News / USA

Non-believers Create Political Pressure Group

Non-believers Create Political Pressure Groupi
X
September 24, 2013 8:38 PM
Polls show that at least six percent of Americans do not believe in God, but their numbers are not reflected in Congress. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky reports from Washington that a new political action committee or PAC will try to win them political representation.
Polls show that at least six percent of Americans do not believe in God, but their numbers are not reflected in Congress. A new political action committee or PAC will try to win them political representation.

Representatives Andre Carson and Keith Ellison are Muslims. Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard is a Hindu and Senator Mazie Hirono a Buddhist. But not a single declared atheist sits among the 535 lawmakers in Congress.

The recently launched Freethought Equality Fund wants to change that. Executive director Roy Speckhardt says among the public, atheists and those who question God's existence now outnumber Jews, Muslims and Mormons combined.

“We are in fact one of the largest minorities in the United States today. But you’d never know it from our organized numbers or political power,” he said.

He says the Fund will support candidates regardless of faith who support secular ideals. Candidates like New Jersey Democrat Rush Holt who recently asked Congress to honor Charles Darwin  for his theory of evolution.

Maggie Ardiente of the American Humanist Association hopes some lawmakers will even declare themselves publicly as skeptics.

“I think this PAC is needed because there’s still a stigma against atheists and humanists and people who don’t believe in a God," she said. "I think many people believe that you can’t be good without a God and be an elected official in the United States.”

Robert Jones of the Public Religion Research Institute takes the longer view. He said, “In the American context, the word atheism has a troubled past.”

It was associated with Communism during the Cold War, and Jones says belief in a higher being is still seen as a proxy for morality.
 
“And I think for many Americans evaluating and saying, ‘Does this person believe in God or not,’ is a sort of mental shortcut, I think, that many religious Americans make when they’re evaluating candidates,” he said.

It’s one reason so many official speeches end with “God bless America.”

But with surveys showing one third of adults under 30 don’t identify with any religion, God’s place of prominence in American politics may no longer be as assured.

Jerome Socolovsky

Jerome Socolovsky is the award-winning religion correspondent for the Voice of America, based in Washington. He reports on the rapidly changing faith landscape of the United States, including interfaith issues, secularization and non-affiliation trends and the growth of immigrant congregations.

You May Like

US Firms Concerned About China's New Cyber Regulations

New rules would require technology companies doing business in financial sector to hand over their source code, adopt Chinese encryption algorithms More

WHO Focus on Ebola Shifts to Ending Outbreak

Focus to be less on building facilities and more on efforts to find infected people, manage their cases, engage with communities and ensure proper burials More

US Scientist Who Conceived of Groundbreaking Laser Technology Dies

Charles Townes, Nobel laureate, laser co-creator paved way for other scientific discoveries: CDs, eye surgery, metal cutters to name a few technologies that rely on lasers More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Webi
X
January 29, 2015 9:58 AM
Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video As Ground Shifts, Obama Reviews Middle East Strategy

The death of Saudi Arabia’s king, the collapse of a U.S.-friendly government in Yemen and a problematic relationship with Israel’s leadership are presenting a new set of complications for the Obama administration and its Middle East policy. Not only is the U.S. leader dealing with adversaries in Iran, the Islamic State and al-Qaida, but he is now juggling trouble with traditional allies, as White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Saved By a Mistake - an Auschwitz Survivor's Story

Dagmar Lieblova was 14 when she arrived at Auschwitz in December 1943, along with her entire Czech Jewish family. All of them were to die there, but she was able to leave after several months due to a bureaucratic mix-up which saved her life. Now 85, with three children and six grandchildren, she says she has a feeling of victory. This report by Ahmad Wadiei and Farin Assemi, of RFE/RL's Radio Farda is narrated by RFE’s Raymond Furlong.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid