Atheist Groups React to Inclusion of ‘God’ in Democratic Party Platform

More background on the revision to the 2012 Democratic platform is here:

Atheist groups are weighing on the decision to put “God” back into the Democratic Party’s platform:

American Atheists:

David Silverman, President of American Atheists said, “I am shocked that the Democratic Party caved in to the pressure they were receiving because of their choice to use inclusive language in their platform.” Silverman continues, “This decision makes the Democratic Party look less like the ‘party of all people’ and only the party of those who are religious.”

“We’re disappointed,” Teresa MacBain, spokeswoman for American Atheists, told POLITICO. “What appeared to be a bold move by the Democrats to be inclusive has been pulled away. It sends a mixed message. Many, many people who are nonbelievers fall in the lines of the Democrats.”

Secular Coalition for America:

Edwina Rogers, Executive Director of the Secular Coalition for America, said religion plays too big a role in politics at both the state and federal level.

“The comingling of God and politics that we are increasingly seeing from our politicians at both the state and federal levels is precisely what our founders aimed to avoid,” Rogers said. “The separation of religion and government is one of our nation’s core founding principles and it should be embraced by both parties, because it really is the best guarantee of freedom for all Americans — including the religious. Our founders knew that and it’s a shame today’s lawmakers don’t.”


More updates as statements come in.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • Art

    The worst part, to me, is how meaningless the inclusion is. Does it really make religious people feel better to know that the crammed the phrase ‘God-given” into the platform? Did they breathe a sigh of relief over it?

    • Amakudari

      Yes?

      I would be quite content to go to their children’s bar-mitzvahs, to marvel at their Gothic cathedrals, to “respect” their belief that the Koran was dictated, though exclusively in Arabic, to an illiterate prophet, or to interest myself in Wicca and Hindu and Jain consolations. And as it happens, I will continue to do this without insisting on the polite reciprocal condition—which is that they in turn leave me alone. But this, religion is ultimately incapable of doing. -Hitchens

      The intent is to alienate non-believers, to cede ground to Christians for political brownie points. The yeas seemed quite happy with themselves even as they were shouting over the other half that merely wanted neutrality.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/5AU7DJ4GGBKTNOMWD3HBZVBGZ4 Randall

      When Atheism becomes the official position of a Government, Christians are killed.
       
      It has happened every single time.

      • SwedishLore15

        Care to cite some sources on that, Randall, or are you merely here to troll and start arguments that you have no intention of seriously participating in once you have made your first comment?

  • http://twitter.com/SerafineLaveaux Serafine Laveaux

    Why is anyone surprised at this? They’re politicians. Doesn’t matter what party they belong to, they’re like slinkies when it comes to going whichever way looks to be the easiest.

    • grindstone

      Thank you! They did this because they have basic math skills and can count votes. Don’t blame politicians for being politicians. If they left their platform godless, it would just be fodder for the right to rally more of their base, who right now are not altogether in love with their own ticket.

  • Guest

    I can understand they are upset but right now, whatever it takes to make the Republicans lose is fine with me. (though they are doing a fine job undermining their own party)

  • TheKevinBates

    Ugh.  Why?  Yeah okay, I get that they’re attempting to steal votes away to win, but at what cost?  What’s next from the Democratic party?  Are we going to hear speeches about White America, too?

    F this.  You should be standing up to zealots and bullies, not emulating them.

  • http://www.facebook.com/eukota Darrell Ross

    I find the inclusion to be a minor nuisance. But I am not so petty that I will not vote for Obama because of it. 

    I think the math is pretty clear – removing the god references from their platform would cost them far more votes than leaving them in there. Just in sheer numbers, the crazy theists who vote based on religion in a platform far outnumber atheists who would choose not to vote. Add to that that atheists, not always but quite often, are more pragmatic than theists and will still cast their vote strategically for the lesser of two evils when it comes right down to it.Based on available evidence, I think putting god back on their platform was the right call for them.

    • Tony

      I don’t know about some people, but I’m sick of voting for the “lesser of 2 evils”.  Obama has not been a disaster, except in educational policy.  Still, I want someone who will listen to me, not the money-changers.  Obama and Romney are on the same team, but with slightly different rhetoric.  Sad, but true.  Check out their big-money donor lists if you doubt it.

