October 8, 2008

Kentucky Paper Gets Atheism Right

Louisville, KentuckyImage via WikipediaPeter Smith has a great article on atheists in the Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY), "More atheists are sharing their views." The article, which features Louisville Atheists and Freethinkers, discusses the difficulty many atheists initially have with acknowledging their own atheism because of what they have been taught about the evils of atheism. Smith describes "an increasingly vocal minority...who are fighting the influence of religious group on politics, schools and scientific research." Nice to see someone who actually gets it.

I encourage you to read the article for yourself. Still, I will provide the particularly hurried among you with some of the highlights:
  • The number of Americans reporting no religious affiliation has doubled since 1990 and is now roughly at 16%. Still, only 2% of Americans identify themselves as atheists (and an additional 2% as agnostic).
  • Kentucky seems to mirror the national data, with approximately 16% of the state having no religious affiliation.
  • The rapid growth in the proportion of religiously unaffiliated Americans coincides with recent publicity, high-profile books, and the like.
  • Most religiously unaffiliated voters vote for Democrats; more frequent church attendance is associated with voting Republican.
I was also happy to see that Smith made a point of clarifying the motivation of those in the Louisville Atheists and Freethinkers group. They are not fighting religion per se but the push by Christian extremists to force their beliefs on others.
Members of the Louisville atheists group also say they want to combat conservative Christians' political activities in areas ranging from embryonic stem-cell research to creationism to courthouse postings of the Ten Commandments.
It is so refreshing to see atheism addressed in the media without the usual misinformation and bigotry that are so common. Thanks to Peter for the article.

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