What Issues Will Atheists Be Discussing Over the Next Four Years?

On Wednesday, I’ll be writing about the new president (whoever it may be…) for Humanist Network News. Specifically, I’d like to write about the church/state, social, and religious topics that will come up over the next four years.

Here are my questions to you:

What issues will atheists be concerned with over the next four years?

Which of those issues will go our way in an Obama or McCain administration?

Which of those issues will be dropped or forgotten or lost in an Obama or McCain administration?

Thanks in advance for your help!

  • Kate

    Unrelated to the specific presidential election, but Dole’s smear campaign highlighted a scary point – it’s still considered a shameful act to be associated with atheists. I’m not sure if we WILL be talking about this after the election, but I think we need to start/continue to talk about how to do our best to make this a thing of the past. No, we can’t control the actions and reactions of others. But we can control how we act and react. What can we do to erase the stigma so that politicians won’t consider atheist associations to be political suicide in this country?

  • Cathy

    Gay marriage. I know that you may be thinking “that’s not a church state seperation issue” but it really is because the main objections are based on religious doctrine. Denying someone equal legal rights for simpy failing to adhere to the tenants of certain religious sects is a clear violation of church/state seperation. McCain seeks to increase this religion based discrimination, Obama seeks to uphold it in a milder form.

    Teaching of evolution. ID is a religious belief, not a scientific theory. McCain is big on teaching religion in schools, Obama not so much.

    “faith based programs” religious groups that recieve federal funding for activities involving religious promotion and discrimination. McCain is basically in love with them, Obama is okay with them.

    Tax breaks for churchs. if that isn’t government giving financial benefits to religion, I don’t know what is. McCain and Obama have been silent (as far as I know) on this issue.

    The unconstitutional practice that still occurs in some regions of this country where witnesses in court are forced to be sworn in on a bible.

    unequal holiday time. Workers and people in school are allowed off for numerous religious holidays but nonreligious people are not given a comparable number of personal days.

  • teammarty

    The nomination of Supreme Court justices if and when the time comes.

  • Daniel H.

    What issues will atheists be concerned with over the next four years?

    Religion.
    A lot of atheists think more about and obsess more over religion than a lot of religious people. It’s strange. It’s as if they’re God-haunted.

  • http://falterer.blogspot.com Falterer

    Cathy, I think you may be mistaken in saying that McCain is more in love with FBCIs than Obama. Last time I heard him quoted about them, Obama wanted to expand OFBCI funding. I also disagree with your interpretation of Faith Based and Community Initiatives themselves. Safeguards against funding discrimination, proselytization, and inherently religious activities, are written into the order.

  • Joseph R.

    I have heard little said about education, and specifically if Bush’s policies will be kept in place, regardless of who wins the election. I have heard from too many educators about the massive failure that is “no child left behind”. I am anxious to find out what, if anything, is going to change in the next four years.

  • justin jm

    A lot of atheists think more about and obsess more over religion than a lot of religious people. It’s strange. It’s as if they’re God-haunted.

    Okay, here’s what we gotta work on: correcting misconceptions about ourselves.

  • Lost Left Coaster

    I’m an atheist, but my political world view isn’t shaped by that, really…I define myself more as a progressive than as an atheist when it comes to politics. And this progressive is concerned about: 1)getting out of Iraq 2) not starting new wars with anyone else 3) reforming health care in the USA to cover the uninsured and ensure adequate care for 100% of the population 4)Having an overall humane foreign policy 5) Ending torture, illegal spying, racial profiling, indefinite (and sometimes secret) detention, and all other Soviet-style policies enacted by the Bush administration. I think, if Obama wins (and it is looking good), he’ll respect the separation of church and state, and his views on funding for charities match mine. I don’t mind federal funds going to charities that are associated with religions, as long as those charities cannot use those funds in a discriminatory or sectarian manner. Bush supported allowing faith-based charities to discriminate; my understanding is that Obama doesn’t. We will, of course, need to always be vigilant.

  • Stephen

    Tax dollars going to tax exempt organizations that are clearly and or blatantly supporting partisan political agendas.

    Tax dollars going to “faith based” initiatives.

    War.

    Improving our standing in the world through good foreign policy and not heavy handed knee-jerk actions.

    Discrimination of all kinds.

