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cushioncrawler
07-24-2012, 01:41 AM
Nonbelievers second largest ‘denomination’ in nation “Nones” climb to 19% July 20, 2012

America’s “Nones” — the nonreligious — are at an all-time high, now comprising nearly one in five Americans (19%), according to a new study by the Pew Center for the People and the Press. The 19% count is based on aggregated surveys of 19,377 people conducted by the Pew Research Center throughout 2011 and reported by USA Today.

“This means great news for progress, for reasoned debate, for the status of nonbelievers in our nation,” said FFRF Co-President Dan Barker. “The freethought movement and FFRF are growing rapidly. There is an explosion of local and campus freethought groups, activities and conferences.”

“Nones” were already the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. population, according to the definitive American Religious Identification Survey, whose 2008 study showed adult Nones up to 15% from 6% in 1990. ARIS, released in 2009, actually estimated “Nones” at 20% if responses to broader questions about religious practices were included.

Freethinkers have been highly marginalized, in part for being perceived as making up a small segment of the U.S. population. Actually, there have always been many more nonreligious than Jews, Muslims, Mormons or Eastern religions' adherents, currently respectively at 1.2%, 0.6%, 1.4% and 0.9% of the U.S. population, according to ARIS. “Most minority religions, however tiny in numbers, are treated with respect, inclusion and sometimes deference. It’s time public officials and the American public wake up to the changing demographics and stop treating atheists and agnostics as outsiders,” added Annie Laurie Gaylor, who co-directs FFRF with Barker.

“With nonbelievers at about 20% of the population, there is no longer any excuse for leaving us out of the equation. Public officials cannot continue to assume ‘all Americans’ believe in a deity, or continue to offend 20% of the population by imposing prayer at governmental meetings or government-hosted events. These surveys now show that ‘In God We Trust’ is a provenly inaccurate motto. Nonbelievers should not be treated as political pariahs,” Gaylor said.

“ ‘Nones’ in fact were at the time of the last ARIS survey, the second-largest ‘denomination’ in the nation,” Barker said, “following Catholics at 25% and tied with Baptists at 15%. According to the new PEW study, nonbelievers now outrank Baptists.”

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, based in Madison, Wis., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational charity, is the nation's largest association of freethinkers (atheists, agnostics), and has been working since 1978 to keep religion and government separate.

cushioncrawler
07-24-2012, 01:49 AM
Niose: Atheists making political inroads Originally published: July 20, 2012 3:19 PM Updated: July 20, 2012 8:27 PM By DAVID NIOSE

Nonbelievers have always been part of the American landscape, but only recently have they begun to realize that open identification is a way of making a statement against the fundamentalist element in politics, writes David Niose.

For the first time ever, a majority of Americans would now vote for a qualified presidential candidate who is an atheist. Fifty-four percent said so in a Gallup poll published last month. The poll seems to indicate that today's secular movement, though still flying under the radar of many Americans, is producing results. The United States is witnessing a growing, empowered nonreligious demographic.

According to the American Religious Identification Survey, about 15 percent of Americans identify as "none" when asked for religious identity, almost double the number who did so in 1990. Thus, the improved prospects of a theoretical atheist presidential candidate -- up from only 18 percent when the question was first asked in 1958 -- reflect progress for America's seculars.

This newfound tolerance for secularity is reaching the highest levels. President Barack Obama has included nonbelievers several times in his description of American pluralism, including a direct reference in his inaugural address. Secular groups also scored a victory in 2010 when they met with White House officials to discuss policy issues of concern to them -- the first such official recognition of American nonbelievers ever.

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Perhaps nothing demonstrates the momentum of secularism more than the Secular Student Alliance, the national umbrella organization for college atheists, which has expanded from just a few dozen campus groups in 2007 to more than 350 today. Last year the alliance began venturing into high schools, a move that is sure to further normalize atheism at the grassroots level.

Secular activists like to describe their movement in terms of what it stands for -- reason, critical thinking, science and ethics -- but the movement can perhaps best be understood by what it stands against: the overbearing influence of religious conservatism in America. In fact, the fast growth of the modern secular movement in many ways reflects a new form of opposition to the religious right.

