By Dan Merica, CNN
Washington (CNN) – This convention season has not been good for atheists.
The word "God" was reinserted in the Democratic platform after it had been removed. A plan to raise atheist billboards in the convention cities was stymied by opponents. And though there were preachers and rabbis and other religious leaders opening and closing each day of each convention, there wasn’t an avowed atheist talking up unbelief on either convention’s speaking list.
The political lockout has left many nonbelievers asking, “What political party represents me?”
“We are deeply saddened by the exclusion of a large number of Americans by both parties,” said Teresa MacBain, a spokeswoman for the group American Atheists, in an interview on Thursday. “It amazes me that in modern-day America, so much prejudice still exists.”
After word spread Wednesday that Democrats left God out of their platform, atheists rejoiced. “Truly amazing news,” wrote Loren Miller on Atheist Nexus, a popular atheist blog. “The Republicans remain in the firm grasp of right-wing Christian religiosity, and I really don't know what it's going to take to free them from it.”
But the convention committee immediately received huge pressure get God back in the platform. Even President Obama, according to CNN reporting, said, “Why on earth would that have been taken out?” when he first heard of the omission.
In an awkward session that required three voice votes on the convention floor, the Democrats opted to add “God” back to the platform.
For atheists, the Democrats were seen to be taking away a hard-fought victory. “We had 24 hours of joy as we felt (that) finally our government values all people,” said MacBain. “But that was short-lived. The vote last night angered many atheists and left them feeling excluded once again.”
Online, atheist websites and Facebook pages went from upbeat to downcast as news spread of the platform revision.
“Obama was the first president to acknowledge non believers,” Mark Musante wrote on the American Atheists’ Facebook page. “I wish he would stick to his guns.”
Musante was referring to Obama’s 2009 inauguration speech, when the president said, “We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus, and nonbelievers.”
Beverly Sitherwood, on the Friendly Atheist blog Facebook page, accused the Democrats of “Pandering for power.”
Some atheist leaders used the platform defeat as a rallying call.
“I guess a tiny step was too much to ask for,” David Silverman, president of the American Atheists, told CNN. “This was a clear message to the 16% of the voting population – we don’t count. Well, guess what, Dems – we do. And we vote.”
Silverman says that 16% of the voting public identify as nonbelievers. According to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, 12% of the electorate in 2008 was made up of people with no religious affiliation, though experts say the number of avowed atheists is much smaller.
While acknowledging atheists, Obama has given platforms to high-profile religious leaders, including Rick Warren, a megachurch pastor who prayed at his inauguration, and Catholic Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who is giving the final prayer of the convention on Thursday night.
American Atheists’ plans to raise billboards ridiculing the presidential candidates’ faith ended in failure. After the group put up billboards in Charlotte, North Carolina, the site of the Democratic National Convention, last month, it quickly removed them due to “physical threats to not only our staff, but the billboard company as well.”
American Atheists had also planned on a billboard in Tampa, Florida, to coincide with the Republican National Convention there. But American Atheists said that all the billboard companies in Tampa rejected a sign taking aim at GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith.
Perhaps because of the Republican Party’s ties to conservative Christianity, atheists tend to be Democrats. According to a 2012 Pew study, 71% of Americans who identified as atheist were Democrats.
“The Republicans who spoke at the RNC seemed more like televangelists than politicians,” MacBain said. “The message was clear from the RNC: Get God, or get out.”
The Republican’s 2012 platform mentions God 12 times, many of which describe the “God-given” rights that the Republican Party says are inherent to the American idea.
Though most atheist groups claim that there are closeted atheists serving as representatives and senators, only one has come out as such.
In September 2007, Rep. Pete Stark, Democrat of California, affirmed his atheism in a speech at the Humanist Chaplaincy at Harvard University.
I only believe in one less god than the theists do. I love the fresh air, cool breeze, and clean water that evolution and cosmic luck provided and when I die I will be dust in the wind like all of you...eventually. Even buried 6 ft under, you will eventually blow away...
I'm an atheist. There's a clear choice, even though they put "God" back in their platform.
Atheists are stupid people who believe that the world is exactly how you see it, with no supernatural forces or miracles or anything like that, and that death is exactly what it looks like – you just stop. How crazy is that?!?!?! Morons!!!!!
Religious people are the enlightened ones, believing that there is an invisible magician who makes things happen and is really nasty to people who don't obey him but gives this great afterlife to the people who snivel around as his toadies. And magic superguy loves humans so much that he is sending most of them to hell. How obviously true that is!!!! I mean the Christian version, of course. The Muslim and Jewish and Hindu and Buddhist and Pagan versions are silly and crazy and obviously made-up nonsense.
And what are you?
No, you're nasty and hateful and clearly very unchristianlike.... Go read your bible and shut up
Atheists need to get a grip. No one mentioned Buddhism and none of us are appalled.
Obviously the inclusion of God includes their version as well.
You guys are all busy trying to figure out what color dress to wear.
Athiests! Pathetic ingrates. They live on the largesse of the Creator, inhaling the fresh air, drinking the clean water and enjoying the sunshine that He so abundantly provides, and then turning around and claiming that this God does not exist. How can a supposedly intelligent being act so dumb?
You really want to know what God thinks about these ant-like creatures? He laughs at them. Literally.
"Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain? The intellectuals of the earth rise up and the politicians band together against the Lord and against his Anointed One, saying, “Let us break free from the claims of God and His Son, and throw off their shackles from us.” The Holy God enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them."
Psalm 2: 1-4 (paraphrased)
Okay...God is SO GOOD: Slavery, world WARS, HOLOCAUST...GOD IS GREAT!
God exists because there is water and air, which he made. So he also made cancer and black widows and birth defects and tsunamis and the Spanish Influenza.
Yes, just look at a flesh eating virus and know that God exists and God is so good he gave us things like that!
And yet your science cannot resolve those problem either, so you're no better than God so stop complaining. By the way why are those atheist faces so red in the picture of this topic? Getting a sunburn from the fire down below? ha ha ha.
So God isn't better than humans at solving the problems he caused? You actually said omnipotent Godcannot solve problems? Okey dokey!
Why are you so angry at God, i thought you didn't believe in a God in the first place lol.
Show me one comment I made that even remotely implied I am angry at something I don't believe in. Provide evidence.
Ooops! I asked for evidence. This is the point where the religious people suddenly vanish, or change the subject and go ad hominem.
I'm betting ad hominem.
You're a hateful POS who should rot in hell
Probably because atheists think they have all the answers, even though they can't see any further than the rest of us. If they feel left out, so what, that's where arrogance will get you.
We don't have the answers. We just don't align with your thought processes. It's that simple.
These atheists have gotten awfully whiny lately. First they complain that neither of the conventions wanted to post their billboards criticizing each candidate's religion. Seriously, why would any convention agree to post those? It's one thing if you don't believe what your candidate believes, but it's another to say that they're not allowed to talk about their faith. I'm not a Mormon, but I don't take offense when Romney talks about his Mormonism. It's what he believes and he has the right to talk about it if he wants. The same goes for President Obama and his Christian beliefs. If it makes atheists uncomfortable to hear candidates talk about their faith, then maybe these atheists should consider how strongly they believe in their own lack of faith (isn't that something athiests tell people of faith when they make them uncomfortable?)
Now these atheists are complaining that putting "God" back in the DNC convention is alienating a percentage of Americans (the non-believers). But removing "God" from the convention would alienate a much larger percentage of Americans (the believers), but the atheists are okay with that.
This has always been my biggest beef with these atheist groups. They live under the mentality that Freedom of Religion means "you can believe in God, just not in public" and that Freedom of Speech means "don't talk about God, but check out my billboards bashing your religion." This hypocritical way of thinking is in line with those who secretly opposed the Civil Rights movement - "blacks can have equal rights in theory, but not in practice"; those who secretly oppose equal pay for women - "women should have equal pay, it's just not happening at my company"; and those who secretly oppose gay rights - "you can be gay, just not in public."
I can't agree more, very well said.
That was a very whiny way to complain about whiny people, and a very hypocritical way of complaining about hypocrisy.
There are about 10,000 religious billboards to every 1 atheist one, and you are freaking out about a few billboards?
Getting mad Atheist boy? lol
Hey Ream Reemo, how many of those 10,000 religious billboards were posted at the DNC convention? That's what I thought, thanks for playing!
LOL! Nice one! Big swish! Very funny!
Hey, why are Christians like you so angry and bitter? Hate is just oozing out of every word you wrote. So angry.
It's not Christians who are mad Reem,, it's you atheist people who are mad because Democrats mentioned the word God.
Why would I care? I'm not a Democrat.
Hey Reamed Again, I'm not Christian, never said I was either. I'm more of the "spiritual, but not religious" type. I'm just pointing out the double-standards these atheist groups use as a basis for their complaints. You seem to be the mad one here. Your responses have been on the childish level of, "Nuh-uh! You are!" You sound more like those people who read something they didn't like and just responded with blind hostility. If you disagree with my argument, that's fine, but at least elaborate on your stance so that we can see your reasoning behind it.
Get over the fact that there are others different than you. Learn to tolerate. Idiot.
The Green Party supports atheism...www.gp.org.
No gods, no masters.
Why would I want to join a splinter faction that can do nothing but lose?
Has anyone bothered to look up the term "theist?" And, also question the sheer manipulative nature (unclear, that is) of the English language? The term "theist" means a belief that at least ONE God exists......simply by adding an A at the beginning should NOT grammatically make the term theist into someone who "does not believe in god."......Call them non-theists.......but, to be called Atheist......just shows someone who should have listened more in English class....AND, when defining what they were....had it make friggin' sense.
I got this from the 'online *etymology* dictionary.'
1570s, from Fr. athéiste (16c.), from Gk. atheos "without god, denying the gods; abandoned of the gods; godless, ungodly," from a- "without" + theos "a god" (see Thea).
What's wrong with god? what's wrong with believing in him as our forfathers did
Nothing wrong with God Marvine, it's just Satan who hates God and mad because he knows his time is almost over.
My vision of God and Satan sounds a lot like a comic book.
Satan is your Master Atheist one.lol
I am not sure of your confusion with the word Atheist. Adding an A to the beginning of words can mean "Without" such as the terms Atypical, Asymmetrical, or Amoral. For more information about it's origin here is the definition from Wikipedia (I know not always the best source).
"The term atheism originated from the Greek ἄθεος (atheos), meaning "without god(s)", used as a pejorative term applied to those thought to reject the gods worshipped by the larger society."
What I'm getting at is the formation of the English language itself. Most other languages have one word, for the thing it represents, be it an idea or an actual object....our language seems to have been constructed in such a "clever" way...."crafty"..."sneaky"...."dis-honest" way as to make it nearly impossible for outsiders to understand.
I find the comment about the history of "atheist" and the a- meaning without as a very interesting example of what i'm talking about.....if you are to say just "a" to someone.....in English....you either mean the LETTER "a"......or.....how many of something (i.e. "a" book).....words for every language were constructed from other languages all over the globe.....English is made up of Latin/Greek and Nordic influence.......SO, to say a-theist..... atheist........if "a-" means without.......we are pronouncing it wrong....the only "sounds" people make that can mean "without" or....."no"......is "uh"...as in "uh-uh" (shaking head no).......so....an uhtheist would be a more appropriate spelling if an Atheist wants to get their point across to more people....:) it'd be worth looking into.........it's very interesting when you start to look into the languages and connect dots......
Poor atheist left out and left behind, get right or get left. PP
FU jew lover
Ha ha ha
Ah... I always love the 'believe or burn' mentality. It's so full of light and love.
Atheist don't believe in Jesus and yet when asked by the apostles about the end of the wold, Jesus said it would come in a time where no one would believe in God and in Jesus himself. How would your atheist science explain that, coincidence, well let me tell you, your science is so unperfect that it is based on theories, speculations and coincidences. Denying those facts will only put you on the spot.
LOL... Well, that time should be here by now.
The last laugh will be ours not yours, whether you like it or not lol.
"The last laugh" ? 8O
First, I let Christians into Heaven. Then I offer them the chance to have the last laugh on those souls who are going to be tortured forever, and anyone who does gets thrown into Hell because they are too sick and evil for Heaven.
Then I realize that I too am sick and evil for creating a place where huge numbers of beings get tortured forever, indeed, I am the sickest and most evil of all for that monstrosity . . . then I laugh and throw a few billion innocents into Hell also, because I am God, and I can and will be as cruel and twisted and vengeful as I like, because your can't do anything about it, nya nya nya!
Asking "what party represents atheists" is like asking which party represents Capricorns. Atheists come from all along the political spectrum. If an atheist is a single issue voter who will decide based on the degree to which God is involved in a platform, they will obviously vote Democrat, but that is not very common.
I dont believe in any form of organized religion but i dont go around shoving my views down anyones throat. If someone throws their religion in my face then i throw right back. My problem is that they think everyone should live by their religious beliefs which it turns out most of them know far less about the history of their religion and bible and whats actually contained in them than i do.
Why are you here for then Larry?
nevvr been an atheist in a fox hole, all prayed to god
I guess the Red Army did not use foxholes when they beat Hitler. And The Chinese communists did not use foxholes when they threw Chiang Kai-shek and the Nationalists out of China, and the NVA and Viet Cong did not use foxholes when they beat the U.S.
Marvine, saying drivel like that only tells me that you do not have the balls to put on a uniform and serve. I knew quite a few Atheists, Jews, Christians, even a couple of Muslims when I was in. Religion was NEVER an issue while I was in. We did our jobs as a TEAM, and that's what being in military uniform in all about.
The Communist Party USA is the party of and for the U.S. working class, a class which is multiracial, multinational, and unites men and women, young and old, employed and unemployed, organized and unorganized, gay and straight, native-born and immigrant, urban and rural, and composed of workers who perform a large range of physical and mental labor—the vast majority of our society. We are the party of the African American, Mexican American, Puerto Rican, all other Latino American, Native American, Asian American, and all racially and nationally oppressed peoples, as well as women, youth, and all other working people
The living standards of workers and the natural environment on which life depends are under constant attack due to the drive for maximum profits inherent in capitalism. Our party fights for jobs and economic security, a decent and rising standard of living, peace, justice, equality, a sustainable environment, gay rights, health care, education, affordable housing, the needs of seniors, democracy, and a fulfilling life for everyone, with socialism as our goal. Only through the abolition of the capitalist system and the socialist reorganization of society can exploitation of human beings by others, and the evils of oppression, war, racism, environmental degradation, and poverty be ended. We seek to build a socialist society which puts people and nature before profits.
Our country’s founding Revolution exalted the ideals of equality, justice, and democracy, of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all. Marxists have long hailed its progressive significance, while recognizing its historical limitations, chief of which was the failure to abolish slavery. The Communist Party today upholds the continuing struggle to realize these ideals. The revolutionary democratic traditions of the United States call for radical change when injustice, inequality, and exploitation become unbearably oppressive. This legacy gives us, the working class and its allies, the right and responsibility to build a new society. We advocate an expanded Bill of Rights to guarantee religious, political, and individual freedoms, but also freedom from poverty, hunger, joblessness, and racism
Communism has never worked and will never work, because it is a simplistic philosophy and does not take into account human nature. Equal pay for equal work? Who gets to decide that? Without fail, whoever in charge in a communist system will keep the spoils to themselves. It's an infantile philosophy in the same way as its polar opposite, libertarianism.
Atheism is not a political party. Atheists have a wide range of political views. Athesim is a position on a single question regarding belief in a god.
Hello my friend... It's been a long time. I hope that you are well.
I just love a good cliche, especially a stupid, untrue, asinine one like this one. It makes me feel like my IQ isn't 73.
I listen to Rush Limbaugh and Fox News every day to find out what my opinions are. I found I just did not have any opinions if I did not listen to them.
Socialism is not nearly the same as communism. Communists believe free enterprise is all bad and the state good. Libertarians believe government is all bad and the free market good. Socialism seeks a balance between these two extremes.
Of course, the middle ground is fuzzy and there is always some conflict, some give and take. That's what democracy is for, to constantly adjust and seek that middle ground. All countries, even the U.S., is socialistic to some degree.
Communism is a secular religion. It has its sacred texts, it has its saints, it has its promise of a greater tomorrow that we all must sacrifice for, and it has as enormous a pile of murdered bodies behind it as any religion that claims a god. It's a religion, and that is why I reject it along with all the others.
The goal of socialism is communism.
- Vladimir Ilyich Lenin
Google "fallacy of equivocation".
Your point is good, but Communism was not a religion in the same way that Christianity is a religion. But I agree they both suck.
Perhaps you mean to say that ideologies make people abandon their humanity, doing evil while deluded that they are serving a glorious morality that is, in reality, quite immoral numanistically.
Point well taken, Okay, and perhaps what we should say is that religions are their own ideologies. But the goal of a free mind should be to reject any and all philosophies, religions, or ideologies that proclaim themselves as ultimate truths. Nothing in human experience has ever accomplished that lofty goal, be it Christianity, communism, or even atheism for that matter.
Again, I mostly agree, but I don't understand how you expected ideologies like Christianity and communism to transcend ideologies. Obviously only individuals could do something like that. And obviously to be without ideologies (a-ideolgical), they would necessarily have to be without the ideologies of gods (atheist).
Atheism is just one component to freeing your mind, but it can be a trap if you allow it to become an ideology of its own.
Most atheists or agnostics that I know were originally religious through their upbringing. They didn't come to their decision lightly. It's often through years of research and deep study of religious materials, along with a lot of soul searching, and often very much against the wishes and opinions of their family and the people around them.
They're comfortable with their decision and are not vocal about it, and don't feel the need to join any group or organization to validate themselves.
Correct, sir! Took me about 15 years to end the god delusion. It's not an easy journey to complete when your entire social support system consists of people either in the church or family members who have a strong religious affiliation. I'm hopeful that perhaps in about another century or so, we can have an atheist as president and it won't be a big deal. As for now, being an atheist in politics is like being gay in the pre-Clinton military–you just don't talk about it.
I hope that will never happen.
I think if either party had tried to seriously coax out the atheist vote it would have been seen as a betrayal by the jesus freaks. No one wants to say they are against football, apple pie, and the jebus. It's just too important to the swing votes coming from the idiotic backwaters of America and the latinos. I for one understand that sometimes you have pander to the masses, and just hope that hopefully Obama will one day "come out" as an atheist after his second term in the same way that Karl Rove did. I think we as atheists all understand what is going on here. Sometimes you've got to pander ....
That seems to have been the intent, but do the Democrats actually think that playing religious will coax any votes? The only people who care about that will always vote republican. Almost 20% of the population is irreligious now, and that is a big chunk to turn off in search of votes you have no chance getting.
The religious Democrats tend to be more moderate and open-minded and tolerant, and generally would not freak out if someone suggested that maybe it's time to stop treating atheists as subhumans.
Of course the democrats care about religion. I'm sorry to tell you this, but the number strong atheists that are going to be voting Romeny are not too many. Some of us that have money and that's about it. I would ID as republican, but even I can't stand "magic underwear man". The people they need to motivate are latinos because these guys are going to give democrats the election now & in the future. They are also typically strongly religious. A president who was not "of the folk" could suffer significantly in key battleground states. I am ok with what obama is doing. I get it. He isn't going ban evolution in schools or make me go to church, so live and let live.