  • Viggo the Carpathian

    Personally, I don’t think that religion or lack there of should define your political issues. This country has some serious problems that if allowed to continue will affect everyone regardless of belief. Focusing on faith issues is part of what got us here. We have a large segment of the population that are single issue voters, abortion, gay marriage etc.
    They look past the disease in this country and harp on a symptom or two. The most serious problems we have going are (1)a government education system that is turning out dumber and less educated children every year. They spend more time indoctrinating the kids with PC garbage than teaching them what they need to compete with India and China and Europe.
    (2)The military industry has become so huge and over funded that war is inevitable. Its good business to go to war. We didn’t go into Iraq for the oil we went to justify the purchase of F22s and MRAPs. We went to keep the contracts flowing. This has to be broken because the larger and more powerful they become the more political might they have and its only a matter of time before a president will forgo presence and start strutting around in a uniform.
    (3)Energy. We need to fix our energy infrastructure and follow the European model. Go nuclear. It makes sense. Yes, it has problems but if we would learn from the French instead of insulting them… We could follow the Australian lead and use our coal reserves for synthetic oils and use the petroleum for plastics. We have options if we would just bloody well think.

  • http://eshto.deviantart.com Eshto

    Gay marriage, and other gay rights (adoption, etc.), is the most prominent issue for me personally because I’m gay and in a committed relationship.

    And yeah, it is a church-state issue all the way. Homophobia comes to us from Abrahamic religion. 99% of all homophobia is explicitly religious, and the rest is based on ignorance, which is religion’s favorite currency. There are no objective or scientifically credible reasons to hate gay people. Whether they realize it or not, non-religious homophobes got all their misconceptions and stereotypes from the religious ideas that have persisted for centuries.

    Education, global warming, the war on the middle class, women’s right to choose… Heck you name it, and religion is a factor. We’re the most religious nation in the Western world, there’s no escaping it.

    Obama is right (or if not completely right, light years beyond McCain) on almost every issue I can think of. I can’t think of one issue on which McCain is more qualified.

    And no sorry, just because he was tortured, that doesn’t mean McCain would be a better military commander. He can’t make level-headed military decisions. McCain is narrow and has a short fuse, doesn’t understand world geography much less world politics, and I think Obama will be a much better Commander in Chief.

    The biggest flaw of Obama is his faith based plan. On paper it sounds really nice – don’t favor any religious group, money has to go for secular projects, religious groups using government money have to comply with non-discrimination policies. If it would work I would have no problem with it.

    Problem is, socially conservative churches want government money, and they don’t want to pay taxes, and they want to use the money to evangelize, AND they want to freely discriminate against certain Americans (gays, atheists, etc).

    Obama’s faith plan is optimistic, I think he’s overestimating the ability (or willingness) of people of faith to put the good of the country ahead of their own selfish desires and delusions. Ignorant and petty religious people won’t play by the rules, it will be difficult if not impossible to maintain oversight on all the organizations using government money, and in the end the hard right religious bigots will ruin it for everyone else.

    But, again, light years beyond McCain’s “Christian nation”.

  • http://www.otmatheist.com hoverFrog

    As a foreigner from across the pond I’m most interested in the war and foreign policy. Is the US going to keep acting like the bully in the schoolyard to other nations or will she start afresh and take her place as the grown up and responsible brother to the old world and the developing world?

    Is the US going to develop an energy policy that doesn’t involve robbing the rest of the planet and giving money to nations that fund terrorists attacks against herself and her allies?

    What will the US do about those prisoners in Guantanamo Bay? There are hundreds of people from dozens of nations held without trial or charge. The fact that they are suspected of terrorist activity is only a reason to hold them for questioning and not a reason to detain them.

    Religion is really a distraction from real issues on equality and responsibility. Unfortunately that means that those without religion have to point out how distracting it is all the more.

  • Curtis

    Personally, I don’t think that religion or lack there of should define your political issues

    Until a month ago, I would have agreed. However, the North Carolina Republican Partyhas labeled godless Americans as “vile.” The Republican National Senatorial Committee has not used the word “vile” but has certainly implied as much. Excuse me but I am pretty sure I should be offended.

    To paraphrase the greatest president of my lifetime “I did not leave the Republican Party, it left me.” But not only has it left me, it vilified me (and all atheists.) I am done with the Republican Party. This year, I will not vote for any Republican at the state or federal level. I have not decided whether to hold their faithist bigotry against my county comissioner.

    My political efforts will be aimed changing the Republican Party into one that an atheist can vote for.

    Curtis

  • Adam

    Why can i still not marry another guy?


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