Candidates face rising ‘nontheist’ voting bloc

Sep 19, 2016

By David Sherfinski

Atheists, agnostics and others religiously unaffiliated say their time is about to come in American politics, insisting that candidates from the federal to the local level will soon have to start trying to win them over.

Buoyed by poll numbers showing religious “nones” growing as a percentage of the U.S. population, the Secular Coalition for America is even trying to highlight candidates who are “nontheists” and says Democrats and Republicans will have to work to win their votes.

“I personally think that this is going to be the last presidential election where we are going to not hear more about the nontheist community,” said Larry Decker, executive director of the group.


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17 comments on “Candidates face rising ‘nontheist’ voting bloc

  • In 2013, Kyrsten Sinema was sworn into the House with her a hand not on a Bible but on a copy of the U.S. Constitution.

    Hmmm.

    As much as I’m all for removing the bible from this ceremony, doesn’t this act serve to “elevate” the Constitution to the level of a religious text? How am I looking at this the wrong way?



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  • There are three blocks:
    no-God
    pro-God but no church association
    church affiliation.

    We must be careful not to lump the pro-Goddists with the no-Goddists . They are not as dangerous.



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  • In 2013, Kyrsten Sinema was sworn into the House with her a hand not
    on a Bible but on a copy of the U.S. Constitution.

    Whilst what follows pertains to the Presidential Oath, I suspect others follow a similar pattern–

    The Oath of office of the President of the United States is the oath or affirmation that the President of the United States takes after assuming the presidency but before he or she begins the execution of the office. The wording is specified in Article II, Section One, Clause 8 of the United States Constitution:
    Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:—”I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”[1]

    Theodore Roosevelt did not use a Bible when taking the oath in 1901.[21] Both John Quincy Adams and Franklin Pierce [22] swore on a book of law, with the intention that they were swearing on the constitution

    So no- there is no mention of ‘bible’ in the original text; therefore no basis in your suggestion. But is this not all part of the ‘Christian Nation’ canard that has infiltrated U.S. secularism?



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  • PeacePecan #1
    Sep 19, 2016 at 10:06 pm

    In 2013, Kyrsten Sinema was sworn into the House with her a hand not on a Bible but on a copy of the U.S. Constitution.

    Hmmm.

    As much as I’m all for removing the bible from this ceremony, doesn’t this act serve to “elevate” the Constitution to the level of a religious text? How am I looking at this the wrong way?

    I would say it was theists elevating their bible to the level of a legal text, and substituting faith-thinkers’ lying for Jesus, for the ethics of a moral code of conduct!



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  • If I could, I would nominate Bill Maher for president.

    Nah. He’s not good with evidence…intellectually lazy.

    John Oliver…erm.

    His wife would win over quite a swathe of the centre right….and, well, men…..

    The new power couple after Angelina ‘n’ Brad…



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  • Phil #7:

    re; Bill Maher

    Nah. He’s not good with evidence…intellectually lazy. John Oliver…erm.

    Oliver looks pretty good, but Trump would have a field day on a “birther” trip against Oliver. Also Bill Maher is better informed than Trump, what more can you ask? All that the US could hope for is that the candidate is an outspoken atheist.



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  • A good start would be a candidate who just did not pander to religion. I really don’t believe most of them really believe in any of it, so just stop pretending. It is little surprise that candidates have a credibility problem.



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  • I agree with you Kay (11).

    It would be best for candidates and other influential people to stop using the misleading phrase “freedom of religion.” That sounds so magnanimous and so liberal. But it is a rhetorical trap. To the Catholic Church it means the freedom to impose their beliefs on everyone else, because after all it is THEY that have the absolute truth about everything. The same goes for other religions and their leaders.



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  • @#5

    I would say it was theists elevating their bible to the level of a legal text, and substituting faith-thinkers’ lying for Jesus, for the ethics of a moral code of conduct!

    Well, the Hebrew bible actually was (is) a legal text (among other things), so there wasn’t much “elevating” going on there. Including it in a secular ceremony is an obvious problem, but that’s not my point.

    I would say that the meaning, or utility, of using the bible (or any text purported to be the “word of god”) is to give the oath legitimacy. “I do solemnly swear, with my hand on this sacred book, while I acknowledge the existence of a god who is surely watching me and would strike me down if I were not being honest and earnest (or at least will send me to hell for lying in his presence).”

