Skip to comments.The ‘nones’ say 2012 election proves they are a political force
Posted on 11/10/2012 12:31:09 PM PST by NYer
(RNS) Last month, Lauren Anderson Youngblood, communications manager for the Secular Coalition for America, approached Broderick Johnson, a senior adviser to the Obama campaign, as they both left a conference on religion and the election.
The SCA is an umbrella group representing 11 nontheistic organizations. So who, Youngblood asked Johnson, could she reach out to with their concerns about civil rights, access to health care and education?
“He said, ‘We don’t view you as a constituency,’” Youngblood said. “He said, ‘We don’t do outreach to that community.’”
After Tuesday's election, that may soon change. According to a Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life study released last month (October), “nones” -- those who say they have no religious affiliation or do not believe in God -- are the fastest-growing faith group in America, at 20 percent of the population, or 46 million adults.
In addition, nationwide exit polls conducted Tuesday show that "nones" made up 12 percent of all voters -- more than the combined number of voters who are Jewish, Muslim or members of other non-Christian faiths (9 percent), and only slightly smaller than the combined number of Hispanic Catholics and Black Protestants (14 percent).
The nones also skewed heavily Democratic, 70 to 26 percent.
All of this, Youngblood said, means political parties need to pay them more attention in the coming years.
“The numbers don't lie,” she said in an email after the exit polls came in. “They are an indicator of our untapped potential and politicians who want our vote need to focus on making decisions as lawmakers with reason and science, not theology. They need to tone down the religious rhetoric and when they do mention religious groups, mention us too, because we too are constituents and Americans and we deserve inclusion in our government.”
The Obama campaign did not respond immediately with a comment.
Neither party seemed to pay much attention to the nones in this election. In the Republican primary, all the candidates repeatedly spoke of their religious beliefs, and the Republican National Convention was rife with talk about God -- something nones and other Americans want less of in politics, according to surveys.
The Democrats seemed to ignore the nones as well. Many nontheistic and secular groups protested the Democratic National Convention’s last-minute inclusion of the word “God” in the party platform, and a local chapter of American Atheists protested outside the convention center in Charlotte, N.C.
Indeed, reaching out to nones may be a problem for both parties in the future. In analyzing voting data about nones, political scientist Juhem Navarro-Rivera wrote on Public Religion Research Institute's website about the difficulty the Democrats will face trying to reconcile conflicting segments of their base, like black Protestants and the nones.
Their “positions on social issues,” like same-sex marriage and abortion, he wrote, “are sometimes at odds.”
Nor will it be easy for Republicans. There has already been plenty of talk about how they must work to attract a more diverse range of voters. A 38-year-old man who blogs under the pseudonym Heathen Republican said abandoning religious rhetoric will help attract more nones.
“By using faith-based arguments, religious conservatives actually hinder the conservative movement,” he said in an email, asking to remain anonymous for professional reasons. “They create obstacles where there don't need to be any, and they make it harder for the non-religious voter to take the Republican Party seriously. Non-faith-based conservative arguments will appeal to religious voters and non-religious voters. Faith-based conservative arguments will make non-religious voters tune out.”
Meanwhile, nontheistic and secular groups are celebrating the election results. Many see their muscle behind state victories for same-sex marriage -- a pillar of their civil rights agenda -- and especially in the defeat of Florida’s Amendment 8, which would have channelled taxpayer money to religious schools, and which many of these groups opposed as a violation of the separation of church and state.
Some nontheistic groups have already moved to make their wants known. On Wednesday (Nov. 7), the American Humanist Association sent all newly elected members of Congress a request “not to join the Congressional Prayer Caucus and to actively work to ensure that the wall of separation between church and state is strengthened and maintained.”
Writing on the AHA’s website Wednesday, Matthew Bulger, the AHA’s legislative associate, likened the nones’ current political position to that of gays and lesbians a decade or more ago -- poised to be a voting bloc candidates ignore at their peril.
“It may take another election of two before we are truly able to make our political mark,” he wrote, “but have no doubt that day is coming.”
All that will happen next is their fault.
These n_nz think they are too...
The League of Militant Atheists AKA
Union of Belligerent Atheists
Society of the Godless
Union of the Godless
was an atheistic and antireligious organization of workers and intelligentsia that developed in Soviet Russia under the influence of the ideological and cultural views and policies of the Communist Party in 19251947.
So does this mean the GOP must pander to them too?
Looks like a great opportunity for evangelization to me!
So many groups to pander to, so little time. This is absurd.
Such sick radical egalitarians! She should know that nuns who worship Marx can never believe in God—much less Jesus Christ.
Her warped “thinking” dehumanizes men and women-—to where there is no difference —which is the Big Lie of Marx-—along with his hammer to force men into women into men-—and to destroy any image of a Designer of Human Nature.
She is SO STUPID!!!!! and SO post-Vatican II. We need to return to the true Catholic Faith.
... led by Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of the Roman Catholic Social Justice Organization NETWORK. She delivered a speech at the 2012 DNC.
These are amongst the most anti-catholic Catholics in the US. We pray for their conversion of heart.
I seem to recall that God got booed three times at the Rat convention. That was apparently obvious enough to the atheists who was on their side.
PROOF ,,,, A HABIT IS A HARD THING TO KICK !!!!!
Well we can’t just let the post op, transsexual, lesbian, cross dressing, Vegan, Buddhist, Eskimo, little people vote go to Obama.
A lot of these are your Ron Paul Liberty Movement voters.
Yes, you need to pander to them, but know what appeals to them. Paul can appeal to them. Evangelicals can't.
Most of these people are pretty militant; they won't accept an overly religious approach, but they will listen to the sweet siren call of Liberty and First Amendment because it allows them to be as they are.
Remember how Obama did it: Microtargeting a specific message to specific groups and fluff for mass consumption.
I don’t really care who they are or what they want. The GOP will never win the pander game because the democrats will always offer more to appeal to whatever selfish desire any particular group wants.
Bingo! It turns into a competition which the democrats will ALWAYS WIN because they are backed by the mainstream media. Rush Limbaugh devoted two days to that argument, this week.
RUSH: Mitt Romney is everything about this country Obama despises. Everything. He's too normal. He's too rich. He violates the Obama way to get things done, sort of like Clarence Thomas is despised by the Reverend Jackson and Al Sharpton. You know why? Because Clarence Thomas has become the most powerful in his position, he is the most eminently qualified for what he does, and he got there without going through the traditional prescriptions said to be necessary for African-Americans by the civil rights coalition.
The "nones" care about their right to not practice a religion and not have a religion legislated on top of them.
That's pretty much all they care about.
Now think about how I know this. I'll give you a hint: Born and raised Catholic, haven't been to a service in 20 years. Not likely ever to go back and not interested in being persuaded to try anything else.
Allahpundit as well is a "none". There are lots of us out there who would like to remain part of the fold. Most of them who are part of the fold, like me, understand certain realities and that there are things that can happen and things that cannot happen.
This needs to be explained to the "nones" groups by internal party operators.
Just yesterday the de-facto DREAM act illegals protested in Michigan because the secretary of state (Ruth Johnson) won’t give them driver’s licenses.
Johnson dumped it right back in Obama’s lap and told them that Obama had created the legal/non legal limbo they’re in and that they should take it up with him because its not her problem.
This game can be won in ten minutes.
Here is how you do it.
These guys care about two things - not being insulted and not having someone's religion crammed down their throat.
Seriously, that's about all they care about.
To win them, you take a part of the Standard Party Line and give it to them. This is what you tell them:
"We will defend to the death the First Amendment and your right to practice the religion of your choice or none at all."
Then you simply mention "those with no faith" in politicians' speeches. Just mention them. They'll flip out and be all smiles. Bush did exactly that. They completely freaked out and thought it was fantastic.
The only other thing you tell them is this:
"We are the party of smaller government. I'm sure you recognize, as do we, that as Government gets larger, the more things it regulates, and the more it reduces your freedoms and the ability to keep things at bay. We want to make sure you retain your rights, but the only way to do that is to shrink the size of the Government. Ask the Japanese during WWII how well 'Big Government' served them."
Quote to them that "A government large enough to give you everything you want is also large enough to take everything away from you" and add to that, "That includes throwing you in camps and forcing you into a church".
This one is a slam-dunk. It is amazing nobody can figure this one out.
Just for kicks.
Exactly who is it that’s cramming religion down their throats?
While I am a religious person I do not disagree that there needs to be a much better outreach to these voters. Some of your ideas are not bad ideas.
Thanks to Obama there will be no economic opportunity. None.
“Yes, you need to pander to them, but know what appeals to them. Paul can appeal to them. Evangelicals can’t. “
That’s funny because even we wouldn’t dare to write what he wrote in his newsletters.
” The “nones” care about their right to not practice a religion and not have a religion legislated on top of them.
That’s pretty much all they care about. “
Nope. Maybe that used to be the case bu not anymore. The new atheists are hateful anti-religionists and want the free practice of it to be abolished.
Do you mean, by this, no interference with the abortion license and mandatory recognition of homosexual "marriages," or do you mean something else?
If you mean something else, could you give a specific example of what you mean?
Some are, most aren't.
Put it this way ... I'll freely admit that I am no practitioner of anything. I will not disclose why.
However, I am a vicious supporter of the First Amendment and have gone to task with others of no faith blasting them for trying to repeal it. I will defend the right of others to practice their faith to my dying breath.
Does that sound like a "new atheist" to you? There are plenty like that out there. Why is there no effort to pick off those people and bring them into the fold?
At the risk of sounding cynical, abortion will simply never be overturned despite efforts to do so. It hasn't happened in 40 years. The demographics are now such that it just is not going to happen. Let's put it this way; churches are closing and kids are bailing out left and right. The multiple sex scandals and abuse cases within ALL denominations aren't helping.
Within another 20 years, the number of non-religious will be huge. Gigantic. Dwarfing Evangelicals. Where I live, this is the #1 non-religious state at about 30%. Not surprisingly, its blue. I do not like it being blue.
As for same-sex marriage, I've had that argument with various people as well including describing what works, what doesn't work, and all that. Quite simply, nobody really has an issue with 'civil unions' or ensuring that people can have someone at the hospital for them. Basic recognition that someone can have someone to speak for them. The issue in that is the word "marriage" and the insinuation that there could be a requirement for Churches to perform such things.
Its a fight. If you take the position with some of these folks that Churches should be left alone and not forced to do things, you get some push-back but there has not been an argument with a militant anti-theist on that issue I've had yet where I didn't win it on the basis of basic liberty.
That's about how it is. Its sad, but its true.
You just told me that you think abortion and homosexual “marriage” are inevitable features of our society, but you did not give me an example of what you mean by “religion forced down your throat,” if you did not, by that, mean restriction of abortion and non-recognition of novel forms of “marriage.”
You say that you are representative of a particular class of voters, but you’re not being clear about what your driving issues are. If it is abortion and homosexuality, please say so. If not, can you explain what issues cause your group to choose a Marxist who is trashing the economy and inviting increased Moslem terrorism over ... that other guy, who wasn’t quite so bad, economy-destruction-wise.
I'll take on all three and give you my personal take and then that of others I've engaged in heated debates with.
Take a look at this chart:
Most non-religious people fall into the "some restrictions" and "no restrictions" category. In engaging with others, I've discovered that you can move the "no restrictions" to the "some restrictions" category. In particular, I use Gendercide as an example and point them to this website where they come away aghast.
My own personal position is that abortion has been legal for about 40 years. It is entrenched. Playing "all or none" hasn't worked. However, people can be moved to accept reasonable restrictions like the one I've shown above.
Non-religious people are big into civil liberties if nobody has noticed. That's why they have these groups.
My own personal take is that the extreme position that even involves letting the mother die is not one I can support. Put me in the Ann Coulter camp as regards abortion.
As for same-sex marriage, when you boil it all down and you talk to these folks, what they really care about are very simple things. Don't discriminate against the gays. If what they are doing doesn't harm anyone but themselves, let them be. Let them have someone in the hospital with them. Let them write a will and leave their worldly goods to their partner.
Basic civil rights and liberty stuff. Things everyone no matter who they are should have a right to.
Me? I support civil unions. I don't like redefining the word marriage. I'm the 30% minority of the non-religious, meaning I'm basically on YOUR SIDE in this matter.
You say that you are representative of a particular class of voters, but youre not being clear about what your driving issues are.
I said I am part of that group. I did NOT say I am representative of the average non-religious person on the street. There is no such thing. This group is the same as every other group; you find all kinds. There are blacks, whites, asians, hispanics, males, females, liberals, and conservatives.
Its just that there tend to be more liberals in that group because they feel beset upon. There is truth in that and I can explain that in detail if you are willing to listen. I can even give examples of things I have had to deal with myself.
But, and this is for the record, don't assume that because someone does not practice a religion that they know nothing about it. I've written sermons for friends on the Greatest Commandment and the Golden Rule, both of which came from personal experience in having to teach that to Christians who have no clue that the Greatest Commandment has a prerequisite and the Golden Rule works faithfully in reverse.
If not, can you explain what issues cause your group to choose a Marxist who is trashing the economy and inviting increased Moslem terrorism over ... that other guy, who wasnt quite so bad, economy-destruction-wise.
Since I voted a straight-R ticket, you've made an assumption about me that is unwarranted.
Primarily, people voted against Romney because of his gaffes, his throwing women under the bus with an extreme position against abortion - and let me add that taking such a position has now been a failure for 40 years - and throwing gays under the bus.
In short, trashing people and talking smack about them doesn't convince them to vote for your candidate. However, if you engage these people and treat them as people, you will be surprised.
I've gotten quite a few to back down off of an extreme liberal position and had them consider Barry Goldwater.
If they will consider Barry Goldwater, who makes Mitt Romney look like a flaming liberal, then what else can they be convinced of? Therein lies the challenge. I do this stuff on a daily basis. Goldwater is a hero of mine.
It seems that what you are saying is that the group with no religious affiliation, by and large, yourself being an exception, makes voting decisions based on abortion, homosexuality, and the general sense that a religious candidate or a position based in traditional morality embodies disapproval, and is therefore, as the young like to say, “Mean.” (This is how I understand your phrases “trash-talking” and “talking smack.” You may explain if this old lady has misunderstood ;-).
You have not mentioned any other way in which a religious candidate or position is a threat to these voters’ liberty or economic condition.
It seems to me to mean that all other interest groups should be allowed to voice their positions based on their driving interest, whatever it may be, but Christian conservatives doing the same is “cramming religion down people’s throats”.
The group responsible for this and other attempts at legislating morality destroyed the terms "Evangelical" and "Conservative" on the west coast entirely and ensured a generation of Democrat voters.
Its not just "mean". These people were vicious. Their last gasp was to try to make homosexuality a crime punishable by jail time. It failed. Their actions caused the creation of a number of Gay Rights groups who persist to this day. They created an enemy for themselves. That enemy went on to win victory after victory. These constant attempts at legislating morality changed a state from red to blue.
Does this start making more sense now? The State where this took place has about 30% of its population in the "no religion" category and has always had the highest number of "no religion" people. What did the group sponsoring this legislation use as its reason for it? Bible verses mostly. Using religion directly as a basis for legislation turns these people off. Other means of persuasion are required.
Right now, the two fastest growing faith groups in the United States are Muslims and "no religion" with "no religion" far exceeding the growth of Muslims.
That's why I mention demography. Religion is something for older people. The kids are either leaving it or having no part of it in the first place.
My own personal suggestion is a more liberty-oriented approach like the one Barry Goldwater used. That seems to raise eyebrows among both the non-religious and a large number of liberals. I've had quite a bit of success talking up Goldwater in the middle of a deep blue sea.
There are other examples I can throw out, but let's start with this. I can move on to how a lot of non-religious people are mocked, discriminated against, and such. Heck, I can even give examples of Protestants flatting tires in Catholic Church parking lots.
Your first example is not relevant to any liberty interest, because it deals with the actions of government entities. Ideally, we would not have most of the government entities, starting with government schools.
Your second example related to obscenity and pornography statutes, including child pornography. This has historically been an area for legislation, and the fact that we have interest groups opposing any limitations on pornography does not mean it should not be an area for legislation.
I have yet to see anything in your posts, well-organized as they are, to indicate that the agenda of the “none” group comes down to anything but unlimited abortion, promotion of homosexuality, and (as “mrsmel” mentioned), “If your values are in opposition to mine, you’re a hater!!!”
I’m not disputing that this faction exists, but accommodating them doesn’t seem to me to be a legitimate interest of conservatism. If it comes down to it, the Republic will fall, and the “nones” can take their chances with Mexicans and Moslems. They might get their free abortions, since Moslems don’t care if infidels kill their offspring, but the public homosexuality is going to be a problem.
That is because you're stuck there and keep bashing away at it and will not get out of there.
Seems your mind is made up already and the record is skipping, always coming back to one thing.
Let me know when you can get away from abortion and gays and maybe we can talk about how you get a message to people.
But if you're going to be single-track like this, then trust me, you won't be able to talk to them and as they grow in number, you'll wonder why you keep losing.
I'd prefer to run a conservative candidate and actually win, thank you.
It appears we profoundly disagree on key points. Life is like that sometimes, no hard feelings.
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