Will Atheists Ever Be Able to Organize Politically?

Even though our numbers are increasing, Paul Waldman says no, we can’t organize, because there’s nothing really uniting us:

it won’t be easy for secular Americans to become better organized as a political force, even as they increase in number. The major impediment to that kind of organization is the fact that it is very difficult for secularists to conceive of themselves in tribal terms. Most tribes, whether of nations or ethnicities or sports fandom, can easily demarcate their membership — it’s the people who look like us, or talk like us, or dress like us. Tribes organized around religious belief have rituals, sacred texts, and physical spaces that all serve to bind the participants together. Atheism has none of these things — most of the time it’s an individual choice, made and kept alone.

If he’s suggesting that we’re all going to band together and vote for the same candidate, I think he’s correct. We’re freethinkers. We don’t vote a particular way just because someone tells us to.

But we can unite around solid, science=based, reasonable ideas. A candidates who looks at all sides of an issue, who talks with and listens to experts when making decisions, who pushes for equal rights for all people, who supports church/state separation? That person would probably get a lot of traction within the atheist world.

Unfortunately, most candidates don’t speak that language right now. They don’t have to. They’re too busy wooing the (far larger) Religious Right with promises of denying rights from certain segments of our population and praising god for their good fortune that they haven’t come around to supporting reason.

I suspect when a sensible candidate comes along — one who has a shot at winning office while honoring our shared values at the same time — you’ll see a lot of donations and votes coming from our “community.”

(via Daily Dish)

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