    So, then what does it mean to substitute the constitution (or any other document) for the bible in a swearing in ceremony involving a promise to uphold the duties of a public office? Does placing my hand on a copy of this document make my promise somehow more sincere or binding?

    Is the constitution the “word of god”? Some seem to regard the founding fathers as gods, or at least inspired by “god”, so perhaps to some it is. Is this perhaps how some would view this? Is this a good thing?

    Perhaps I misunderstand the meaning and symbolism of oaths with hand on book. Is there another way to look at it that I’ve missed?



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  • PeacePecan #13
    Sep 22, 2016 at 10:03 pm

    Well, the Hebrew bible actually was (is) a legal text (among other things), so there wasn’t much “elevating” going on there.

    It is arguable that THE Ten commandments were some sort of tribal law, but even with these there are different versions proclaimed to be “THE TRUTH” by the different Abrahamic religions. One very notable difference is between Catholics and Protestants, where Catholics omit the prohibition on “images of idols” while fundamentalist Muslims strongly oppose any religious imagery.

    Chart Comparing Four Versions of the 10 Commandments
    http://undergod.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=000824

    The ramblings of THE Bible (in its many versions) are frequently self contradictory, so as a law book it is an abject failure.

    Bibles are of course inapplicable to the laws/ethics of Buddhism, Hindus etc.

    Including it in a secular ceremony is an obvious problem, but that’s not my point.

    Even the Catholic Church has its texts of Cannon Law separated from their version of “THE Bible”!

    I would say that the meaning, or utility, of using the bible (or any text purported to be the “word of god”) is to give the oath legitimacy. “I do solemnly swear, with my hand on this sacred book, while I acknowledge the existence of a god who is surely watching me and would strike me down if I were not being honest and earnest (or at least will send me to hell for lying in his presence).”

    This is of course for show and to tap into bigotry and bias!
    Firstly the “authority of the Bible” proclaims Xtian dogma is law.
    and secondly to seek support and impress fellow believers and their biases, with tribal identity as a Xtian, and to wear a badge of “Xtian morality”!

    So, then what does it mean to substitute the constitution (or any other document) for the bible in a swearing in ceremony involving a promise to uphold the duties of a public office? Does placing my hand on a copy of this document make my promise somehow more sincere or binding?

    As with signing a contract, it should make rational people think about it.
    To the deluded, it reminds them that their god-delusion is watching them.
    This might account for Xtian judges and lawyers, who insist on “reinterpreting” perfectly explicit texts to make them comply with dogmatic teachings which the documents contradict!



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  • @ #14

    So much wonderfully extraneous information.

    It is arguable that THE Ten commandments were some sort of tribal law…

    There’s really no valid argument against it. (And I was thinking more along the lines of Leviticus, in any case.)

    This is of course for show and to tap into bigotry and bias!

    And this doesn’t change when a different document is employed in the “show”.

    As with signing a contract, it should make rational people think about it.

    As if they hadn’t already thought about it by the time they are at the point of taking an oath! This is ridiculous. Rational people understand that the value of a promise is based on the person making the promise. Trust is earned and then extended based on reputation. No symbolic gesture with a document is going to change that.



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  • PeacePecan #15
    Sep 23, 2016 at 1:12 pm

    @ #14 It is arguable that THE Ten commandments were some sort of tribal law…

    There’s really no valid argument against it.

    The different versions would indicate a lack an authentic version of whatever it was.

    (And I was thinking more along the lines of Leviticus, in any case.)

    That’s the thing about THE Bible – You can cherry-pick whatever you please from the assortment of self contradictions.



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  • I, GOD of all creation say unto you:

    Do not believe in entities or events that have no evidence for existence in the natural universe by means of our senses or extensions of our senses.
    Question all authorities.
    Do not believe that different is another word for wrong.
    Do not kill another human being unless in the case of self defense.
    Take responsibility for your own actions.
    Think globally and act locally.
    Accept that there is no absolute truth.
    Do not assume you know how another person thinks or feels.
    Change your ideas if new evidence indicates that your previous ideas are incorrect.
    Do not attempt to impose your ideas on other people.

    So spoken from mount improbable!



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