More ‘nones’ than you think, but many won’t show up on Election Day

Sep 24, 2016

By Lauren Markoe

A quarter of U.S. adults do not affiliate with any religion, a new study shows – an all-time high in a nation where large swaths of Americans are losing faith.

But while these so-called “nones” outnumber any religious denomination, they are not voting as a bloc, and may have little collective influence on the upcoming presidential election.

The rapid growth of the religiously unaffiliated, charted in a survey released by the Public Religion Research Institute Thursday, is raising eyebrows even among those who follow trends in American religiosity.


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31 comments on “More ‘nones’ than you think, but many won’t show up on Election Day

  • But while these so-called “nones” outnumber any religious
    denomination, they are not voting as a bloc, and may have little
    collective influence on the upcoming presidential election.

    In other words, we are a varied group with virtually nothing to bring us under one umbrella. I understand how that could be detrimental in terms of putting pressure on political issues, but that downside isn’t worth giving up my autonomy. Conforming to specific ideologies in order to gain political clout would not be worth the cost. Leave that type of thinking to the theists; I’ll vote as I see fit on the issues.



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  • I’d like to try to start a “new” (dangerous word when combined with atheist) movement. I hope for a day when everyone keeps their beliefs to themselves. We are currently mired in the “extroverted” era of belief/nonbelief (IMO this is why there is so much religiously motivated violence).

    Frankly, I don’t care one iota what anyone else “believes”. Stupid fucking word of there ever was one (believe). I’d like to usher in an era where beliefs are personal and private (it does say somewhere in that silly book that you should not “pray publicly”). Let’s kickstart it with the “shut the fuck up about your beliefs” tagline. It would benefit everyone if there were a global quelling of this fervor to demonstrate just how deeply someone “believes” something.

    I think, in talking to the majority of believers, that the word “hope” has been conflated with the word “believe”. See, I hope that somewhere my Nan is still an entity and I hope that I’d get the chance to see her again. But, I do not believe that it is a possibility. Same way I hope to win the lottery, but not having purchased a ticket, I know it ain’t gonna happen.



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  • When my students challenge me about creation and evolution, I go into this routine. I tell them that I do not “believe” in multiplication. I am an “adder”. I write 5×5= 25 on the board and tell them that this is, in fact a scam. Multiplication is bullshit and is probably the work of a liberal.

    Then I write 5+5+5+5+5=25 … I add… fuck that voodoo multiplications shit.

    Then i say, hear how silly that sounds?

    I also tell them that I do not believe in Iowa. I do not think it exists. It is a conspiracy brought into existence by the “government” to scam us all into thinking that there is this really cool state. but i know better. That’s right. I’ve never been there. I have never known anyone from there. Iowa has ZERO professional sports teams. There has never been a celebrity from Iowa…. etc… Is my assertion reasonable? Or is there proof of Iowa? Proof.



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  • @ #3

    I’d like to try to start a “new” (dangerous word when combined with atheist) movement. I hope for a day when everyone keeps their beliefs to themselves.

    I had something I wanted to share with you regarding this topic, but since it involves beliefs I decided to keep it to myself.



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  • If the “nones” aren’t voting in this election then they are making a large mistake.

    One thing we learn as history unfolds is that blacks can be as bad as whites (and as good; that’s obvious), that women can be as reactionary as men, that the oppressed can become oppressors, and that atheists, apparently, can be as stupid as theists.



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  • @Crooked #3

    Let’s kickstart it with the “shut the fuck up about your beliefs”
    tagline.

    Lol…if I owned a car, that could possibly be one of my bumper stickers (along with “Hang up and Drive“).

    @Dan #7

    If the “nones” aren’t voting in this election then they are making a
    large mistake.

    I think it’s more like millennials not voting; they are distressingly apathetic when it comes to politics, and do not equate voting with impacts of their own lives. Bernie came closest to lighting a fire under their asses; I wish he would get out there and be more vocal/visible for Hillary, if for no other reason than to get the millennials into the voting booths in November. Between their apathy and Johnson’s votes, Carrot Face could win by default. It is conceivable our next president could be a petulant 10-year-old.