Although the religious right has always had opponents, most of its adversaries haven't been very effective. Since Jerry Falwell's newly formed Moral Majority helped elect Ronald Reagan in 1980, politically engaged religious fundamentalists have exerted more influence with virtually every election cycle, while few efforts to slow down the juggernaut of the Christian right have been successful.

As a result, open religiosity is now more widespread in politics and government than ever, with candidates for high office often enthusiastically denying evolution, promoting their faith, holding prayer rallies and even claiming that church-state separation is a myth. The Congressional Prayer Caucus, which ambitiously promotes governmental recognition of religiosity, lists 105 members of the House of Representatives, nearly one-fourth of the House's 435 seats, as members. Such open and persistent exaltation of religion in government would have been unthinkable a generation ago.

If we were wondering why opponents of the religious right have been unsuccessful, we should consider their usual approach. In a speech discussing the rise of politically active religious conservatism in 1983, for example, the late Sen. Edward Kennedy was quick to discuss his own religion. "I am an American and a Catholic," he said. "I love my country and treasure my faith." In other words, Kennedy was saying, liberals can be religious too.

This mantra -- that the religious right has no monopoly on religion -- was a consistent theme emphasized by politicians fighting against the Moral Majority and its successors, and can still be heard today.

Advocacy groups opposing the religious right often made similar arguments. Television producer Norman Lear formed People for the American Way in 1981 as a direct response to politically engaged religious fundamentalists. Other groups, such as the American Civil Liberties Union and Americans United for Separation of Church and State, were also in the early forefront in combating Falwell and the Christian right. Like Kennedy, these advocacy groups emphasized their religious associations, often by appointing religious leaders as board members and officers. For example, the Americans United for Separation of Church and State has been led by the Rev. Barry Lynn, a minister of the United Church of Christ.

All of these opponents fought valiantly against the fundamentalist agenda, but their approach was missing one critical element, an affirmative effort to validate personal secularity. As the opposition to the religious right consistently stressed its own religiosity, America's secular demographic -- a sizable and valuable population -- was marginalized.

In hindsight, this only served to further strengthen the Christian right. If the assumption in politics was that religion must be exalted, religious conservatives were assured a place of importance in any policy debate, just as nonbelievers were sure to be ignored.

While there is nothing wrong with occasional reminders that liberals can be religious, the troubling success of the religious right has caused many to rethink the strategy of overlooking the secular demographic. Indeed, many who seek rational public policy now see their own personal secularity as a quality to be emphasized, not downplayed. That is changing and the movement is becoming more proactive. For instance, the Secular Coalition for America, an organization that began lobbying in Washington on behalf of atheists about eight years ago, has now launched lobbying efforts at state levels as well.

More than anything else, this awareness of the value of secular identity explains the rapid growth of the modern secular movement.

This new form of activism challenges the religious right from an entirely new direction. Rather than insist that they are religious, too, today's opponents of the Christian right assert that they aren't impressed by any claims of religiosity. They are not religious, but they are indeed Americans.

Nonbelievers, of course, have always been part of the American landscape, but only recently have they begun to realize that open identification is a way of making a statement, of standing up against the fundamentalist element in politics. As they become more visible, the hope is that reason will return to the public arena.

cushioncrawler
07-24-2012, 04:37 PM
By Kimberly Winston| Religion News Service, AP
High school kids can join the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, the Jewish Student Union, the Muslim Students Association and, in some schools, a Hindu or a Buddhist club. Now they can join the young atheists club, too.

In another sign of the emergence of nonbelievers in American society, the Secular Student Alliance, a national organization of more than 300 college-based clubs for atheists, humanists, agnostics and other “freethinkers,” is helping to establish clubs for high school students to hang out with other teens who share their skepticism about the supernatural.

“I am hoping that atheist students having their clubs and religious students having their clubs will promote dialogue,” said JT Eberhard, director of SSA’s high school program. “I also hope it will let the atheist students know that you can be an atheist and its okay. You are still a good person. We want to say: Here is a place where you can feel that.”

