The nonreligious may be America's largest minority.
October 10, 2001 7:27 PM   Subscribe

...although "there are a hell of a lot more of us out there than many activists think", might have been an unfortunate way of putting it...
posted by normy at 7:33 PM on October 10, 2001

posted by UrbanFigaro at 7:40 PM on October 10, 2001

First, it isn't true that the whole of American society has embarked on a mission to re-adopt the sacred. That is rather the agenda of well-funded, well-organized minorities on the Right-admittedly, minorities who have done a superb job of raising money and playing the games of special interest politics.

I hear the same rhetoric from my less-mainstream conservative contacts. The lesson? Right or wrong, everybody likes to play the oppressed martyr, valiantly fighting the good fight against impossible odds.

Where's rushmc when you need him?
posted by gd779 at 7:52 PM on October 10, 2001

Whoohooo!!! With all the "God bless this and that and everything" I was starting to feel very persecuted. I know it's mostly patriotic, but after a while of seeing the word "God" everywhere, I start to flinch.
posted by stoneegg21 at 7:56 PM on October 10, 2001

Also: Nobody likes a discussion about religious freedom more than I do, but this link isn't exactly fresh or unique. Vol. 21, No. 1 of the Free Inquiry, came out last December.
posted by gd779 at 7:57 PM on October 10, 2001

I thought the only real fun of being nonreligious is the pleasant warm smugness of seeing your fellow man trying curry some sort of favor with what you understand to be a primitive anachronism of a childish ego.
Yet another spot in the day for one to pat one's self on the back for not being as stupid as one's fellow man.

It never occurred to me that I could also parlay my lack of faith into outright martyrdom.

posted by dong_resin at 7:58 PM on October 10, 2001

Silly me, I thought men were America's largest minority.
posted by NortonDC at 7:58 PM on October 10, 2001

The nonreligious may be America's largest minority.

Hate to burst this guy's bubble, but according to the most recent census, there are >36,000,000 African-Americans and >35,000,000 Latinos in this country. If the best he can do is 32,000,000, then his thesis has a problem.

roughly five times as many nonbelievers as American Jews

This makes me skeptical too; I happen to fall in both these camps.
posted by boaz at 8:09 PM on October 10, 2001

is it just me, or is "The Council for Secular Humanism" perhaps not the most balanced source of information on this subject?
posted by hipstertrash at 8:50 PM on October 10, 2001

Hipstertrash: it's not just you. What's their purpose in writing that? Are they trying to pursuade more people to become agnostics/athiests? I don't care about the numbers, whether they're well-grounded or not, but I do wish that the government (as a collective entity) would stear clear of religious axioms.
posted by bloggboy at 8:56 PM on October 10, 2001

I think their purpose is to polarize the audience into two camps: "religious nuts" and "everybody else". And then stir up emotions and animosity between them. It's just more inflammatory rhetoric.
posted by JParker at 10:34 PM on October 10, 2001

"The Council for Secular Humanism is North America's leading organization for non-religious people. A not-for-profit educational association, the Council supports a wide range of activities to meet the needs of people who find meaning and value in life without looking to a god."

And perhaps their point here is to let areligious people know they aren't alone and to remind religious types that being areligious doesn't make one odd. Areligious people are normal.

That's a good thing for everyone to keep in mind now, while the gaudier sort of Christians, Moslems, and Jews around the world are make such a blatant display of their rites and incantations.
posted by pracowity at 10:55 PM on October 10, 2001

I agree with your sentiment, but it's annoying to see authors like this one equate "re-adopt(ing) the sacred" with "turn(ing) every American into a fundamentalist bigot." Their agenda is quite obvious, and quite odious.
posted by JParker at 11:12 PM on October 10, 2001

49% of respondents said they would vote for an atheist candidate

As much as I'd like to believe this is true, I feel its one of those questions on a poll where people give the "right" answer as opposed to a real one. I don't think any candidate who said "I do not believe in God (or "a God") would get any more than 5% of the vote (nationwide, maybe a little higher on the coasts but not by much).
posted by owillis at 11:40 PM on October 10, 2001

Silly me, I thought men were America's largest minority.

Wow, not only are we (or men, as appropriate) the largest minority, we're (or they're, op cit) the largest majority.
posted by kirkaracha at 1:08 AM on October 11, 2001

It never occurred to me that I could also parlay my lack of faith into outright martyrdom. Cooooool.

Hahahahaha. Dong, I've been laughing at that all morning!
posted by gd779 at 6:08 AM on October 11, 2001

kirkaracha - Granted, I'm woozy from being sick, but damn if I can figure out what the hell you're trying to say. The truth is that in America women outnumber men by something like .2%, making men the largest minority in America.
posted by NortonDC at 6:33 AM on October 11, 2001

As a non-believer, I find it rather funny that some non-believers think they need to have an organization. "Let's unite in our non-worship!" Especially ironic given that organized religion is one of the main beefs that a lot of non-believers have with the believers.

Organized Non-Religion. argh
posted by yesster at 7:06 AM on October 11, 2001

The fact that only 49% of the people would vote for an atheist candidate doesn't say anything about actual beliefs... it just says that 51% of the American public is closed-minded. Which is hardly a surprise :)
posted by Foosnark at 8:44 AM on October 11, 2001

we non-believers should get together every sunday morning and sing anthems of humanism. tie optional.

Holy Church of Disbelief, St. Darwins, Secular Alcove of Peaceful Irony....something. The Temple of Nod?

i'm not fond of people claiming me as a member of their group just because they think i non-believe just as they do.
[back off anarchists, and worshippers of individualism...same to you....can't you just feel the rebelness oozing out of me? and here i am in kenneth cole pants.]
posted by th3ph17 at 11:09 AM on October 11, 2001


A governor up in Minnesota managed to win despite outright atheism, and win easily. So I don't think it's impossible. Though it would be difficult. I think a good candidate, no matter what, could win: Even the Southerners said in the polls that they'd support the African-American Colin Powell should he have run.
posted by Kevs at 12:30 AM on October 12, 2001

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