald Trump's presidential victory:

This span of time representing the agonizing death of American idealism, decline of liberalism, and collapse into corruption has played out as the background of my life.

That’s depressing. History is not going to remember me, but I managed to live through a terrible period that will be remembered, unpleasantly. It would be nice to go out on a note of optimism, but that’s probably not going to happen.[7]

See also: Decline of the atheist movement

The evangelical Christian Mike Pence is Donald Trump's Vice President.

The Religion News Service reported:

For the last decade, atheists, humanists and others secularists have worked hard to organize a “secular vote” that would counter the political clout of the religious right.

President-elect Donald J. Trump’s victory dealt that movement a body blow when he garnered 81 percent of the white evangelical vote and 60 percent of the white Catholic vote. Mormons, too, voted overwhelmingly for Trump.

Despite Trump’s not being a particularly religious person, his platform was seen as anti-secular in many atheist and humanist circles. He said he would appoint religiously conservative Supreme Court justices, ban Muslim immigrants, favor Christianity and repeal the Johnson Amendment, which prohibits certain tax-exempt organizations from endorsing political candidates — issues antithetical to organized atheism and humanism.[8]

The U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who was appointed by Trump, is a judge who has ruled in favor of religious liberty in his past decisions.[9] U.S. Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, who was also nominated to the court by Trump, gave a favorable ruling in the Hobby Lobby case in respect to religious liberty.[10] See also: Morale of the atheist movement

Greta Christina, depression and Donald Trump's presidential victory

See also: Secular leftists and psychogenic illness

There is a considerable amount of scientific evidence that suggests that theism is more conducive to mental and physical health than atheism (See:Atheism and health).[11] In addition, atheists have higher suicide rates (see: Atheism and suicide and Atheism and depression ).

The website Marketwatch reported concerning the aftermath of the 2016 presidential race: Trump’s win is causing a surge in demand for mental health services[12]

The atheist activist Greta Christina wrote in January 2017:

I don’t know how to do this.

A lot of my strategies don’t work anymore. This round of depression isn’t just worse than my previous episodes: it’s different. My symptoms, the things that help, the things that make it worse — they’re different. I’ve spent the last four years learning how to manage depression, and now, at least to some extent, I need to start all over again.

It’s different because the world is genuinely terrible. That’s not the depression talking: that’s a reasonable, evidence-based assessment of reality. You know the joke, “just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you?” Well, just because you’re depressed doesn’t mean the world’s not terrible. And just because you’re anxious doesn’t mean the world’s not terrifying. I keep thinking about Reviving the Tribe, Eric Rofes’s book about gay men’s lives in the worst years of the AIDS epidemic, and I keep thinking about the question he kept asking: How do you treat PTSD when the trauma is still ongoing?

Yes, the world was terrible and terrifying and traumatic before the election. I don’t want to ignore that. But it’s a whole lot worse now...

And it’s harder to even want to fight my depression. It’s harder to want to peel back the numbing layers of cotton and fog, and really engage with the world.[13]

Christina also wrote:

I do not consent to this.

It’s January 20, 2017. It’s inauguration day. And I do not accept it.

That’s an odd phrase: “I do not accept this.” It can mean denial, refusal to acknowledge reality. Or it can mean resistance. I’ve been doing a bit of both: I’ve been sinking into work and organizing, and I’ve been sinking into escapist distractions. I’ll probably keep doing both. I can’t work all the time, I’ll exhaust myself. And I can’t let myself think too much, or for too long, about the world we’re in now. Especially not when I’m alone. I need my escapes into other worlds: worlds where people mostly treat each other decently, worlds where wrongs are righted.

I think I’ve read too much science fiction. There’s a part of me that keeps looking for the key to the alternate reality.[14]

American millennials, secular leftism, Trump's victory and therapy

See also: American millennials, irreligion, therapy and pseudoscience

In 2010, the Pew Research Forum reported concerning the millennial generation:

By some key measures, Americans ages 18 to 29 are considerably less religious than older Americans...

Compared with their elders today, young people are much less likely to affiliate with any religious tradition or to identify themselves as part of a Christian denomination. Fully one-in-four adults under age 30 (25%) are unaffiliated, describing their religion as “atheist,” “agnostic” or “nothing in particular.” This compares with less than one-fifth of people in their 30s (19%), 15% of those in their 40s, 14% of those in their 50s and 10% or less among those 60 and older. About two-thirds of young people (68%) say they are members of a Christian denomination and 43% describe themselves as Protestants, compared with 81% of adults ages 30 and older who associate with Christian faiths and 53% who are Protestants.[15]

Peter Burfeind's article Millennials Are In Election Hell Because Politics Has Become Their God published in The Federalist indicates:

According to progressive faith, the “arc of history” always bends Left. Well, history just spawned Donald Trump, and if European political trends are indicative, this is not an isolated incident. For leftists, this is akin to if Christians woke up to find Jesus’ bones had been discovered. It shattered their faith.

The freak-out is especially acute among millennials. These are the “nones” and the “spiritual but not religious” bunch we’ve heard about the past decade. Millennials, we were told, didn’t abandon faith per se—can the human spirit truly live without faith?—they simply redirected it away from “organized religion” toward other things, chief among which was politics. I wonder how that’s working out for them.