There were about a dozen such clubs at the beginning of the 2011-2012 academic school year, a figure that rose to 39 in 17 states by summer break. The clubs are student-led, with SSA providing information and guidance only upon a student’s request.

Some clubs are in states with high levels of “nones” — people who claim no religious affiliation — such as New York, Washington and California. But some are in the buckle of the Bible Belt: North Carolina, Alabama, Louisiana and Texas all have at least one high school with a club for atheists.

And more are forming. Students at 73 different high schools have requested “starter kits” since January of this year, according to SSA.

Eberhard attributes the growing interest in atheism among high school students to several factors, including disenchantment with organized religion amid recent scandals and the rise of the Internet, which gives young doubters a safe forum to ask questions.

Two recent studies show religious doubt rising among “Millennials,” those Americans born after 1980. In April, the Pew Forum for Religion and Public Life reported 68 percent of Millennials “never doubt the existence of God,” down 15 points since 2007. And in June, the Public Religion Research Institute found that one in four Millennials report no religious affiliation.

Still, launching an atheist club is not always a smooth process. Some sail through a school’s approval process once they have met the school’s criteria, which usually means obtaining a faculty sponsor and demonstrating student interest.

Trevor Lynn, 17, said he faced no administrative resistance when he started an atheist club at his Eureka, Calif., high school in 2010.

“The administration of our school really prides itself on being able to have a club for everybody,” Lynn said. “They saw no reason to stop us.”

Now, his group — about seven members — meets to discuss philosophy and ethics and stage special events. In September, the club will host joint lectures on evolution and creationism by a prominent freethought author and a local pastor.

“I think it is important, especially in high school where people are coming into their own beliefs, that we have a space where people can feel kind of secure in their nonbelief and have a meeting where they know there are other people like them,” Lynn said. “That is the big reason I started the club.”

llotter
07-24-2012, 08:36 PM
There is an old adage from Alexander Hamiton that speaks to the celebration of such stupidity: "Those who stand for nothing, fall for anything". The Left proves the truth of this every day.

Qtec
07-25-2012, 01:28 AM
Conservatives stand for slavery, the Dems are fighting them all the time.
We have just witnessed over the last 4 years that they have no morals,no ethics and no plan, except but to continue to rob the 99%.
The present GOP have abandoned any sense of duty to the country. They are so obsessed with gaining power they are prepared to sacrifice anything and every thing, including the economy of the USA. They lie and they lie and they lie. They make a deal and go back on it.

After the GOP calling constantly in the media, "Obama where are the jobs?"............ just in.

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body"><span style='font-size: 26pt'>GOP senators block top Obama jobs initiative</span>

Washington (CNN) -- Senate Republicans on Thursday blocked the No.1 item on the president's congressional "to-do-list," refusing to allow a vote on <span style='font-size: 20pt'>a bill that would give tax breaks for companies that "insource" jobs to the U.S. from overseas while eliminating tax deductions for companies that move jobs abroad.</span> </div></div>

Of course, they wanted to vote for it but....

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">In voting against the bill, Republicans raised both substantive and<span style='font-size: 17pt'> procedural</span> problems with the measure. </div></div>

Oh. I get it, it was the procedure! Where have I heard that before..Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm


only if it was a different procedure (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_O_GRkMZJn4)

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">The Bring Jobs Home Act would provide a <span style='font-size: 17pt'>20% tax break for the costs of moving jobs back to the United States and would rescind business expense deductions available to companies that are associated with the cost of moving operations overseas.</span>

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, had warned Democrats before the vote that his party would want to amend the bill -- possibly with hot-button issues <span style='font-size: 23pt'>like repealing the health care reform law or extending the Bush-era tax cuts for all income levels.</span> </div></div>


There has <u>never</u> any idea given by the US Govt they would not pay their debts or that the debt level would not be raised, until Obama became POTUS that is.
This present level of obstructionism by the GOP is unprecedented.

If the Dems do the same thing when they are in the minority in the Senate then you have more gridlock. More suffering.

Not for Romney of course.




Q