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  • There appears to be a combination of factors this election year that are contributing to voter “apathy”, one of which is the “nones” trend, which may be part of a more general trend away from indoctrination, which also occurs in politics. Because it’s much more satisfying, I think we would all prefer to vote FOR someone or something that we judge to be good, rather than AGAINST what is considered worse in the hopes of ending up with the “lesser of two evils” (assuming a binary choice). And it’s understandable why some would choose to withold their vote, which may fall somewhere in between in terms of satisfaction. Most of the nones are relatively young, and it takes experience and maturity to understand that the former is an idealistic standpoint, and that, realistically, voting is almost always a case of the latter. Although this may leave us less satisfied, it is the right thing to do in these circumstances. Most votes are cancelled out by an opposing vote, so by not voting against the worse we might as well be voting for it.



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  • “…realistically, voting is almost always a case of the latter.”

    I’ve been voting for a long time (my first vote cast was for Nixon), and voting the lesser of two evils has pretty much been the rule rather than the exception. Sometimes I wonder how much of that is due to the inevitable mud-slinging that occurs as we near voting day. Every election we hear the same pleas for civility, but marketing polls confirm that isn’t what ‘sells’. So we become these horrible creatures who hate and deride those who disagree with us. I hate election season.



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  • @Vicki #8, #10

    Vicki! Hi! Some honest feedback. I liked comment 8, but was annoyed by comment 10. you have it all wrong this time. Trump is a brute. Hillary has responded to his attacks – as she should – and her remarks about Trump are not mud-slinging; they are accurate statements. He is the mud-slinger. You usually have excellent judgment, but you are wrong about this one.

    She is not the lesser of two evils. Nor was Gore. Nor was Obama. Obama wasn’t the best, but he wasn’t evil. Trump really is. This attitude of yours (which is very prevalent) is what gets people like Trump elected.

    Trump is a neo-fascist and a fraud. He will hurt or destroy this country. He doesn’t believe in climate change or environmental regulations, does not believe in financial regulations, wants to lower taxes for those at the top, makes one outrageous statement after the other (“I know more about ISIS than the generals” and “I will blow up Iranian boats that taunt our navy”). He said that Obama and Hillary founded ISIS, and that Hillary started the birther issue. He is a shameless liar. She is a decent woman who may have lied a few times. But lying in response to attacks by relentless, merciless, treacherous enemies is not ethically wrong, in my opinion. How unfortunate that a person as intelligent as you doesn’t see the differences between these candidates and thinks they are both just hurling gratuitous insults at each other. He’s abusive. She is just defending herself. “Crooked Hillary.” Give me a break. He hasn’t released his taxes, and was a bad landlord and is hated by people who know him and who have worked for him. He is surrounded now by thugs and criminals. (Christie, Bannon, et al)

    Hillary is progressive on domestic issues. As for her foreign policy, we’ll have to see. She has a wealth of experience and knowledge. Too hawkish. That is true. But most democrats are.

    If I have mischaracterized your position re this election in any way, I am sorry.

    A lot of these millennials are idiots. They like Johnson now! Johnson is a libertarian! He is the opposite of a Bernie Sanders.

    “What’s called libertarian in the United States, which is a special U. S. phenomenon, it doesn’t really exist anywhere else — a little bit in England — permits a very high level of authority and domination but in the hands of private power: so private power should be unleashed to do whatever it likes. The assumption is that by some kind of magic, concentrated private power will lead to a more free and just society […] that kind of libertarianism, in my view, in the current world, is just a call for some of the worst kinds of tyranny, namely unaccountable private tyranny.”
    —Noam Chomsky

    Trump is like a toddler, or as you said, a ten-year-old. I think he is extremely dangerous. He is an autocrat and a megalomaniac. He would impose military law and try to silence the press in a heartbeat. And I don’t trust him with those codes. No way.

    Best,

    Dan



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  • Hi Dan!

    re: the lesser of two evils

    Between her and Trump, the choice is obvious. But I would have preferred it had come down to Bernie and Bush. I like her, though, and haven’t got sucked up into the witch-hunt mania that has plagued the GOP for the past 20 years. But Bernie would have been my first choice.

    The only candidate I have ever voted for happily was Obama in 2012 (I didn’t vote for him in ’08 because I didn’t think he had the ability–he proved me wrong). I will miss that elegance and sense of freshness the Obama family brought to the White House.

    To clarify, sometimes I vote for the lesser of two evils, and sometimes I vote against another candidate. Rare is the time I whistle happily and confidently as I enter the voting booth.



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  • 15
    Pinball1970 says:

    OP “But while these so-called “nones” outnumber any religious denomination, they are not voting as a bloc, and may have little collective influence on the upcoming presidential election.”

    Atheism is not a political party.

    Atheists tend to use evidence and reason to make decisions about the world (the ones I have talked with) so voting for a very religious president would automatically mean it would be less like they would get a yes from an atheist.

    I think that is as far as it goes though.

    I think that is far as it should go, say the policies of the less religious candidate are completely unrealistic and would put the economy and security of the country in jeopardy?

    I am thinking UK rather than USA with this question, I would not vote for Corbyn at present and I would hazard a guess that he is less religious than Theresa May.

    I like neither.



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  • I think everyone need to include an important and overlooked idea. Here’s the deal. Every program, every issue that the candidates debate, control, brainstorm etc… their solutions are experiments. Obamacare is/was and experiment. Trump’s proposed wall is an experiment. They do not “know” anything. Nothing whatsoever.

    Many people decry scientist’s inability to “predict the weather” and use this supposed shortcoming to speak against global warming. meanwhile, they simultaneously back ideas and policies whose results and ramifications are totally unknown and often governed by shifting populations of largely….idiots.

    Clinton’s policies are more humane, more human, less drastic, and seemingly feasible. Trump’s are alarming, hate filled, extreme and seemingly not feasible. However, both sets are experiments, nothing more.



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  • Phil, Oh no! I’ve done that before. They’ll delete it.

    Well here is the article:

    ww.nytimes.com/2016/09/25/opinion/sunday/how-to-cover-a-charlatan-like-trump.html?emc=eta1



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  • @Vicki #13

    Well said as always.

    My late father, who was an exceedingly wise and erudite man, said of Obama’s critics – and this was not too long before he died– that we (Americans) may eventually get someone in office who will be so horrible that the people that hate Obama now will then say: “God I wish we had Obama back!” I hope that doesn’t turn out to be prophetic.

    “But at midnight there was a cry made, Behold the bridegroom cometh.” Matthew 25:6

    (My father, a socialist, was not without criticism of Obama either, but said, when he ran, both times: “he’s the best we got.”)



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  • None too smart.

    A lot of these millennials are just plain dumb. Many are supporting Johnson, as I said. Johnson is the OPPOSITE of Sanders.

    “I think it [the Citizens United case] comes under the First Amendment, that they should be able to contribute as much money as they want. —Johnson



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  • This “None” will most likely be voting for Gary Johnson in 2016.

    I know the Democrats feel like I’m “taking away” a vote from them, just as the Republicans feel like I’m “taking away” a vote from them, but neither of those parties are entitled to my vote. When they provide a candidate worthy of my vote, then they can have it.

    I voted in both Democratic and Republican primaries, yet never have those resulted in those parties selecting a candidate that I think would make the best president.

    I don’t live in a swing state. If I did, then maybe I would consider voting differently.



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  • Hi, Kyle,

    Are you aware of what Johnson and other libertarians like Ron Paul and Rand paul actually stand for? Social Darwinism. The survival of the fittest, Dog eat dog…

    American libertarians are savages, basically. Johnson supports Citizens United, and is all about the free market. Libertarianism is a wicked political philosophy, although it has a nice ring to it. And a lot of people get suckered in because libertarians don’t support foreign interventions, and therefore they can come across as reasonable and left-leaning which they are not. They are to the right of Reagan when it comes to fiscal matters, taxes and regulations. Is that what we want? There is also a long history of racism amongst libertarians too. You can look that up.

