After you have joined an organization, here the fictional XYZ Society, do you tell your friends:

1. I have joined XYZ.

2. I'm an XYZ member.

3. I belong to XYZ.

4. Other.

From Wikipedia: When discussing social groups, a group is said to be in a state of cohesion when its members possess bonds linking them to one another and to the group as a whole. Although cohesion is a multi-faceted process, it can be broken down into four main components: social relations, task relations, perceived unity, and emotions. Members of strongly cohesive groups are more inclined to participate readily and to stay with the group.

From an online etymology: cohere -- 1590s, from Latin cohaerere "to cleave together"

American courts, to avoid attacks by xians, treat those two words in the Pledge of Allegiance, and other words on coins and paper money, as expressions of a civil religion, or nationalism.

Seneca, that wise ancient Roman, said rulers use religion. Politicians pander, so religion has long been used by American politicians.

Historian Kevin Kruse's recently published One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America tells of religion's use since the 1930's Depression to protect capitalism. President Eisenhower promoted religion heavily. The Republican far right soon started expelling moderates.

In our time, Republican candidates for national office have long used religion to win believers' votes. Once in office, those national Republicans have all but ignored xians. President Reagan, without first counting them, invited xians to join the Party and they took over many state Republican parties.

Democratic candidates, even religious Dems like Jimmy Carter, largely ignored religion. Today's Dems are awakening to the obvious and Hillary has begun using it.

But, returning to the personal, are you a member of organizations you join, or do you belong to them?

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Oops, I forgot; atheists don't join anything.

I might have a sense of belonging in an organization, but I don't belong to it.

Libertarian atheists don't tend to join organizations, though we can be pretty vocal as individuals.

Tom, yesterday afternoon, I was treated to an unapologetic wake-up call in the person of Kevin Kruse himself, who lectured our Freedom From Religion Foundation convention on the very topic of the book you cited.  That 45-minute talk was, to put it at its mildest, startling to me, and I wonder how many of us have any appreciation of just WHERE "In God We Trust" came from or what the other products of the cabal between corporation and church have been.

Tom, I'm a Libertarian atheist although I seldom vote within that party. In my lifetime I've been a member of both our major parties, but I'm not impressed today. In all of the political clamour going on now I was recently asked what I thought and who I would vote for. Maybe I cohere lightly. My answer was "none of the above."

That basically describes me as well. Frequently voting third party is a way of actually casting a 'none of the above' vote where it shows up on the numbers (as opposed to staying home which does not show up).

I'm not really much of a joiner in any case, and my associates tend to be of varied backgrounds. 

I'm a humanist.  That is a large part of who I am.  I also belong to the American Humanist Association, and to the Humanist Society of New Mexico, of which  I was president for six years.  It's important to me, but being a humanist means far more.  I am very fortunate that much of my family -- one of four children and five of seven grandchildren -- are some variation on humanist.  The rest, Christians, are various degrees of accepting.  I also belong to the ACLU and Americans United for Separation of Church and State.  These are affiliations based on a common cause, but are a small part of my identity.  Oh, I'm also a Democrat, but I see this largely as trying to prevent a total Republican/corporate/fundamentalist Christian takeover of my country.  As a humanist I want what's best for everybody (which obviously requires compromises), whether they realize what's best or not.  I find no conflict in feeling superior to the Far Right, feeling that movement is comparable to a puppet show.




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