News / USA

Non-believers Create Political Pressure Group

Non-believers Create Political Pressure Groupi
X
September 24, 2013
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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Abuja Blast Impacts Lives, Livelihoods

Officials say they are looking at ways to help bombing victims and boosting security More

Cambodia Technology Adviser Criticizes Cybercrime Draft Law

Phu Leewood says current criminal code can be used to prosecute offenders and that there is no need for a separate law More

Photogallery A Year Later, Boston Remembers Deadly Marathon Bombings

City pauses to honor victims and salute emergency workers who came to their assistance in frantic moments after blasts More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid