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'None' leaders to chart path for more political, cultural power for religiously unaffiliated
The Reason Rally -- sponsored by secular organizations -- draws a crowd to Washington in June.
January 25th, 2013
08:51 AM ET

'None' leaders to chart path for more political, cultural power for religiously unaffiliated

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) – The religiously unaffiliated the "nones"  have noticed their ranks are growing. And at a meeting Saturday, a group of leaders will look to turn those swelling numbers into workable political and cultural power.

It's one of the top priorities of the eighth annual Heads Meeting, which will be held in Atlanta. Some of the nation’s most influential leaders, representing various organizations, will convene to chart a path forward and discuss the most important issues facing "nones" today.

“It is not enough that we are growing in numbers,” said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association. “We have got to find a way to bring those numbers to bear in an organized fashion so that people will take us seriously.”

A number of studies have found that religious “nones” people who either don’t believe in God or do not affiliate with a religion are increasing rapidly in the United States. A 2012 Pew study, for example, found this faction to be the fastest-growing "religious" group in America and determined that one in five Americans now identify with no religion.

These numbers have emboldened atheists, humanists, agnostics and other secular Americans, many of whom have long expressed a desire for more political power.

In particular, they point to the fact that they are widely underrepresented in the halls of the highest U.S. legislative body. Though 20% of the population classifies themselves as “none,” according to Pew, only one member of Congress, Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, identifies as such.

Speckhardt said it’ll take presenting “viewpoints in an organized way” to see change.

Dale McGowan, executive director of Foundation Beyond Belief and one of the Atlanta meeting's hosts, said building awareness through community engagement will be a key topic of discussion.

“Part of it is trying to consolidate that cultural presence,” McGowan said. “That has something to do with politics, but it is also more generally cultural.”

Much as churches and synagogues foster and nurture communities, McGowan said he thinks atheists can do the same to gain clout and broader acceptance.

But the meeting is more than just a forum for "none" leaders to outline their plans going forward. It is also a way for these leaders to meet face to face and discuss differences that they may have with one another.

According to McGowan, finding ways to work together was the original goal when the meeting was first held in 2005.

For years, McGowan said, “These groups operated separately from each other and sometimes at odds with each other. There was a realization that we should meet once a year and come together on the goals that we have in common.”

Other leaders echoed this viewpoint.

“One of the biggest benefits of these meetings is that it is human interaction,” Speckhardt said. “You get people face to face, and you dispel these negative ideas. You realize that we are all endeavoring toward very similar goals and that we can cooperate to make them happen.”

But while the leaders stress the need for cohesion, they also have long highlighted, even celebrated, diversity of opinion in their movement. This diversity has, at times, caused friction.

For example, the Christmas season revealed a growing rift among American atheists. Some activists want to seize the holidays to build bridges with faith groups, while other active unbelievers increasingly see Christmas as central to confronting religion.

“We certainly do disagree,” said David Silverman, president of American Atheists. “But we are on the same side. What we have to do is sit down at the table and say, ‘You are going to do your thing, and I am going to do my thing.’ ”

McGowan called cohesiveness “really the central challenge” for people who thrive on independence. “This is a group of people accustomed to taking a critical approach to things, and that means not just letting differences slide and saying, ‘Hey, these differences matter.’ ”

Other attendees in Atlanta will include Ron Lindsay, president of the Center for Inquiry, and Margaret Downey, founder and president of the Freethought Society, according to Silverman.

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Atheism • Politics

soundoff (1,751 Responses)
  1. lol??

    February 13 has been declared tonsillectomy day by high level officials in Obama's cabinet. To qualify for his gubmint care all must have them removed for efficiency's sake and budget troubles. Science originated and approved. Whata bone to the surgeons.

    January 26, 2013 at 7:15 am |
    • midwest rail

      Delusional idiocy.

      January 26, 2013 at 7:21 am |
    • sam stone

      a bone?

      January 26, 2013 at 7:32 am |
    • realbuckyball

      was that supposedvto be funny, or are you intoxicated ?

      January 26, 2013 at 7:44 am |
    • lol??

      realbuckyball, just been tryin' to clean up the blog. Sorry I didn't mention any rectal fires or hemorroids for ticklin' your funny bone.

      January 26, 2013 at 7:58 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Rectal fire sounds painful.

      January 26, 2013 at 8:03 am |
    • lol??

      It's an AC/DC thang.

      January 26, 2013 at 8:06 am |
    • midwest rail

      lol?? would know about rectal fire. Anything that strays from his interpretation of scripture just burns his a$s.

      January 26, 2013 at 8:09 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      I prefer my rock to be more avant-garde.

      January 26, 2013 at 8:11 am |
    • End Religion

      "I prefer my rock to be more avant-garde."

      speaking of douchery...

      January 26, 2013 at 8:31 am |
  2. Science

    Yea you really don't see the textin gager t bone you when running a stop sign.

    January 26, 2013 at 6:59 am |
  3. Science

    @lol??
    Apps for apes: Orangutans get iPads at Washington DC's Smithsonian National

    Maybe in a couple of weeks thet will be smarter than religion/god(s)

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LzvwuxaLIY8&w=640&h=390]

    January 26, 2013 at 6:26 am |
    • Science

      Dame thumb they

      January 26, 2013 at 6:27 am |
    • lol??

      Gotta watch out for textin' cagers. They won't see you.

      January 26, 2013 at 6:48 am |
  4. Douglas

    1 Timothy 1,

    8 We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. 9 We also know that law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, 10 for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine 11 that conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.

    January 26, 2013 at 4:29 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      No matter how many times you spew the same scripture, it doesn't make it any more true.

      January 26, 2013 at 5:43 am |
    • Science

      Science

      Evolution wins hands down, it is time for religion to get the HELL out of the way.

      January 26, 2013 at 5:48 am |
    • sam stone

      Wow, Doogie.

      You know that quotes from the bible are only relevant to those who accept the bible as an authority, don't you?

      Or, does spewing scripture just make you feel all pious?

      January 26, 2013 at 6:56 am |
  5. Kev

    Can you really get a single special interest group that can represent the interests of all the nones?

    January 26, 2013 at 12:17 am |
    • Answer Man

      No.

      Can you really get a single special interest group that can represent the interests of all the religious? No.

      Can you really get a single special interest group that can represent the interests of all the Christians? No.

      Can you really get a single special interest group that can represent the interests of all the Repulbicans? No.

      Can you really get a single special interest group that can represent the interests of all the Americans? No.

      Can you really get a single special interest group that can represent the interests of all the Native Americans? No.

      Can you really get a single special interest group that can represent the interests of all the senior citizens? No.

      January 26, 2013 at 12:25 am |
    • Zingo

      Why do sane people who can actually accept reality need a special interest group anyway?

      January 26, 2013 at 1:58 am |
    • HotAirAce

      Because the insane ones (believers) are the establishment and have had too much power for too long.

      January 26, 2013 at 2:18 am |
    • Poltergeist

      it always boils down to power and people that want it.

      January 26, 2013 at 2:22 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      From my experience, most atheists tend to be douchy liberals and most interest groups who claim to support atheism or secularism tend to come with some liberal baggage, so I would never align myself to one.

      January 26, 2013 at 6:39 am |
  6. Dawkins is an idiot

    With so many comments on here, not one of you immoral, communist, Dawkins/Darwin worshipers have made a meaningful comment. You stupid idiots!!!!!!! All u idiots should join your communist atheists friends in North Korea

    January 26, 2013 at 12:04 am |
    • HotAirAce

      Please provide a reference to your scholarly peer-reviewed article that successfully refutes Dawkins.

      January 26, 2013 at 12:17 am |
    • Russells Teapot

      Because that is such a meaningful and profoundly insightful comment *smh*

      January 26, 2013 at 12:34 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Actually you are the one that likes to worship the ultimate dictator, you would feel right at home in North Korea.

      January 26, 2013 at 12:44 am |
    • Observer

      @Dawkins is an idiot,

      Dawkins got a doctorate from Oxford and has 10 other honorary doctorates.

      How did you do compared to an idiot?

      January 26, 2013 at 12:49 am |
    • christianity and comunisum are the same

      In North Korea :
      They tell you which thoughts are good and which thoughts are bad
      They tell you every other kind of Communisum is bad and non communists are evil in carnet.
      They tell you that their words are THE TRUTH and because of that you must believe what they tell you and to question it is a CRIME AGAINST THE STATE!
      They tell you that you will be horribly punished for the rest of your life if you don’t do what they tell you, believe what they say or think wrong thoughts

      I Christianity:
      They tell you which thoughts are good and which thoughts are bad
      They tell you every other kind of christianity is bad and non christians are evil in carnet.
      They tell you that their words are THE TRUTH and because of that you must believe what they tell you and to question it is a SIN AGAINST GOD!!!
      They tell you that you will be horribly punished for the rest of eternity if you don’t do what they tell you, believe what they say or think wrong thoughts

      January 26, 2013 at 3:15 am |
    • Science

      Evolution wins hands down, itn is time for religion to get the HELL out of the way.

      January 26, 2013 at 5:45 am |
    • lol??

      Science, you like sleeping with your daddy's wife?

      January 26, 2013 at 6:16 am |
    • lol??

      Whata prize!

      January 26, 2013 at 6:17 am |
  7. SHrUb...gOd wIlls iT

    "According to the DOJ Bureau of Justice Statistics (National Census of the Jail Population 12/31/95), while 72% affirmed affiliation with religious inst itutions (determined through answers to the question on "Religious Background" on the Penal entrance form) only 54% of Federal and State Prisoners actually consider themselves religious, and 33% can be confirmed to be practicing their religion.

    so actually, a lower % of the prison population is Christian than the regular population and a slightly higher % of the prison population is non-religious than the general population.

    But, dont let facts stop you "

    Ahh the twister:)

    Response Number %
    ---------- --–
    Catholic 29267 39.164%
    Protestant 26162 35.008%
    Muslim 5435 7.273%
    American Indian 2408 3.222%
    Nation 1734 2.320%
    Rasta 1485 1.987%
    Jewish 1325 1.773%
    Church of Christ 1303 1.744%
    Pentecostal 1093 1.463%
    Moorish 1066 1.426%
    Buddhist 882 1.180%
    Jehovah Witness 665 0.890%
    Adventist 621 0.831%
    Orthodox 375 0.502%
    Mormon 298 0.399%
    Scientology 190 0.254%
    Atheist 156 0.209%
    Hindu 119 0.159%
    Santeria 117 0.157%
    Sikh 14 0.019%
    Bahai 9 0.012%
    Krishna 7 0.009%
    ---------- --–
    Total Known Responses 74731 100.001% (rounding to 3 digits does this)

    Unknown/No Answer 18381
    ----------
    Total Convicted 93112 80.259% (74731) prisoners' religion is known.

    Held in Custody 3856 (not surveyed due to temporary custody)
    ----------
    Total In Prisons 96968

    these numbers are from 1997... 2 years newer ..

    January 25, 2013 at 11:44 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      What is your point...

      January 26, 2013 at 12:00 am |
    • SHrUb...gOd wIlls iT

      Just countering Chad... the upper part in quotations are what he posted

      January 26, 2013 at 12:07 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Oh, I didn't realize chad was on here bending the truth to the breaking point again. Sorry

      January 26, 2013 at 12:38 am |
  8. lionlylamb

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zm1aOCt52bA&w=640&h=390]

    January 25, 2013 at 11:38 pm |
  9. SHrUb...gOd wIlls iT

    The fact that we even need a lobby says volumes.

    January 25, 2013 at 11:10 pm |
  10. lionlylamb

    http://www.youtube.com/user/isnavideos

    January 25, 2013 at 11:05 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fg41okvyEdo&w=640&h=390]

      January 25, 2013 at 11:07 pm |
  11. New Atheist

    Here is something to think about-
    Confuciuswas preaching the golden rule 1,000 years before Jesus was born. Confucianism is not a religion.
    Now, let's see how many of you fundies can figure out why we don't need a god myth to thrive as a society.

    January 25, 2013 at 11:05 pm |
    • M_Ber

      It wasn't about 'who said it first'.

      Jesus Christ didn't come to start a religion. What Jesus taught is different from most religion: God comes down to us.

      Most religions people try to work their way to God.

      Jesus Christ says he did all the work. It is done.

      I'm not a fundie, though... so... what do I know?

      January 25, 2013 at 11:08 pm |
    • New Atheist

      Actually M_Ber you missed my point entirely.
      It's not who said it first so much as basic morals are not confined to the ramblings of JC.

      btw – how can you say he didn't come to start a religion? I seem to remember reading that he said a lot of stuff about being god and wanting everyone to follow him to heaven.

      January 25, 2013 at 11:29 pm |
    • M_Ber

      I've never been taught that Jesus Christ's moral teachings were exclusive. I'm sure you've heard some people say that. But that is not what all people who follow Jesus Christ believe.

      Jesus is about giving life.

      I remember reading about him opposing the Pharisee (self-righteous, self important, religious people).

      January 25, 2013 at 11:40 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      M_Ber,

      The point, for me at least, is that a "god" should be able to give mankind philosophical and moral knowledge we didn't already have.

      January 25, 2013 at 11:41 pm |
    • Check

      M_Ber

      "Jesus Christ didn't come to start a religion."

