this is truly AMAZING. for all the talk about who won the election for President Obama, the one demographic that might have made the biggest difference is....us! ok, not Atheists per se, but that growing part of the US population generally referred to as "the nones". consider this:
In the swing states, where the president lost the Catholic and Protestant vote, Obama won a huge margin of "the nones." Nationally, he lost Protestants by 15 points and barely won Catholics by 2 points. 70 percent of the "nones" voted to re-elect the president.
70% of those unaffiliated with religion went for Obama. yet from what i can gather almost no one is mentioning this. the "nones" make up about 20% of the US population, which is greater than Hispanics or Blacks (although there is certainly some overlap). many in the non-believer communities have ventured that we are an untapped voter block that could wield tremendous electoral influence. well, the data is in, and we are in fact a force to be reckoned with.
the question is, will we ever be courted? typically electoral sway has resulted in political power. Hispanics are a desired voting block so Hispanic outreach is mandatory, as well as offering political office to such a demographic. who will reach out to the "nones"? where is the solicitation of public office from this group? all i hear are crickets.
to me, this is the next logical step to take Atheism, secularism, non-belief, humanism, whatever you want to call it, to the next level. if we ever want to be considered on par with the religious we need public voices. we need politicians to come to us and ask us what's important. we have power - we just need to figure out how to use it.
That works out well for everyone...except the chicken.
Not necessarily an atheist issue though.
The realization of power by block voting came to me 57 years ago when I was a freshman in college living in a large dorm of 150+ women. Twelve of us got together to decide who we wanted for our dorm officers. Of course we 12 were the hoped for winners. We all agreed who we wanted for each office and when the election ended, all 12 of us were in office elected to the positions we wanted and none of the other candidates came even close. The power of block voting revealed!
I didn't leave my religious life easily or willingly, I was driven out. Caught in the clutches of domestic violence, as was my mother, we turned to our church/religious communities for guidance and experiences what I now call "mindbinding". We were bound by the traditions and values of a community that placed women and children under the boot of men, we had few choices even in unhealthy and brutal conditions. The "Passive Gospel" spells death for those who do not fit the criteria of white, dominant males. The day came when I had enough and damned god, jesus, and religion and risking burning for eternity in hell; I chose to take control of my life and provide a safe, secure, stable environment for our children to grow, away from the humiliations and violence to which we had become accustomed.
It is with great self-respect and pride I can stand tall, confident, and state that I am an atheist and I will do all I can to free other women and children from the tyranny of religious dogma.
Now that we are in the 21st century, facing formidable challenges with economic turmoil, political fighting, religious tyranny raising its awful head all around the Earth, and with climate change and declining access to potable water, and the many other factors coming together at this time, it takes all the examination, exploration, experimentation, one can muster.
Science and technology has some of the answers to these problems, but the underlying thing that drags us all down is the notion of dependency on a god who does not exist, to belief systems that only add to the violence, to faiths that keep us bound to Bronze Age thinking when what we need is the inquiring mind.
Ditto on that!
Melinda, controlling men and women are pains, yet it was the only thing I knew until 1974. July 1, 1974 I bought my condemned building and turned it into a place where cabbages, cats and kids could grow and develop according to their internal compasses.
For years I questioned if I had done the right thing because life was so terribly hard and I wasn't really sure what I needed to do to make this a safe, secure, stable home. I had done lots of reading before I left and I had taught my children many interpersonal skills and those skills have come in handy for them over these years. They bring me great pride and joy in the ways they are conducting their lives.
Doubts no longer remain. I made the right choices, I took healthy options, I learned many new skills other than self-defense, such as self-expression and being able to hear my children's expressions of themselves. We learned to work through conflict and how to solve complex problems. We developed stress management skills and how to control anger.
I have never been happier than I am right now. Oh, a few screws loose in my head and stiff joints but every single day is a pure treasure. My heart surgery helped me realize how precious seeing life is when I open my eyes and when I close my eye, renewing sleep occurs.
Being born, living and dying are all part of nature's pattern and I am participating in the greatest experience possible. Upon death my body returns to dust and will be part of Earth, then the dust of stars and I am ready whenever. It is a splendid life.
I second Melinda's observation. It's an honor to know you Joan! You are an inspiration and an example. And there is no question, whatsoever, in my mind that you made the right decisions and made life so much better for your children and for you.