Candidates always want to court the Religious Right voters, but they don’t always follow their orders. Instead, they just mention the Christian faith in every speech and play up their conservative credentials and talk about how they will be led by the Bible while in office. Thankfully, it’s more words than action.
Would you as an atheist settle for similar lip service from politicians?
When my companions asked if I, an atheist, would settle for so little, I replied without hesitation: “YES! We’ll take lip service!”
I would be thrilled to see politicians court us by accepting invitations to speak at atheist and humanist conferences, as they do at religious events. I would love to hear them say we were founded as a secular nation, with no mention of any gods in our Constitution, and speak about the value of separating religion from government. I’d be delighted to hear them defend atheists and agnostics from our detractors, reminding Americans that freedom of conscience extends to citizens of all faiths and none.
Yes, even if their words changed nothing about public policy, lip service would be a wonderful new dimension in the relationship between politicians and secular Americans — it would mean public acknowledgement that we exist. It might even lead to the occasional political crumb: an elected official hiring advisers who are openly humanist, for example. Just this minimal level of recognition could go a long way toward changing the hearts and minds of people who assume god belief to be a prerequisite for morality and ethical behavior.
Why would secular Americans like me set the bar so low? Because we have no direction to go but up…
Lip service is where it will begin. Perhaps, one day, respect will follow.
Will you be satisfied when Barack Obama mentions gays and atheists in a speech about inclusivity but then doesn’t advocate for any legislation in our favor?
Is that better than a president who ignores us altogether or wants nothing to do with us?