      Did you forget about the alleged quotes from him:
      – "Upon this rock I will build my church"
      – "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men."
      – "Make disciples of all nations"

      Several others too, which I don't feel like wracking my brain over right now - you get the picture.

      January 25, 2013 at 11:43 pm |
    • M_Ber

      > The point, for me at least, is that a "god" should be able to give mankind philosophical and moral knowledge we didn't already have.

      Again? How many times does he have to give it?

      > Did you forget about the alleged quotes from him:
      – "Upon this rock I will build my church"
      – "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men."
      – "Make disciples of all nations"

      I guess I should've said 'Jesus didn't come to start a NEW religion.' He came to fullfill God's promise. God has a plan of salvation for his whole creation.

      January 25, 2013 at 11:54 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      "Again? How many times does he have to give it?"

      ONE original thought would be nice, he supposed to be the "all knowing" creator of the universe and all...

      January 26, 2013 at 12:03 am |
    • M_Ber

      If only it were that easy. Love others, is what most religions seem to be trying to be saying. Maybe God has to use various outlets to get this message across. (Confuscious, Buddha, Mohammad, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, JR)

      January 26, 2013 at 12:09 am |
    • Poltergeist

      Confusions writings covered way more than the golden rule. Emperors were divine and everyone has a role to serve for society, and they are expected to fulfill those roles for the greater benefit of society, even agains their own self interest.

      January 26, 2013 at 12:16 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      "Maybe God has to use various outlets to get this message across."

      And yet many of those outlets specifically demonize the opposition (infidels) and non-believers and thereby ends up teaching people to hate those who have different beliefs. The god you descibe is inept. It doesn't sound like you think Jesus was "god".

      The more likely conclusion is the competing definitions of "god" are man made. Nothing religion offers actually requires religion.

      January 26, 2013 at 12:36 am |
    • Poltergeist

      Athiest in America talk about the golden rule, but a none in Russia sees murder everyday and isnt relying on the reciprocity of a majority religious society. Russia's none population outweighs the religious, it's a murder capital. The idea that Athiest will bring peace is the delusion they choose to believe.

      January 26, 2013 at 12:48 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Poltergiest,

      Atheists are not claiming to bring peace, unlike religions that claim to be peaceful. Atheism is a rejection of a claim. Humanism would be the secular "ism" trying to bring peace to mankind.

      January 26, 2013 at 12:55 am |
    • Bet

      @ Polterwang,

      but a none in Russia sees murder everyday

      Can you provide proof that non-religiously affiliated people in Russia see murder on a daily basis?

      January 26, 2013 at 1:00 am |
    • Poltergeist

      In other words you'd replace it with a predetermined belief system, Humanism, which will require you to indoctrinate to promote. How is it not going to result in conflict just like every other ism?

      January 26, 2013 at 1:10 am |
    • Poltergeist

      @bat
      Your talking about one of the most corrupt and violent nations in Europe. Yes nones are involved in that violence. What makes you think they are safe or immune?

      January 26, 2013 at 1:24 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      I am not looking to replace anything. I was pointing out the error you made claiming atheists as trying to bring about peace.

      I would like it if people on their own accord realize religion as the pack of lies it is.

      January 26, 2013 at 2:46 am |
    • NClaw441

      Your post assumes the answer to the issue being discussed. Whether God is a myth is a great part of the main question (followed by "which God" and the "correct" religion). Some pretty learned people on both/all sides of the issue have weighed in. The mere fact that religious faith has been part of the human experience for as along as anyone can tell, with no clear refutation (or substantiation by accepted evidence) suggests that the issue will remain with us, probably as long as there ARE humans.

      January 26, 2013 at 8:33 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      "Whether God is a myth is a great part of the main question"

      Every human definition of god is a myth. There is nothing wrong with assuming something isn't true until such time it is.

      "Whether God is a myth is a great part of the main question (followed by "which God" and the "correct" religion)."

      Which god and which religion should be the first questions. Answering the general question about god gives false legitimacy to individual religions.

      January 26, 2013 at 10:56 am |
    • Bet

      @Polterwang

      You didn't answer the question. Please provide evidence that "nones" in Russia "sees murder every day".

      January 26, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
  12. lionlylamb

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u7qP1nVidXk&w=640&h=390]

    January 25, 2013 at 10:25 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vnJBW49afzg&w=640&h=390]

      January 25, 2013 at 10:48 pm |
  13. Revelation

    Did anyone see that Republican Bobby Jindal is now warning Republicans that they have to stop being, in his words, "The Stupid Party?"

    Quote from John Stuart Mill: "I never meant to say that the Conservatives are generally stupid. I meant to say that stupid people are generally Conservative. I believe that is so obviously and universally admitted a principle that I hardly think any gentleman will deny it."

    January 25, 2013 at 10:14 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Hmm. I guess I would tend to agree, but I could be wrong. I do think that is the general perception, though, so he is correct in that.

      January 25, 2013 at 10:24 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Bobby Jindal is part of the problem.

      January 25, 2013 at 11:36 pm |
    • NClaw441

      I am not immediately convinced that "most stupid people are conservative" as Mill claimed. There are an awful lot of stupid people out there, and I have seen a lot of stupidity displayed by liberals and conservatives alike. One can almost always see what one is looking to see.

      That said, I don't know what point Mill was trying to make. Was he suggesting that one has to be conservative to be stupid? That being conservative IS stupid? How did Mill define "stupid"? If conservatism were so stupid it would have been soundly refuted with an easily expressed argument by now. I have not heard that argument yet.

      January 26, 2013 at 8:38 am |
  14. Johnny Blammo

    A couple questions for other atheists here:

    Do you recognize any atheist leaders?

    Are you a member of any atheist organization?

    If not, have you even heard of any of these groups?

    January 25, 2013 at 9:47 pm |
    • Doink

      Do you recognize any atheist leaders?

      Yes, Christopher Hitchens, Darwin and Penn. Or Teller. I can't remember which one. Penn and Teller.

      January 25, 2013 at 9:51 pm |
    • mama k

      Penn Jillette

      January 25, 2013 at 9:53 pm |
    • Doink

      Yea, the sweaty, smarmy one.

      January 25, 2013 at 9:54 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      No, no, some of them.

      Silverman's American Atheists is known mostly for his annoying stunt advertising to pick fights with the fundies and play into the Fox News "war on Christmas" narrative.

      January 25, 2013 at 9:58 pm |
    • Johnny Blammo

      Doink, if your reading skills were better, you would have comprehended that the survey was for atheists.

      January 25, 2013 at 9:59 pm |
    • Johnny Blammo

      Do you consider Penn a leader, mama?

      Agreed, "I'm not . . ." Silverstein and company are more interested in being media whores.

      January 25, 2013 at 10:02 pm |
    • Doink

      Actually, I was an atheist when I posted that. I decided to see what all the fuss was about and try it out.

      January 25, 2013 at 10:03 pm |
    • Johnny Blammo

      So you are a lying troll, are you doinky? So much for believing anything you have said. Buh-bye!

      January 25, 2013 at 10:07 pm |
    • Doink

      Are you a member of any atheist organization?
      No.

      If not, have you even heard of any of these groups?
      No.

      January 25, 2013 at 10:07 pm |
    • mama k

      No I don't consider Penn a leader. However, he has had a voice in the world at times via books, radio shows, cable shows, etc.

      January 25, 2013 at 10:08 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      1. No, there are people that are more vocal but I would say they are more "point men and woman", not leaders per se.

      2. I am a member of the ffrf.org, but it is not exclusive atheist organization. It promotes the seperation of church and state and has religious members who are rightfully concerned about the issue.

      3. Yes

      January 25, 2013 at 10:09 pm |
    • mama k

      Actually I said shows, but I know of at least one radio show and at least one cable show – I think the latter was meant to be more comedic in nature.

      January 25, 2013 at 10:10 pm |
    • the AnViL

      no.
      no.
      yes.

      January 25, 2013 at 10:29 pm |
    • sam stone

      teller doesn't say much

      January 26, 2013 at 3:54 am |
  15. Johnny Blammo

    What's this "leader" shit? I don't need gods, and don't have any leaders.

    January 25, 2013 at 9:38 pm |
    • Doink

      On this board you get more points for being an ex-Christian turned atheist.

      So some pretend like they were one, and talk about "leaders" and other things they imagine happen to somebody that belongs to a church.

      January 25, 2013 at 9:45 pm |
    • Johnny Blammo

      You are indeed a doink.

      All you did was prove that you know absolutely no atheists, because quite a few did indeed abandon faith, and most of us have read (and especially have understood) more religious scriptures than the adherent of those religions.

      Oh, the "I was an atheist but now I'm saved" schtick pays big time on the Christian book-and-lecture circuit.

      January 25, 2013 at 9:50 pm |
    • Doink

      That is awesome that I proved I know no atheists.

      I don't even know how I did that. But cool.

      It's not true, but, still, cool.