      • LouisDoench

        I believe that there is a moral imperative to choose the lesser of two evils if you find it within your power to do so.  Folks around the world would literally kill for that chance. 

        • Ed

           Louis- I think you have a strong point. After all, if one can’t avoid causing harm, one ought to to their best to limit the amount of damage done. Otoh, this assumes that there are no other options and that one is not causing continued and possibly greater harm in other ways by continuing to pick between two evils.  For me the inclusion of “God” isn’t a big deal. NDAA,
          Guantanamo, continued renditions, Bagram expansion, massive escalation
          of drone deaths, murdering USA citizens (Anwar al awlaki and his 14 year
          old son) far from any battlefield and without any pretext of due
          process, renewing the patriot act, refusal to investigate and prosecute
          Bush era torturers, the treatment of Manning and other whistleblowers, eliminating the public option, and throwing cash constantly into wall st
          are all much more pressing reasons to avoid Obama. Finally, if any Republican had been in office and attempted these or comparable things, the uproar would have been instantaneous. If the “greater” of the two evils were to win, the Dems would have fought it tooth and nail making it much less effective than Obama has been.

          • LouisDoench

            I think 8 years of the Bush administration would disprove your last point sir. Any political
            Plan that depends on the democrats growing a spine is fatally flawed. I’m just as upset as you are about all of the sins that can be laid at the door of the Obama administration. I simply don’t believe that you can elect someone to dismantle the empire from the top. The presidency is basically douchebag-in-chief, our job is to limit the damage the D.I.C. can do by making as good a choice as we possibly can amongst terrible choices.

            Changing the country will come from the ground up. You want Bradley Manning out of jail, work to create a political climate in which thats the best course of action politically. Work to build a stronger congress and stronger state governments

            • Ed

              “I think 8 years of the Bush administration would disprove your last point sir.” Actually my point relied soundly on the last 8 years of Bush. I seem to remember a young well spoken up-and-comer riding the intense and vitriolic democratic reaction to Bush’s warrantless wire taping, Valarie Plain leeking, water boarding, torture of prisoners etc etc to a Presidential victory.

              One enduring victory for the Obama camp is the way it has built a broad consensus bringing previously unconscionable actions into the democratic fold. Now there is narry a peep about murdering US citizens, when there was a massive outcry over illegal wire tapping under Bush.

              “A post 9/11 consensus is emerging that
              has bridged the ideological divide of the Bush 43 years.
              And it’s going to be pretty durable. . . .  As shown
              through his stepped-up drone campaign,
              Barack Obama has become George W. Bush on
              steroids.” http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article31454.htmLook at the way Nobel laureate Obama touts his warrior cred. Now Dems can be tough on terrorist war mongering hawks too!You talk about “limiting” the DIC damage potential. Not voting for a war mongering, torturing, constitution spurning murderer would be a good start.

            • Ed

               You say changing this country will happen from the ground up. Wonderful, I hope so! But damaging change has definitely happened from the top down via Bush and Obama. (civil liberties, wall st economic disparities, etc) One can’t pretend the President is powerless.

              You tell me to work for Manning’s release, as if it isn’t Obama’s fault and personal choice to prosecute more whistleblower’s than every other US President combined.

              http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/sep/05/obama-campaign-brags-about-whistleblower-persecutions

              You say “our job is to limit the damage the D.I.C. can do by making as good a choice as we possibly can amongst terrible choices.” I say our job is to stop making excuses for what we know to be evil and instead support and uphold what is good rather than what we think will “win”.

              • LouisDoench

                Dude,  chill.  I’m not making excuses, I’m describing reality. So you can take your emo-prog rant elsewhere, I can read Glenn Greenwald too.  If you think the best course of action is to vote green party that’s fine. I hope you are in a state thats not up for grabs because I got 2 little girls and I’m pretty sure I don’t want Romney or Hemant Forbid Ryan appointing the next 3 Supreme court justices. 

                Rant about Obama all you want, I can’t really argue with the facts. Heck, I’ll rant right along with you, I voted for the fucker and I’m disappointed  as well.  But he’s not a mustache twirling villain and I certainly want him reelected over the alternative.

      • DreadPirateRogers

         And that’s why I vote third party. I hope one day enough people will to make the big 2 wake up and realize that they need to actually offer a difference between them.

  • Aaron Scoggin

    But how can you possibly believe in your country if you don’t believe in ALLMIGHTY GAWD!?

    CHECKMATE ATHEISTS

    /end

  • Tony

    Green Party.  Now.  Leave the Republican-lite Democrats behind.  

    • Barbara

      If I thought the Green Party was a viable contender, I’d vote for Stein in a heartbeat. I voted for Nader in 2000 and look how that election turned out. I don’t want to risk Romney getting in, so Obama is getting my vote.

      • Chris

         At least you can vote for her. Here in NC she’s not on the ballot because enough folks won’t vote their conscience. Essentially I’m denied the choice.

        • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

          You can still vote for her as a write-in.  There’s a pretty direct correlation between how hard it is to get on the ballot, and how long a state has been a state.  The original 13 colonies have the highest road block to getting on the ballot.  Unless you have a ton of money to hire a ton of people to go out and collect signatures, it’ll never happen.

          We are half a party away from the Soviet Union.

      • Mark Gailmor

        Can I tell you a well known secret? Electronic voting machines are illegal. Yes, according to our constitution they are illegal. Why must we force congress to ban them once and for all? As long as they are operational you and I don’t really have a say on who the elected officials are. There is software that is readily available to hack these machines and modify the outcome in one direction or another. You can’t do that if the vote has to be hand tallied. 

        Don’t believe me? It’s all in the documentary that film maker, Aaron Russo made before he died. Time to wake and stop acting like a good lil democrat. 

        http://www.freedomtofascism.com. 

        Oh, and just fyi. I was a democrat who became disgusted with my party. I’ll never be a republican either.

    • Thegoodman

       I had never read anything about the Green Party before a few minutes ago. I read about a dozen of their platform issues and I agree with them all 100%.

      Thanks for the heads up. I may start supporting Green Party candidates moving forward.

  • Artor

    Alright then. I’ve not been too happy with the Democrat’s performance on things that are important to me, but now they can just fuck off. I don’t need to support pathological panderers. There’s nothing left in the party for me.

  • http://yetanotheratheist.com/ TerranRich

    Cue the “both parties are exactly the same!” comments in 3… 2…

    • SwedishLore15

      I’m not deluded enough to think that a Mitt Romney presidency would be exactly the same as an Obama presidency, and I say this as a critic of a lot of Obama’s policies.  Obama has disappointed me on many issues, yes, and I would love to have a system in place where third parties are more viable as actual candidates than as spoilers (the unfortunate reality of our system as it currently operates), but for all of their faults the Democrats have a better social platform than the Republicans; they have a far better economic platform.  You can’t tell me that you would be indifferent if Republicans were to sweep in today and replace every current Democrat serving in the House and Senate because “both parties are the same”.

      • http://yetanotheratheist.com/ TerranRich

        Agreed. I wasn’t saying they were both the same; I was expressing my expectation that some people would claim as much.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000473841166 Paul Paulus

    Like Dawkins always says: Replace g*o*d* with Zeus or Odan or Allah and see how cwazy these hicks are.

  • SwedishLore15

    I’m not sure why they made the change.  Were they afraid the Republicans would use it as an attack to alienate more moderate religious voters?  If so, they should have stood their ground; there was already a section in the platform on faith.  Even after the change, Republicans can still say that they had explicitly religious language in their platform first, and the Democrats only made their alteration because the Republicans called them out.

    • SwedishLore15

      So, really, all this does is make the Democrats look spineless, caving to Republican pressure instead of standing firm and pointing out that they actually did include a section on faith in their original, un-amended platform but, no, they are not the non-inclusive theocratic party of America; that’s the other guys.  

      I’m not convinced that the lack of a direct reference to God in the platform was an issue for the people who are already voting for Obama or are likely to vote for him, with the exception of maybe a scattered few religious undecideds that find such things more meaningful. Making the change didn’t deprive the Republicans of a “They’re godless!” argument, and in fact only drew more attention to the issue than it would have actually been given if it had been left alone, I’m sure.

