An article by Ed Stoddard on the Reuters wire talks about non-Christians and how they feel excluded in the election process.
Despite the constitutional separation of church and state, religion plays a big and sometimes decisive role in politics in America, where levels of belief and regular worship are far higher than those in Europe.
“Non-Christians are concerned that they will be excluded from the process,” said Ahmed Rehab, a spokesman with the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
“I welcome faith values if they inspire candidates to do good things. But I worry if it is used as a litmus test to include someone in political participation.”
Non-religious people are also mentioned in the piece:
Political professions of faith leave some unmoved.
“Why is that relevant? Who cares? The great issue is where do we stand on Medicare and Social Security and immigration … Why inject religiosity into that?” asked Paul Kurtz, chairman of the Council for Secular Humanism.
“Are we (secular humanists and atheists) marginalized? No. Are we turned off? Yes!”
Atheists and agnostics have long been targets of the religious right who see moral decay in secularization.
Some critics say those without a religion were singled out in the speech by Romney in which he sought to ease concerns among Republican evangelicals about his Mormon faith.
He said “freedom requires religion” — implying that it could not exist without it — and criticized those who “seek to remove from the public domain any acknowledgment of God … It is as if they are intent on establishing a new religion in America — the religion of secularism. They are wrong.”
A Pew Research Center survey last year found that 63 percent of those polled said they would be “less likely” to support a presidential candidate who did not believe in God
But as an unorganized mass of non-theistic people, we do have an incredible amount of potential power to influence the elections:
… those who say they are “unaffiliated” or atheist are very keen to cast their ballots. Pew data shows that 82 percent of them are very or somewhat likely to vote. At 90 percent, evangelicals are the only group more likely to vote.
I would guess (am I wrong?) that more religious people are likely to vote for a Democrat than non-religious people are likely to vote for a Republican.
Which bodes well for Barack Obama. Since he’s going to win. Because he’s awesome.