New on AlterNet: Exporting America’s Culture Wars

My latest column is now up on AlterNet, You Wouldn't Believe How Fast Americans Are Losing Their Religion -- But the Fundamentalists Have a Plan. In it, I report on the American religious-right activists who are exporting American-style culture wars to the developing world, even as the U.S. and Europe become less religious. The fundamentalists haven't been able to strip women, LGBT people, and non-Christians of their rights at home, but they're working hard to do so abroad. Read the excerpt … [Read more...]

The Church Isn’t Too Good at Introspection

AbandonedChurch

While doing research for another post, I came across a slew of articles with a common theme: young people are leaving the Catholic church at a high rate, and the church's apologists are trying to figure out how they can stem this tide. They're not wrong about this, either. A 1999 survey found that only 14% of Catholics born after 1960 say the church is "very important" in their lives, and a 2009 Gallup poll found that church-going among Catholics has declined dramatically since the 1950s. A … [Read more...]

The Secular Census and Women in Atheism

RedAndWhite

The American Secular Census is releasing statistics about the data they've gathered so far, and one of the first articles concerns women's experiences in secular groups. There's a lot here that's worth commenting on. First, the necessary caveats: The Secular Census isn't a rigorous survey with random sampling of the population, but is open to anyone who wants to sign up and answer the questions, so there's an element of self-selection which could have influenced the results. On the other … [Read more...]

New on AlterNet: Courting the Votes of the Non-Religious

USCapitol

My latest column is now up on AlterNet, There Are Now As Many Nonreligious Americans As Evangelicals -- 6 Ways Politicians Can Court Their Vote. In it, I discuss the evidence which shows that nonreligious Americans are becoming a pivotal voting bloc - including evidence that they played a decisive role in President Obama's reelection - and pen some advice to politicians who want to reach out to us. Read the excerpt below, then click through to see the rest: In this cycle, the specter of a … [Read more...]

Why Is America’s Most Progressive Voting Block Often Overlooked?

This article was originally published on AlterNet. The renowned physicist Max Planck once said, "A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it." And this isn't just true of science: the same principle holds true in the political arena. Most progressive advances don't come about because vast numbers of people are persuaded to drop their … [Read more...]

Winning the Culture War on Two Fronts

The big news this week, as well it should be, was a new survey from Pew showing that America's religious "nones" continue their demographic ascent: The number of Americans who do not identify with any religion continues to grow at a rapid pace. One-fifth of the U.S. public – and a third of adults under 30 – are religiously unaffiliated today, the highest percentages ever in Pew Research Center polling. [That works out to 46 million people! —A.L.] In the last five years … [Read more...]

The Coming Atheist Demographic Tide

The WIN-Gallup International network of polling firms has released a new poll titled Global Index of Religion and Atheism 2012, and there's a lot of good news in it for us. Some of these results are so encouraging, I hesitate to believe them without additional confirmation - but if they bear out, they show that atheism is rising all around the world like the tide coming in! The highlight of the survey was Ireland. One of the questions was, "Irrespective of whether you attend a place of worship … [Read more...]

Book Review: Nonbeliever Nation

Summary: A solid, informative history of the rise of the American secular movement. Books like Jennifer Michael Hecht's Doubt: A History or Susan Jacoby's Freethinkers show how brave nonbelievers have always existed, even in theocratic societies that were implacably hostile to their views. In most cases, persecution prevented those isolated sparks from joining together into a brighter light. But what happens when they do join together? In the past two decades, observers of American politics … [Read more...]

We Have an Unfair Advantage

When it comes to debating the merits of religion, we atheists have an unfair advantage. Lately, almost every day when I go to work, there are Jehovah's Witnesses in the subway station. I see them in the morning and the evening, two or three of them sitting on folding chairs in the sweltering, grimy heat, holding up Watchtower magazines and pamphlets to the rush of disinterested commuters. I think I've seen someone engage them maybe once or twice, either to talk or to debate, but 95% of the time … [Read more...]

The Millennials: America’s Secular Future

I had a run-in with an old adversary lately, and after I've sent him on his way, I always feel compelled to point out some of the hopeful things he never mentions. This post is about one of those things. In recent posts, I've expressed my disillusionment with the Democrats. But whatever the current state of politics in America - and I'm not denying that it's depressing and infuriating by turns - the long-term trends look very good for us. One of the brightest of these trends is the rise in … [Read more...]


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