  • Tainda

    And once again Democrats cave to pressure.  This is REALLY starting to get on my nerves

  • Dwayne_Windham

    Thank you DNC, for showing me why I remain independent as a voter and refuse to pull the lever for any party alone. My donations of time, talents, and treasure will continue to go to individual candidates who share my values and are ready to fight for them.

  • Adrozd

    This is simply horrendous!  

    I wrote a piece on this just yesterday and was proven right in less than 12 hours > http://rantpolitical.com/2012/09/05/the-great-divide-in-group-love-or-outgroup-hate/

  • Thegoodman

    Despite my $100 donation to President Obama recently, I am considering not voting now because of this. I was very happy to hear him mention non-believers in his acceptance speech but this is very disappointing.

  • SJH

     What is amazing to me is that there was so much division. Is it really that harmful to have God mentioned? Was it really that harmful to leave Him out? It seems that they took a very small issue and turned it into a large one and at the same time turning it into political fire power for the right. Usually the dems are better at politics then this.

    Though this does point out a striking difference between the parties. One party is definitely moving away from our American religious culture and attempting to secularize as much as possible, in and out of the government, while the other is content with keeping America as it has been.

    Has there ever been such a distinction in the two parties. Very interesting. I wonder how history will look upon our current political climate.

    • SwedishLore15

      “attempting to secularize as much as possible, in and out of government”

      Good.  America isn’t nearly secular (and secularism benefits the religious as much as it benefits a non-religious minority group like atheists) enough.  Our “American religious culture” should not come at the expense of meaningful and more inclusive secular progress.

      • SwedishLore15

        Having said that, I wish the Democratic Party was as committed to secularism as your imagined version of them, because they still pander to the religious base more than they try to articulate why secularism could be beneficial to that base.  They are committed, in my view, in certain areas, but unfortunately it is often the activists outside of the Democratic Party that advocate for secularism.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/FDGYHBEWVNGUG763L5X4TON3JQ Nazani14

    It’s something they have to do to bring in as many of the undecideds as possible.   If you don’t vote at all, Romney could very well win, and then you’ll be hearing about God’s will every day of the week.  When we are more than 15 to 19% of the population, then we can start dictating party platforms.

  • Rwlawoffice

    Way to go Democrats! In one fell swoop you have been able to anger and alienate Christians, atheists, Muslims and those that love the democratic process with an honest vote count.  This convention has been a disaster for Obama . 

    • OregoniAn

      Far from it.. What planet are you living on? Outside of the far right radio talk shows and some atheists (myself included) – no one else gave a rats ass about this minor kerfuffle.. it’s big news on Friendly Atheist because we are atheists here and these issues are important to us.. That doesn’t make it BIG NEWS – and (not surprisingly) it wasn’t.

      • OregoniAn

         …Personal goal of using the word “kerfuffle” in a sentence on this day completed. Score one for me!!

  • Kyle S.

    And this is why I don’t vote. Politicians are all pandering liars. They’ll say anything to get elected and do anything to stay in office. Our political system is such a joke. George Carlin had it 100% right, just sit back and enjoy the freak show.

  • Justin

    How about the fact that it clearly failed to pass by voice vote but they claimed it passed anyway? Villarigossa (sp?) clearly knew that he did not get 2/3 voice vote in the affirmative but passed it anyway like the crook that he is. Listen to the audio. It is clear.

    • Joseph

       I think this point is more important than whether of not the DNC wanted to change the platform in the first place.  It’s totally obvious *why* they did this — pure, cynical, political pandering — but the fact that the voice vote was clearly *not* a 2/3 majority, as was dictated on the teleprompter (!!!), is truly a disgrace to “democracy.”

      “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!”

  • DreadPirateRogers

    Its especially telling that the “voting” for the inclusion sure sounded like a tie the 3-4 times they did it. But the teleprompter said it had a 2/3 majority, so it was announced as a 2/3 majority.

  • Reneeo

    funny how you conveniently left the Islamic element out my friend, so are muslims now American Atheist, we are not blind and you are sad to think we believe this…….

  • Onegladhouse

    ‘God’ should NOT be included in any party platform in the USA.  Maybe Iraq or Iran, but not in this country.
     


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