We are closer than you seem to think. I mostly agree with you.
I get the feeling that the Latino vote has a lot more to do with the fact that there is a strong conservative tendancy to talk about them as enemies and inferiors, and that is far more prevalent in their paradigm than any impact that moght occur by recognizing that atheists are Americans too.
It isn't as cut and dried as you describe. Just look at your own statement, "Almost 20% of the population is irreligious now..." The last two elections have been pretty evenly split. If 80% are religious and ~50% vote GOP, then at least ~30% are both religious and Democrats, a 60% majority. What does this mean to the composition of the party? At least 60% of Democrats are religious. Some of the 40% irreligious are unconcerned with expressions of "civil religion." That gives you about 60% of the party is religious. Not all of the 60% insist on the inclusion of such language, but then again, not all of the irreligious are opposed to it. Sounds to me that only a minority insist on the removal of such language, and based on "small-d" democratic principles, the language should have gone in. You may not like it, but that is how democracy works.
One other point, there are way too many exaggerations made in discussions of religion in public life. Not all Christians are wild-eyed conservatives; not all Republicans are religious; not all professors of bona fide evolutionary biology are atheists, etc., etc., etc..
I did not say what you seem to think I said.
Science = Rigorous experimentation leads to resulting data for interpretations, peer reviews, and conclusions (often multiple). A basic tenet of all science is fallibility. Any or all parts or could be entirely wrong, but more and more data is collected so that, over many experiments and refinements, we arrive at the answer(s) best supported by our information. A scientist proposing an idea must admit that it's entirely possible that the idea is wrong. Pretty straight forward.
Religion = Starting conclusion requires selectively choosing data to support the original conclusion-interpretation. This may or may not be supported by the preponderance of evidence. Answers are considered infallible and there is only one answer to each question.
No one sees a problem with one of these two things leading public policy or being the focus of rational debates?
I've heard numerous atheists say something to the effect of, "It's entirely possible that god exists, but I don't believe there is one" I've never heard a religious person say something to the effect of, "It's entirely possible that no god exists, but I believe there is one."
Great post !
We're *definitely* recruiting you to the Democratic Team. You'll find a lot your "people" there.
I see we need to take you on a 'recruiting trip' LOL :D
Gbus again you sound like Stephen Hawking.
Just calling it like I see it. Food for thought.
"It's entirely possible that no god exists, but I believe there is one."
i say that all the time. so... you know.... booyah
wow I find myself agreeing with some one who uses the name blood_wraith
I like acting like a childish twat while trying to prove that atheists are childish twats. It's what Jesus meant when he said "do unto others as you would have others do unto you." I would have others do that to me, so I do it to them!
Because I am a mean little hate-filled hypocrite . . . you know, a Christian.
You are not a Christian. Your ignorance gives you away.
Would Jesus want lower taxes for the rich?
Unequivocally, emphatically, definitely NO!!!
Could you quote something to prove that Jesus "unequivocally, emphatically, definitely " had opinions on taxation and the redistribution of wealth, and that he would have gotten involved in politics?
Just curious, not trying to dog you.
@Hmmmm – "16 And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? 17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. 18 He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, 19 Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 20 The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? 21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. 22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions. 23 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. 24 And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God." Matt 19:16-24
I don't see anything about taxation in there, or politics.
And if I may ask, have you given all your goods to the poor yet, like he told you to? What, do? You post it but you don't do it? I mean, to a secular, giving away all your possessions is really bad advice, so that's why we don't do it, but Jesus directly instructed you to do it, and yet look at all the wealth around you. And by the standards of Jesus' time, you are very rich.
No heaven for you either.
I was Fern and now am Demi, i have yet seen a Christian used either of my names to post and acting like a child, and yet some atheist people here used both of my names. lol
I was Fern and now am Fern, i have yet seen a Christian used either of my names to post and acting like a child, and yet some atheist people here used both of my names. lol
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