    Read this:

    “What’s called libertarian in the United States, which is a special U. S. phenomenon, it doesn’t really exist anywhere else — a little bit in England — permits a very high level of authority and domination but in the hands of private power: so private power should be unleashed to do whatever it likes. The assumption is that by some kind of magic, concentrated private power will lead to a more free and just society […] that kind of libertarianism, in my view, in the current world, is just a call for some of the worst kinds of tyranny, namely unaccountable private tyranny.”
    —Noam Chomsky

    Johnson and the dense millennials:

    http://onmilwaukee.com/buzz/articles/johnsonconsequences.html



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  • Hey Dan,

    Savages?? haha
    That’s a bit extreme.. I’d consider myself fairly civilized.

    Yes, I like free markets. I like personal liberties. What I do with my time, my life, my body, and my property should be left for me to decide, so long as I am not prohibiting others from doing the same. I think that basically sums up libertarianism. How is that wicked?

    Having laws that protect the rights of individuals is a good thing.



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  • Having laws that protect the rights of individuals is a good thing.

    Hi Kyle

    It is a good thing. It is my understanding, though, that libertarianism is more about virtual free reign for corporations and the little guy be damned. That does not bode well for corporate abuse, be it environmental or consumer. As we no longer have the strength of unions, the government is our only recourse for justice against an entity that out-guns us, so to speak.

    Capitalism is about the best thing out there, given the alternatives, IMO. But unbridled capitalism is a runaway train. Can you say Epipen?

    Still, I get it. Cast your vote where you think it should be. That’s what it’s all about.

    I would also point out, that if by some miracle Johnson wins, we will be looking at four more years of inaction between the Executive and Legislative branches. Just something to keep in mind.



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  • Hi, Kyle,

    Sorry. I didn’t mean you or all libertarians.

    Sounds nice on the surface but American libertarianism today is a call for corporate tyranny. Libertarianism today means that power ought to be put into the hands of private unaccountable tyranny. The corporate system, as it has evolved in the 20th century and left to its own devices, is pure tyranny, completely unaccountable. No regulations. No oversight.

    Libertarianism = No federal involvement in anything: health – you name it.

    Ron Paul was asked “what if some guy’s in a coma and he’s going to die and has no health insurance.” His reply:
    “It’s a tribute to our liberty, to how free we are.”

    Most libertarians favor “religious freedom”, the right for a private business owner to discriminate. Is that liberty or, in this case, religious tyranny?

    Ayn Rand in my view is one of the most evil figures of modern intellectual history.

    I don’t think you’re a savage, or that all libertarians are savages. I just think that this brand of libertarianism (American libertarianism today) is cruel and wrong. Many people who like libertarianism are great people; I just think that many of them are also ill-informed.



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  • Att: Millennnials and Nones on this site who like Johnson

    From Dan Savage article. Nails it.

    “Johnson’s support comes disproportionately from young Democrats and Independents who supported Bernie Sanders in the primary,” Jedd Legum writes at Think Progress

    That’s nuts.

    Name an issue Sanders ran on—TPP, Citizen’s United, climate change, the minimum wage, health care, free college tuition—and Johnson is on the opposite side. Sanders wants to raise the minimum wage, Johnson doesn’t think there should be a minimum wage; Sanders wants a single payer health-care system, aka “Medicare for all,” Johnson wants to eliminate Medicare and let the free market work do its magic; Sanders opposed TPP, Johnson supports TPP; Sanders wants the federal government to guarantee free college tuition, Johnson wants to eliminate what little support the federal government currently provides to college students; Sanders thinks climate change is a threat to humanity, Johnson thinks we shouldn’t do anything to address climate change because colonizing habitable planets we haven’t discovered yet is the far easier solution—and, hey, the Earth is going to be swallowed up by the sun billions of years from now so let’s eliminate all regulations on the energy industry and destroy the Earth ourselves before the sun has a chance.

    “In Johnson’s America, corporations will be completely in charge of the environment, health care, retirement, trade and wages,” writes Legum. “This should not be appealing to former Bernie Sanders supporters. But, up until now, it has been. And whether it remains that way could have a big impact on the outcome of the 2016 election.”



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