Dealt a body blow, atheists and humanists regroup

Nov 15, 2016

By Kimberly Winston

(RNS) For the last decade, atheists, humanists and others secularists have worked hard to organize a “secular vote” that would counter the political clout of the religious right.

President-elect Donald J. Trump’s victory dealt that movement a body blow when he garnered 81 percent of the white evangelical vote and 60 percent of the white Catholic vote. Mormons, too, voted overwhelmingly for Trump.

Despite Trump’s not being a particularly religious person, his platform was seen as anti-secular in many atheist and humanist circles. He said he would appoint religiously conservative Supreme Court justices, ban Muslim immigrants, favor Christianity and repeal the Johnson Amendment, which prohibits certain tax-exempt organizations from endorsing political candidates — issues antithetical to organized atheism and humanism.

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22 comments on “Dealt a body blow, atheists and humanists regroup

  • @OP – he garnered 81 percent of the white evangelical vote and 60 percent of the white Catholic vote. Mormons, too, voted overwhelmingly for Trump.

    To the delusional thinker, delusional thinking and ink-blot “interpretation” is “good”! – until it bites them personally!

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  • I can’t see the association with Secularism here. As a Secular Conservative, I have no problem with him.
    He hits the right nerve for people who are for Socialism/Globalism. The others, not so much at all, if anything, he’s a good choice for blowing some wind on that house of cards.

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  • To Ben #3:

    There is a HUGE difference between “Secular Conservative” and “Social Conservative.” Predictions are that Trump will appoint Supreme Court Justices who are Social Conservatives. That will be equivalent to ruling the US from evangelical and Catholic pulpits. If you are secular, you should have a problem with ANY Republican elected president.

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  • 5
    fadeordraw says:

    I too am not sure that atheists/pro-science humanitarians would be more prone to vote for Hillary. As RD reportedly said recently in Vancouver, ““In the United States it is very, very hard for an open atheist to become a member of Congress. Of the 535 senators and members of the House of Representatives, there is not a single avowed atheist (as of Sunday night, at any rate). Dawkins does not believe that’s possible. To get elected to Congress, he says, “you’ve either got to be religious or a liar.”” Hillary’s part of that and that can’t go on/needs immediate addressing. The concern with Trump for the atheists/pro-science humanitarians is the climate change denial policy. That’s anti- scientism for political populous pandering. The man himself is clearly a materialists – very much into his earthly pleasures (his 3rd wife is a knock-out). For that and his business management billions, I’d say he’s existentialist (Don ain’t focussed too much on an afterlife). And for political populous pandering, there’s the policy to support Israel, ‘cause US radical Christians find spiritual value in supporting ancient Judaism (I forget why) and they really don’t care about Palestinian-Israeli management or those 3rd party Islamists. Trump indeed might very well be better for increasing planet living realizations, which the atheists/pro-science humanitarians want, though the short-tern pain might really really hurt. So a high percentage of atheists/pro-science humanitarians might have thought Trumps was the best vote for longer term results.

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  • What is going on here? Are we being invaded by deluded Trump fanatics? The man is a con. His daughter is already cashing in by promoting her jewelry line in a 60 Minutes interview. Trump’s son-in-law is settling old grudges against the former prosecuting attorney who sent his father to prison. And Trump hasn’t even taken office yet. We will all be lucky to get out of this Trump disaster alive.

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  • Hi Ben [#3],

    I can’t see the association with Secularism here. As a Secular Conservative, I have no problem with him …

    By “him” I assume you mean Trump?

    I believe I speak for many people when I say that the link between Trump and secularism is that a secular society is one based on equal treatment of and for all those of faith and those with none.

    Did you miss:
    – Pence is a religious zealot who went out of his way as Governor of Indiana to impose his conservative Christian views on everyone else?
    – Trump insulted patriotic American Muslims, and Muslims in general?
    – Trump in Council Bluffs, Iowa, Sept. 28, singling out people who were not Christian – jokingly asking: “should we keep them in the room?”?

    He [Trump] hits the right nerve for people who are for Socialism/Globalism

    I don’t know about socialism, I bow to your expertise on that point Ben. On the other hand, how left-leaning could a member of the Republican Party actually be … ? I find your point here very difficult to understand Ben.

    As far as ‘globalism’ is concerned I suspect that depends on how you define globalism. What is that?

    Does Trump hit nerves? Yes, I can give you that. Trump doesn’t talk in terms of facts or policies so we have to judge him on how we subjectively feel about how he says what little he says. The Secular view is that government policies should be based on objective facts and the professional opinions of experts as much as possible.

    In the sense that hitting a nerve is an idiom for upsetting someone by talking about something in a way that upsets them, Trump upsets Secularists by saying crude, outlandish, fact-free, non-expert, things. Does that help you understand?

    The others [other politicians?, other members of the Trump family?, other Republicans? …], not so much at all …

    … if anything, [Trump’s] a good choice for blowing some wind on that house of cards

    What doers that mean Ben?


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  • prietenul #6
    Nov 17, 2016 at 6:10 am

    What is going on here?
    Are we being invaded by deluded Trump fanatics?

