‘Atheist’ Is Not A Slur
We expect this regressive thinking from the Republican party, but for the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to still be treating “atheist” as a pejorative term in 2016 is downright depressing. (NYT 7.22.16) This is why atheists need to speak up, use the word casually in conversation, and normalize the concept. Because if we ever needed a new Age of Reason it is now.
This is particularly offensive in the political context of a presidential convention. Somebody please show the DNC a copy of the Constitution. Article VI states unequivocally “. . . no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”
Further, this is just stupid politics. The Dems may be alienating a growing demographic that is unlikely to find a home in the Republican tent. According to Pew Research not only are the religious “nones” growing as a share of the U.S. population, they are becoming more secular.
The “nones,” a category that includes people who self-identify as atheists or agnostics, as well as those who say their religion is “nothing in particular,” now make up 23% of U.S. adults, up from 16% in 2007.
Check out Gersh Kuntzman’s on point, and hilarious, take in the NY Daily News “DNC email effort to smear Bernie Sanders as an ‘atheist’ reveals the unholy truth of American political life.”
It’s 2016 — roughly 225 years after the nation ratified the Bill of Rights’ mandate against state-sponsored religion — and no one in public office will admit he or she is an atheist.
Imagine, almost 400 years ago it was our guy Roger Williams who founded Providence Plantations on the belief that everyone — heretics, atheists, infidels, everyone — had a right to liberty of conscience and that the civil authorities had no role to play in religion, declaring, “Forced worship stinks in the nostrils of God.”