      January 25, 2013 at 9:54 pm |
    • Johnny Blammo

      Need me to spell it out for you? Okay, if you are that slow . . .

      Anyone who said what you did clearly does not know any, because what you said was a massive misrepresentation of atheists. Indeed, I can safely guess that you cannot truly know atheists, but in fact are only a minor acquaintace of maybe one or two, who you have not bothered to get to know for fear that it would discredit your prejudices.

      January 25, 2013 at 9:58 pm |
    • Doink

      I work with atheists. Some of my best friends are atheists. I used to date one.

      January 25, 2013 at 10:01 pm |
    • Doink

      I used to be an atheist. Like 5 minutes ago.

      January 25, 2013 at 10:04 pm |
    • Troll detector

      Stats and doink are the same troll.

      January 25, 2013 at 10:08 pm |
    • Doink

      Check your batteries on your troll detector. You should've picked something up a few posts up in the threads.

      January 25, 2013 at 10:10 pm |
    • hmmm..funny

      Troll detector and The AnVil are the same troll

      January 25, 2013 at 10:17 pm |
    • hmmm..funny

      lol nice handle dork

      January 25, 2013 at 10:31 pm |
    • hmmm..funny

      i mean ...right down to the 3 dots even..

      January 25, 2013 at 10:35 pm |
    • .....

      happens when you dont lock in your handle ...

      January 25, 2013 at 10:57 pm |
  16. hmmm..funny

    @ GOPer

    wasnt saying she didnt, was just reflecting on the article...and i did know about the GOP not existing then. The Anti Republican just sounds so very much like our current backroom dealers... We the people have been locked out of our system. everything from slding extra thing through on bills to corporate and foreign lobbyists dumping buckets of money on these guys....

    January 25, 2013 at 9:31 pm |
    • hmmm..funny

      blew the reply button again ..sorry

      January 25, 2013 at 9:32 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      no problem!

      January 25, 2013 at 9:37 pm |
    • mama k

      I think I see what you mean hmmm. But can one look at that and say that kind of politics has always been there, but that now the stakes are just higher – you know, each "deal" is of a much greater magnitude and affects more people and involves more money? I'm thinking back to Will Rogers again – I supposed he would be suspect of a politician during his time and anytime before. lol.

      January 25, 2013 at 9:44 pm |
    • hmmm..funny

      yes...politics have aways attracted that certain type....but today our system as it functions has all but excluded us. The money required to match the corporate backed politician is beyond the means of just about everyone. Like the anti republican, most of our politicians have a very dim view of the american public.. the more deals they swing behind our backs the more they view us as stupid,,,,a view echoed by most of the media today.. the thing is we trust them to go there and look out for our interests...the general public must trust them , because we are busy doing OUR jobs...If you cant trust them then its time for a major overhaul.

      January 25, 2013 at 10:12 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Madison's republican / anti-republican essay is an example of late 18th century rhetorical style. In this context the anti-republican is someone who wants to undo what Madison believes is the right approach.

      Madison presents the anti-republican as an caricature of someone who opposes his notion of a republic. The nuances of anti-Federalism, and the formation of the Jeffersonian Democratic-Republican party are best left to individual reading on the subject. It's a big topic.

      January 25, 2013 at 10:15 pm |
  17. the AnViL

    statistically, most convicted criminals serving time for rap.e and murder, are xian.

    lolz

    January 25, 2013 at 9:08 pm |
    • Stats

      And most of those criminals are also black.

      Are you still 'Laughing out Loud'?

      January 25, 2013 at 9:14 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Stats,

      so, is that mean as a correlation or an indictment of our justice system?

      January 25, 2013 at 9:17 pm |
    • the AnViL

      lolz

      January 25, 2013 at 9:18 pm |
    • Chad

      According to the DOJ Bureau of Justice Statistics (National Census of the Jail Population 12/31/95), while 72% affirmed affiliation with religious inst itutions (determined through answers to the question on "Religious Background" on the Penal entrance form) only 54% of Federal and State Prisoners actually consider themselves religious, and 33% can be confirmed to be practicing their religion.

      so actually, a lower % of the prison population is Christian than the regular population and a slightly higher % of the prison population is non-religious than the general population.

      But, dont let facts stop you :-)

      January 25, 2013 at 9:19 pm |
    • Stats

      I'm not sure.

      I was more concerned about him taking delight in people committing violent crimes.

      January 25, 2013 at 9:20 pm |
    • Curioouser and curiouser

      So Jesus is a racist? Doesn't protect the black man as much as the whites?

      January 25, 2013 at 9:22 pm |
    • Chard Tophu

      Chad, that's the same with self-identified Christians outside prison walls too. There are a lot more who say they are than actually practice it.

      And atheists in prison are still WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY below their percentage of the population.

      Nice try.

      January 25, 2013 at 9:25 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Chad

      Can you link to the actual place where those statistics are?

      January 25, 2013 at 9:25 pm |
    • Stats

      Nope. Some people find Jesus in jail.

      January 25, 2013 at 9:25 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      I wonder what the recitivism rate is by religious affiliation.

      January 25, 2013 at 9:28 pm |
    • Chard Tophu

      Most of the people who "find Jesus" are actually trying to find a faster way to parole, and get out of work details in the process. Their religion vanishes at the sound of the prison door closing as they leave.

      January 25, 2013 at 9:32 pm |
    • Stats

      Ok, I'll let my friends know that's what they did.

      They're going to be surprised.

      January 25, 2013 at 9:34 pm |
    • Chard Tophu

      So stats, did you notice that "most" word? Do you need me to tell you what it means, or were you just being another Smartass For Jesus?

      January 25, 2013 at 9:40 pm |
    • Stats

      I'm friends with most Christian ex-inmates.

      January 25, 2013 at 9:41 pm |
    • Chard Tophu

      If you are friends with most of them, then there really cannot be many, can there?

      You probably meant "some", which is this whole other word than "most".

      January 25, 2013 at 9:45 pm |
    • Stats

      Nope, most of them.

      Like, hundreds.

      January 25, 2013 at 9:46 pm |
    • the AnViL

      xians always get so fussy and cranky when you tell them the truth.

      sheesh

      January 25, 2013 at 9:48 pm |
    • Chard Tophu

      Okay, so of all the millions of former jail and prison inmates in America, only a few hundred became legitimate Christians.

      Well that's a big flop, isn't it!

      It also proves my point that the majority of imprisoned converts are shams.

      Thanks for proving my point!

      January 25, 2013 at 9:54 pm |
    • Stats

      I don't think there are a million people in America... let alone former inmates.

      I know hundreds of former inmates who are good Christians now.

      I know dozens of former inmates who pretended to be Christians, and went right back to their old criminal ways.

      hundreds > dozens
      right?

      January 25, 2013 at 9:57 pm |
    • Chard Tophu

      "I don't think there are a million people in America... let alone former inmates."

      What? What do you mean you don't think there are a million people in America? You think there is less? What are you talking about?

      Are you just trolling?

      January 25, 2013 at 10:04 pm |
    • Stats

      Just joshin'

      January 25, 2013 at 10:06 pm |
  18. Observer

    fred,

    "So tell me do you dig up verses out of context to beat up on Christians"

    You asked for verses on unicorns and I gave you 8 and you say I am "beating up on Christians". I have quoted far more from the Bible than you have and you criticize me for it.

    If the King James Bible is wrong, then which version of the Bible is correct?

    January 25, 2013 at 8:58 pm |
  19. The Truth

    " 'None' leaders to chart path for more political, cultural power for religiously unaffiliated"

    As an atheist I shall tell you exactly how many leaders I follow: 'None'

    January 25, 2013 at 8:50 pm |
    • Soda_P

      Are you a maverick?

      January 25, 2013 at 8:58 pm |
    • The Truth

      I spent 30 years following my Church leaders, and even being one of them for a decade. I guess i'm just allergic to leaders since then.

      January 25, 2013 at 9:26 pm |
    • Soda_P

      Oh, my Church doesn't have leaders I have to follow. Thank God.

      January 25, 2013 at 9:31 pm |
    • Johnny Blammo

      I too was surprised to see we supposedly have leaders, because I have never heard of any, and I don't need leaders any more than I need gods.

      January 25, 2013 at 9:36 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      The fact that there are so many groups identified in the article:

      - American Humanist Association
      - Foundation Beyond Belief
      - American Atheists
      - Center for Inquiry
      - Freethought Society

      all with a different take, indicates that "no one" speaks for atheists. (I hadn't even heard of half of these – let alone be a member!)

      January 25, 2013 at 9:41 pm |
  20. mama k

    Since there's just a lot of useless trolling going on here, I'll post this thing again – I thought it was pretty cool the first time I read it. It's James Madison from an article about a year after ten of the first twelve Amendments were adopted and ~17 years before he was president. Of course he was the key framer of the Constitution and several of the initial Amendments. Here, he's the Republican.

