18% Would Not Vote for a Mormon, 54% Would Vote for an AtheistPosted by Jim Newman on June 22nd, 2012 – Comments Off – Posted in atheists
This is virtually the same as 1967 when this was asked in a previous gallop poll. However, don’t get too excited as 20% of Americans wouldn’t vote for a Catholic when JFK was elected. Education and being a Democrat were slight indicators. Only 57% know that Romney is Mormon.
You can track Gallop’s polling on the election here.
Atheists lose out in electoral viability to Muslims by a few percent.
While more than nine in 10 Americans would vote for a presidential candidate who is black, a woman, Catholic, Hispanic, or Jewish, significantly smaller percentages would vote for one who is an atheist (54%) or Muslim (58%). Americans’ willingness to vote for a Mormon (80%) or gay or lesbian (68%) candidate falls between these two extremes.
The good news is that a majority of Americans would be willing to vote for an atheist so I guess that’s progress. It’s just discouraging anyway.
We often talk about emulating the coming out of gays and gay pride. I wonder if our approach would be better served if we came out in the black freedom or black equality style. Being gay was about acceptance of difference. Being black was about racial equality and full civil freedom. Clearly there were overlaps. The vitality of the civil rights movement seemed to have more power behind it. Blackness was a race card where being gay is a lifestyle card–being gay might be genetic but that didn’t really affect the difference in politics.
I am saying and I go out on a limb here that being atheists is a more fundamental and basically humanity issue much like being of a different race. The big umbrella of civil rights does affect many but it seems like the hatred towards atheists is more primal and more visceral than even the dislike towards gays. It’s like we need bigger words, bigger movements, and bigger talking points to go forward. It’s not that we want to be accepted like you, it’s that our basic humanity is stripped by their bigotry.
Unlike gays or blacks we can hide our differences more easily. I suppose it’s this ability to stay in the closet more readily that makes it less of an equality issue? Just exactly what dies it mean to look and behave like an atheist?
I don’t want to play who’s most oppressed as Native Americans always win hands down and more blacks are more falsely in prison than any other group but atheists are trusted the least as far as politics go, and viability of marriage into the family–we are the least successful marriage candidates according to other polls. No, I am thinking we need more big thinking when it comes to atheist equality actions. Maybe atheists will become equal with a whisper but maybe not. Political historians say science needs more success solving human problems to gain political traction but the material challenges on the horizon have more to do with political choice than miracle technology. No doubt lead made into gold for everyone would popularize science and hence rationality but I don’t think this is happening soon but who knows? Another green revolution, another energy revolution would go a long way to revitalizing trust in science for a short while until reproduction caught up.
In the absence of that and the mistrust of science, by many, as being unable to move society spiritually, then the oppression of freethinking is not merely the loss of a lifestyle but the doom of a world unable to follow science and rationality, as humans run off the cliff to mass misery. In other words it’s not just about the technology but also about trusting scientists in the same way or more so than they trust their pastors.
The great thing about science is that anyone scan do it. The bad thing is that no one trusts the experts. It used to be about becoming an expert and now it’s about tendering credibility. Yet, science like math has gotten too difficult for everyone to be able to understand what’s going on. It’s not magically delightful enough to fascinate people as is the virgin birth or the miracles of Jesus or even would a perfect god allow evil. Humans forget the material issues of the past but remember the psychohead stuff that never goes away.
The basic core issues of the bible still resonate, unfortunately, because they better fit basic, accessible issues of life. It’s not that do unto others is a good complete rule of thumb moral it’s that it’s good enough for many. Or so it seems until it clouds your deliberations such that you no longer seek dialog over differences or sophistications that drive us now because the world is more complex.
Jim Newman, bright and well