July 10, 2007

Atheists in Politics

A new energy is sweeping American atheists, secular humanists, and freethinkers. More of us are coming forward, speaking out, and taking action to preserve our secular democracy. The backlash against years dominated by Christian extremism is underway, and a grassroots movement is starting to emerge. While lacking cohesion or recognized leadership, this atheist wave is finally being noticed by the American media. In fact, some are now recognizing our growing political influence.

We are fed up with religion in politics. We want a President who recognizes that it would be inappropriate for him or her to discuss personal religious beliefs while in office. We've had enough of ineffective faith-based policies and are hungry for policies based on scientific findings. We'd like to make sure that government funding is reserved for programs with scientific merit and that the programs are required to demonstrate evidence of efficacy as a condition of continued funding. We find it morally unacceptable for a politician's religious beliefs to interfere with potentially life-saving medical research, family planning, sex education, or reproductive rights. We believe that political appointments should be based on competence rather than ideology and that the performance of such appointees should be judged by results rather than loyalty. In short, we seek reality-based government.

The Republican party has made their decision to become a tool of Christian extremists seeking to impose Christian theocracy and legislate biblical morality. Deciding not to support them is an easy call. And yet, the Democratic presidential candidates have evidently decided to tie themselves to a Religious Left. Their colleagues in Congress sit idly by while Bushco continues its crusade of pushing fear and idiocy. Might this help to explain why Congress now enjoys an approval rating of around 25% and dropping quickly? By refusing to demand accountability, work for meaningful change, and stand for something besides lining their own pockets, the Democrats risk losing Congress again.

According to Ellen Johnson of American Atheists, the approximately 58 million nonbelievers in America can represent an important voting block. With the Godless Americans Political Action Committee, she is trying to make sure that politicians know of us. We can help by continuing to criticize religious idiocy and promote atheism, secular humanism, freethought, and reason. We must not be content to let the Democratic party continue to ignore us.

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