    This may helt to explain it.

    Every fourth November, after almost two years of campaign hype and money, over 90 million Americans vote for the presidential candidates. Then, in the middle of December, the president and vice president of the United States are really elected by the votes of only 538 citizens—the “electors” of the Electoral College System.

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  • To Stephen #7:

    “Pence is a religious zealot who went out of his way as Governor of
    Indiana to impose his conservative Christian views on everyone else?”

    I’m sure that Pence thinks he has the absolute truth. It probably makes no sense that there are people who oppose him as they are deluded and twisted (according to him).”

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  • In my view Trump “won” the electoral vote but “lost” the popular vote by two million votes because of a perfect storm that mixed a variety of circumstances and factors to yield a freak result. Religious believers versus secularists did not play a crucial role in the outcome. Overreaching to impose a Christian Right Regime on Americans who are decidedly adverse will only hasten their dwindling constituency and ultimate demise.

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  • crookedshoes #11
    Nov 18, 2016 at 12:20 pm

    I, personally, think Trump is an atheist.

    He may be technically without beliefs in deities, (no gods before Trump’s ego?) but he is an egotistical delusionist, and certainly not a scientific rationalist!

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  • Alan4,
    I think you nail it. But, are we all thinking that these descriptions are mutually exclusive?

    I also think that a great question is, “can you be a ___________________ and still be a good ________________?”

    If we fill in the spaces like this: Can you be a racist and still be a good police officer? i think we see a resounding “NO.”..
    Can you be a racist and be a good school teacher? My opinion is no.

    How about can you be a racist and still be a good baseball player? I guess so (Ty Cobb comes to mind).

    Can you be an atheist and a good priest? Turns out you can.
    How about an atheist singer in a rock and roll band? Yep….
    Can you be an atheist and still be a good cook? Yeah, I think so (I am a pretty good cook, myself).

    Which bring us to the big Q:
    Can you be an egomaniacal megalomanic racist anti-science atheist doorknob and still govern the US?
    I don’t know. I do know that we are going to find out and I suspect the answer is going to be much much more complex than a “yes” or a “no”.

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  • I too am not sure that atheists/pro-science humanitarians would be more prone to vote for Hillary.

    Fadeordraw, your comment is all mixed up.

    Hillary is a Methodist, a real one. She would be lying if she said she wasn’t. She believes that climate change is real, and isn’t a fanatic like pence and others around Trump. If atheists, humanitarians won’t vote for anyone who is religious than you’re right; but that would be an absurd litmus test. Trump is a monster.

    Bannon, (a screwball and probably a cruel social Darwinist Christian loving plutocrat) Flynn (an unstable and incoherent retired general, and an extreme hawk), and Sessions (the last of the unreconstructed bigots) in top govt positions.

    Now Romney, an arch reactionary, and Creationist and now arch reactionary a la Pat Robertson and Falwell: Huckabee!! (being considered).

    Here’s another major body blow in the works: school choice!

    “While public schools have the responsibility for educating all students, many voucher schools take public funding while picking and choosing students based on their academic and behavioral characteristics,” Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers labor union, said in a statement after the report’s release. “Voucher schools don’t abide by the same academic quality standards as public schools. They blur the lines separating church and state. Finally, vouchers exacerbate inequity by directly draining critical funding away from public schools—often the schools that need that funding most.

    And look at this:

    Dixon addressed Pence after the musical show Hamilton.

    “We, sir — we — are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents, or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights,” he said. “We truly hope that this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf of all of us.”

    Trump tweeted:
    “The Theater must always be a safe and special place.The cast of Hamilton was very rude last night to a very good man, Mike Pence. Apologize!”

    “Our wonderful future V.P. Mike Pence was harassed last night at the theater by the cast of Hamilton, cameras blazing.This should not happen!”

    -Donald J. TrumpVerified account‏@realDonaldTrump

    Fascism. He’s ordering them to apologize! “Harassed” is a legal term. He’ll start shutting down political theater, plays, you name it.

    If they are not “more prone” then they are rigid idiots, as bad as the religious ideologues!

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  • P.S. Not even sure I quite understood the comment I highlighted above and addressed; it strikes me as nonsensical and absurd. Are atheists prone to voting for a monster who is an atheist and prone to refrain from voting for a good, solid, decent candidate who is not an atheist? Or just the latter? Both positions are foolish.

    Trump an atheist? I don’t give a good goddamn.

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  • Dan,
    I agree with you that Trump could be an outed atheist and totally up front with his atheism and It wouldn’t offset his repellant view of what the US should/could be. He (IMO) should have been unelectable.
    I do part ways with you, though, when you start to tout Hillary as a solid, good, decent person. To me she is none of these things and, I think that if she had been, she’d not have lost to such a shit monger.

    The saddest part of all of this for me is that at close to 50 years old, I’ve never voted for a great person. I’ve always been forced (by this illusion of choice) to pick the lesser of two evils. And, in this case, there really were two evils. I lament the idea that no great person has ever, in my voting life, ran for the presidency. I see these people exuberantly bouncing up and down and screaming at these rallies and I just cannot understand what they are even remotely excited about. It’s all dogshit and it is a reason for sadness.