As ridiculous and ubiquitous as the pathetically referenced “stages of grief” has become to explain how they feel about losing an election (!), the depth of leftist grief does magnify the essential religiosity they place on politics. Some reflection is in order.[16]

Donald Trump and religious liberty

See: Donald Trump achievements: Religious liberty

Religious Liberty Expert Kelly Shackelford Statement on the U.S. Senate’s Confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court

See also: Atheist lawsuits and restrictions to religious freedom and Donald Trump achievements: Religious liberty and LGBT

Brett Kavanaugh is a justice on the U.S. Supreme Court, having been nominated by President Donald Trump and confirmed by the U.S. Senate in 2018, replacing Justice Anthony Kennedy.

A 2018 press release from the First Liberty Law firm:

As a law firm dedicated to defending religious freedoms, we are thrilled that Judge Kavanaugh has finally been confirmed to the Supreme Court. Judge Kavanaugh has a solid history and commitment to protecting the religious freedoms and First Amendment rights of our citizens and has demonstrated in his many years on the bench a deep respect for the proper role of the judiciary.[17][18]

Kathy Griffin

Kathy Griffin is an American comedian and actress.

A few public relations experts have publicly indicated that her 2017 publicity stunt which involved her holding a mock severed head of Donald Trump was a career ending move.[19] All of her remaining 2017 bookings for stand-up comedy appearances cancelled her scheduled appearances.[20]

Griffin identifies herself as a militant atheist.[21]

The Examining Atheism blog wrote about Griffin:

Comedian Kathy Griffin identifies herself as a "complete militant atheist".

She has had a lot of public backlash after she held a mock severed head on Donald Trump.

At a news conference, she said of Trump in a teary-eyed manner: "He broke me".

If she is representative of militant atheists, the ideological foot soldiers of atheism have backbones of jelly![22]

Donald Trump on Penn Jillette

The atheist Penn Jillette is a libertarian.[23] He voted for Hillary Clinton in a vote swapping arrangement with someone who voted for Gary Johnson.[24]

Donald Trump wrote on Twitter: "I loved firing goofball atheist Penn @pennjillette on The Apprentice. He never had a chance. Wrote letter to me begging for forgiveness."[25]

Although Penn Jillette admitted that being on The Apprentice helped his career tremendously, he claims he was unfairly denied winning his competition on the show.[26][27]

Vice President Mike Pence

See also: Abortion and atheism and Religious liberty

McKay Coppins wrote in The Atlantic about Donald Trump's Vice President Mike Pence who is an evangelical Christian:

Meanwhile, Pence’s presence in the White House has been a boon for the religious right. Evangelical leaders across the country point to his record on abortion and religious freedom and liken him to a prophet restoring conservative Christianity to its rightful place at the center of American life. “Mike Pence is the 24-karat-gold model of what we want in an evangelical politician,” Richard Land, the president of the Southern Evangelical Seminary and one of Trump’s faith advisers, told me. “I don’t know anyone who’s more consistent in bringing his evangelical-Christian worldview to public policy.”[28]

Atheists often have negative feelings towards evangelical Christians.[29]

See also

External links


  1. President Donald J. Trump Stands Up For Religious Freedom In The United States,, May 3, 2018
  2. Gordon Stein, Encyclopedia of Politics and Religion, 74.
  3. The Shocking Intolerance of Anti-Trump Liberals by Katrina Trinko, November 10, 2016, The Daily Signal
  4. The Crazy Left’s 4-Step Strategy To Ensure Trump’s Re-Election In 2020, By Daniel Payne JANUARY 20, 2017, The Federalist
  5. David Silverman - How the Mighty Get Back Up
  6. This Firebrand Atheist Was Just Fired After Allegations Of Financial Conflicts And Sexual Assault
  7. [Stop tolerating the intolerable] by PZ Myers, January 2017
  8. Dealt a body blow, atheists and humanists regroup by Kimberly Winston, Religion News Service, November 9, 2016
  9. These 6 Cases Show How Brett Kavanaugh Might Rule on Religious Freedom, Daily Signal, 2018
  10. Neil Gorsuch Has a Record of Protecting Religious Minorities, Time magazine, 2017
  11. Multiple references:
  12. Trump’s win is causing a surge in demand for mental health services, Marketwatch 2016
  13. Depression in a Fascist Regime by Greta Christina
  14. January 20, 2017: Refusing My Consent, and Grieving the World by Greta Christina
  15. Religion among the millenials, Pew Research Center
  16. Millennials Are In Election Hell Because Politics Has Become Their God by Peter Burfeind, The Federalist
  17. Religious Liberty Expert Kelly Shackelford Statement on the U.S. Senate’s Confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court, Global News Wire
  18. Religious Liberty Expert Kelly Shackelford Statement on the U.S. Senate’s Confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court
  19. Kathy Griffin needs to do these things to recover from her career-killing Trump 'beheading' stunt, CNBC
  20. Kathy Griffin needs to do these things to recover from her career-killing Trump 'beheading' stunt, CNBC
  21. Blase DiStefano. "Foul-Mouthed and Funny", OutSmart, June 2007. Retrieved on 2007-07-01. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. 
  22. Teary-eyed militant atheist publicly breaks down and says "He broke me". Militant atheists are such spineless bowls of jelly. The atheist movement is a lost cause, Examining Atheism
  23. Penn Jillette on Libertarianism, Taxes, Trump, Clinton and Weed | Best of '16
  24. Penn Jillette explains why he voted for Hillary Clinton, YouTube
  25. Donald Trump Calls Penn Jillette A “Goofball Atheist”
  26. Penn Jillette reveals what it was like to work with Donald Trump, YouTube
  27. Penn Jillette on Donald Trump, “However bad you think he is, he’s worse”, YouTube
  28. God’s Plan for Mike Pence by McKay Coppins
  29. U.S. evangelical Christians are chilly toward atheists – and the feeling is mutual, Pew Research