    =======================

    Who are the Best Keepers of the People's Liberties?

    Republican-[answer to the title] The people themselves. The sacred trust can be no where so safe as in the hands most interested in preserving it.

    Anti-republican–The people are stupid, suspicious, licentious. They cannot safely trust themselves. When they have established government they should think of nothing but obedience, leaving the care of their liberties to their wiser rulers.

    Republican–Although all men are born free, and all nations might be so, yet too true it is, that slavery has been the general lot of the human race. Ignorant–they have been cheated; asleep–they have been surprised; divided–the yoke has been forced upon them. But what is the lesson? That because the people may betray themselves, they ought to give themselves up, blindfold, to those who have an interest in betraying them? Rather conclude that the people ought to be enlightened, to be awakened, to be united, that after establishing a government they should watch over it, as well as obey it.

    Anti-republican–You look at the surface only, where errors float, instead of fathoming the depths where truth lies hid. It is not the government that is disposed to fly off from the people; but the people that are ever ready to fly off from the government. Rather say then, enlighten the government, warn it to be vigilant, enrich it with influence, arm it with force, and to the people never pronounce but two words–Submission and Confidence.

    Republican–The centrifugal tendency then is in the people, not in the government, and the secret art lies in restraining the tendency, by augmenting the attractive principle of the government with all the weight that can be added to it. What a perversion of the natural order of things! To make power the primary and central object of the social system, and Liberty but its satellite.

    Anti-republican-The science of the stars can never instruct you in the mysteries of government. Wonderful as it may seem, the more you increase the attractive force of power, the more you enlarge the sphere of liberty; the more you make government independent and hostile towards the people, the better security you provide for their rights and interests. Hence the wisdom of the theory, which, after limiting the share of the people to a third of the government ... establishes two grand hereditary orders ... inveterately hostile to the rights and interests of the people, yet by a mysterious operation all combining to fortify the people in both.

    Republican–Mysterious indeed! But mysteries belong to religion, not to government; to the ways of the Almighty, not to the works of man. And in religion itself there is nothing mysterious to its author; the mystery lies in the dimness of the human sight. So in the institutions of man let there be no mystery, unless for those inferior beings endowed with a ray perhaps of the twilight vouchsafed to the first order of terrestrial creation.

    Anti-republican–You are destitute, I perceive, of every quality of a good citizen, or rather of a good subject. You have neither the light of faith nor the spirit of obedience. I denounce you to the government as an accomplice of atheism and anarchy.

    Republican–And I forbear to denounce you to the people, though a blasphemer of their rights and an idolater of tyranny. Liberty disdains to persecute.

    =======================

    January 25, 2013 at 8:49 pm |
    • Observer

      Speaking of Republicans and liberty, did you hear the latest?

      Republicans are trying to get states to change laws to allow electoral votes by districts. Due to gerrymandering, this would have let Romney become president in spite of the fact that far more Americans voted for his opponent.

      So much for liberties.

      January 25, 2013 at 9:05 pm |
    • mama k

      Of course a Republican today versus Lincoln's time versus Madison's time were quite different. Oh I had missed that news. Wow – they will try anything. lol. Thanks, Observer.

      January 25, 2013 at 9:13 pm |
    • hmmm..funny

      The Republican speaking in the article is not the republican of our two party system..... the repulicans and democrats of today have much more in common with the anti republican.

      January 25, 2013 at 9:13 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @hmmm...funny,

      I think you will find mama k is fully aware of the fact that when Madison uses the word "Republican" he does not mean the GOP. The GOP did not exist in the early 19th century.

      January 25, 2013 at 9:18 pm |
    • mama k

      Yes, I was thinking that as well, hmm. But I would say the fundamentalist portions of today's Repubs & Dems go there as the anti-Republican. I think the influence of Deism on Madison shows some there as well.

      January 25, 2013 at 9:19 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @mama k,

      regarding GOP proposals for electoral college reform: Colbert had the WORD on Tuesday:

      http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/423114/january-22-2013/the-word-win–lose–or-redraw

      January 25, 2013 at 9:21 pm |
    • mama k

      I may have not made it clear above, but he wrote the entire article.

      January 25, 2013 at 9:23 pm |
    • mama k

      Oh thank you, not a GOPer, I will definitely look up that on line and watch – I love his show but miss a lot of them.

      January 25, 2013 at 9:24 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      "That's the beauty of gerrymander, instead of the voters getting to pick their leaders, the leaders get to pick their voters."

      Great stuff from Stephen C. as usual.

      January 25, 2013 at 9:25 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.