‘None’ leaders to chart path for more political, cultural power for religiously unaffiliated


The religiously unaffiliated  the “nones”  – have noticed their ranks are growing. And at a meeting Saturday, a group of leaders will look to turn those swelling numbers into workable political and cultural power.

It’s one of the top priorities of the eighth annual Heads Meeting, which will be held in Atlanta. Some of the nation’s most influential leaders, representing various organizations, will convene to chart a path forward and discuss the most important issues facing “nones” today.

“It is not enough that we are growing in numbers,” said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association. “We have got to find a way to bring those numbers to bear in an organized fashion so that people will take us seriously.”

A number of studies have found that religious “nones”  people who either don’t believe in God or do not affiliate with a religion  are increasing rapidly in the United States. A 2012 Pew study, for example, found this faction to be the fastest-growing “religious” group in America and determined that one in five Americans now identify with no religion.

These numbers have emboldened atheists, humanists, agnostics and other secular Americans, many of whom have long expressed a desire for more political power.

In particular, they point to the fact that they are widely underrepresented in the halls of the highest U.S. legislative body. Though 20% of the population classifies themselves as “none,” according to Pew, only one member of Congress, Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, identifies as such.

Speckhardt said it’ll take presenting “viewpoints in an organized way” to see change.

Dale McGowan, executive director of Foundation Beyond Belief and one of the Atlanta meeting’s hosts, said building awareness through community engagement will be a key topic of discussion.

Written By: Dan Merica
continue to source article at religion.blogs.cnn.com


  1. This is very good news indeed. With the increasing onslaught of global media and social networking, the inconsistencies of religious doctrine with proven science are finally coming under public scrutiny. Once emotional beliefs are purged from the human psyche, top-down corporate and government decisions will fall to the realistic consensus of a democratic majority. World government and world peace will suddenly emerge as viable possibilities in human evolution. We cannot possibly survive as a species without them.

  2. “These numbers have emboldened atheists, humanists, agnostics and other secular Americans, many of whom have long expressed a desire for more political power.”

    Wouldn’t it be more accurate to characterise the current movement as trying to push/keep religion out rather than non-religion in. After all non-religion doesn’t exist.

  3. This is good news for us in the movement to end the prejudice that exists against ‘nones’, atheist, antitheist, secular humanist, agnostics and freethinkers, our numbers are growing each day. I agree with Roy Speckhardt and Sean Faircloth that we must organize so our voices are a part of the public debate as it relates to human rights for all and that our secular society is not hijacked by the religious right and their extremist allies.

  4. The numbers themselves are probably not increasing, but those willing to be identified are becoming more frequent. Greater numbers give the shy “non-believer” courage and a sense of identity.

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