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  • Hi, Crookedshoes,

    I wonder if even Lincoln (if he were alive today) could have beaten Trump in 2016. No one reads. Propaganda is rife.

    As I said on the other thread (Why Christians), no one knows for sure what his view of the US is or should be. I do have some very strong hunches about that, however, which I articulated in my usual way. (A lot of adjectives.)

    I understand that you’re no fan of Hillary. Many people distrust her and dislike her. But we agree that Trump and Pence is – shall I say – not the ideal ticket.


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  • Dan, I saw a funny meme. It went something like this:

    John: “So, god I just finished revelations”

    God: “Good my son”

    John: “Are you sure you want the end of the universe to be heralded by trumpets?”

    God: “Trump/Pence”.

    John: “Ahh, ok, trumpets it is”

    God: “Trump/Pence”

    John: “Got it! Trumpets”

    God: “Ahhh, I’m sure they will recognize what I meant.”

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  • It looks like the US legal system, constitution and political systems are going to be dealt a body blow, trying to run some sort of government and international diplomacy with all of Trump’s international conflicts of business interest, and his involvement of members of his family in his team and in his businesses!

    Donald Trump’s Potential Conflicts of Interest Continue To Mount

    WASHINGTON ― When Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe became the first foreign head of state to meet in person with President-elect Donald Trump, a photograph taken of the official event at Trump Tower in Manhattan showed a curious attendee: Trump’s daughter Ivanka.

    The appearance of Ivanka Trump, who is executive vice president of development and acquisitions for the Trump Organization, raises alarm bells for those concerned about the unprecedented potential for conflicts of interest involving the incoming president.

    With her two brothers, Don Jr. and Eric, Ivanka has taken the reins of her father’s vast global business empire through a so-called blind trust. (It is not a blind trust.) At the same time, the three adult children are on Trump’s transition team, giving him advice and, apparently, meeting with dignitaries from countries where they could do business in the near future.

    “They shouldn’t be on the transition team because they’re going to be running the business,” said Richard Painter, who was White House ethics czar under George W. Bush. “I don’t know why they’re on the transition team. It’s a clear conflict of interest.”

    Federal conflict-of-interest laws do not apply to the president, but that does not mean that Trump’s business holdings do not create the appearance of conflicts if not actual conflicts. They are, in fact, unprecedented.

    No president has ever held a fortune that spans the globe. He has licensed his name to buildings in far-flung countries, including Azerbaijan, Indonesia, the Philippines, South Korea and Turkey. Some are allies, some are ruled by autocratic dictatorships and some are at odds with American interests. Further, he owes hundreds of millions of dollars each to the government-owned Bank of China and the privately owned Deutsche Bank. The Trump Organization has plans to continue to expand the company around the globe during its namesake’s presidential administration.

    Not only do these foreign holdings, debts and future deals present imminent conflicts of interest for American foreign policy, but they also create an immediate constitutional concern. The U.S. Constitution’s emoluments clause states that no government official shall receive favorable payment from a foreign government, foreign government-owned company or foreign official without the consent of Congress. It is, in essence, an anti-bribery clause preventing foreign corruption.

    “Any of those types of arrangements, including bank loans from the Bank of China, would need to be unwound or you could have an accusation that it violates the emoluments clause,” Painter said.

    This isn’t the only Chinese government-owned bank in business with Trump. The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China’s United States headquarters are in Trump Tower in Manhattan. This government-owned bank pays rent directly to Trump through the Trump Organization.

    The Republicans clearly gave no thought to this when they chose Trump as a candidate!

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  • Good article, Alan. Thanks for that.

    As for the last sentence in your post, a journalist who I respect had this to say. I would have phrased it differently. The voters didn’t listen to the debate, haven’t for years. I fault them, not the debate. I heard the debate and it spoke to me. I am tired of people expressing sympathy for the people who voted trump in!

    “. . . fascist movements [and reactionaries] build their base not from the politically active but the politically inactive, the ‘losers’ who feel, often correctly, they have no voice or role to play in the political establishment”. When political debate no longer speaks to us, people become responsive instead to slogans, symbols and sensation. To the admirers of Trump, for example, facts and arguments appear irrelevant.”

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  • To Crookedshoes#16: You said…

    I do part ways with you, though, when you start to tout Hillary as a
    solid, good, decent person. To me she is none of these things and, I
    think that if she had been, she’d not have lost to such a shit monger.

    Hillary lost not because she is “crooked”, but because millions of stupid people believed those Republican lies.

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  • Genocidal American Nazis coming out of from under the rocks. Big rally in DC. Hail Trump, they said. No white hoods. Out in the open, with business suits now. Trump team contacted. Not much of a response.
    Soon the neo nazis will be marching. First amendment. Trump did this, with Bannon’s help. America in crisis.
    Terrible time now. It can only get worse, before or if it gets better.

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