From Not My God

I don’t often hear from atheists who are politically/socially conservative. I know they’re out there, albeit probably much fewer than their more liberal counterparts. I’ve heard at least one atheist say that he’s a truck driver, voted for Bush twice, etc., and no one would guess that he’s an atheist. True, I wouldn’t have.

I’m a liberal myself, although it does disconcert me to a degree that I agree with conservatives on a few issues. (Affirmative action, for example. What’s up with that?!) There are many different kinds of conservatives out there– not all of them the bible-thumping, abstinence-only sex ed promoting, NASCAR-loving, Franklin Mint buying, Republican rednecks I’ve grown to know and loathe. Emphasis on the bible-thumping here.

My guess is that conservative atheists being more prominent would counter the dislike many religiosi have of atheists as elitist, ivory-tower, Ivy League eggheads, since conservatives, even when they’re Ivy educated, are rarely disparaged like that. I’m a little skeptical of the term “elitist.” In the case of Obama’s campaign, for example, “elitist” was simply a disparaging way of saying “smart and educated.” To quote Homer Simpson, “Phthth, eggheads, what do they know?”

Let me hear from you conservatives. Probably, you’re mostly libertarians, but maybe a lot of you are rednecks (and proud of it!), and I don’t mean that in a way that’s necessarily degrading. I’m a comedian and a huge fan of my colleague Jeff Foxworthy and his like. Point is, libertarian atheists are already prominent– but what about the latter: the social conservatives?

I found this site, The Atheist Conservative, which had little to say about atheism and was more a rant on Obama. It made relevant points, but its endorsement of Ann Coulter made me say, “Done!”

There are other sites for conservative atheists. The socially conservative ones had a negative stance on abortion, for example. I personally think abortion should be safe and legal, but the point is I’m particularly interested in the atheists who oppose it and similar platforms.

I want to hear from you, guys! Tell me about yourselves a little. I promise not to be a stereotypical latte-slurping, laptop-toting, Obama-hugging, Prius-driving, NPR-listening (uh, I’m not sure where to stop with this)– well, just write in and say hi.

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Comment by Sarah Trachtenberg on January 26, 2010 at 12:56pm
Thanks, guys. I'll check your posts on this site that you mentioned.
Libertarians, or as I call them, "Republican Lites," are already prominent in atheism/skepticism: Penn and Teller and Michael Shermer come immediately to mind. (Yes, I'm a little down on libertarians. They voted for Sarah Palin, for fuck's sake. They only seem to vote with their wallets. Sorry, guys.)
Point is, what about the conservative atheists who are socially conservative, as in not libertarians?
I know that there is a lot of grey and right or left is overly simple, but I'm interested in the right-wing crowd in this particular post. I'm in somewhat of a grey area myself, but so is nearly everyone. If I were a 7 on the liberal Kinsey scale, I would be Noam Chomsky's groupie and I would advocate things like, "Let's get rid of currency!"
Comment by Turtle Poser on January 22, 2010 at 12:47am
I'm fairly liberal, but I do have friends who are atheist libertarians. Hmm, when you think of it the word liberal & libertarian have similar roots. We always perceive libertarians to be on the more "conservative" bend, but it ain't necessarily so.
Comment by Sonny Mobley on January 21, 2010 at 6:01pm
I hold quite a few 'conservative' political views just as I hold quite a few 'liberal' views. And I hold views that can't be considered as either.
Over in Mississippi I know a few older professional's from a meetup I attend who are atheist and conservative. One of them in particular keeps it to himself for fear of losing business and standing among his conservative friends and business associates who are stereotypically religious. I wouldn't be surprised if that was somewhat commonplace as a reason for it seeming as if there are few righty-swinging non-theist's. However, on the wonderful World Wide Web the non-theist's on a whole have seemed extremely varied in there positions - political and other. And I've observed quite a number of conservative-leaning individuals on the nexus and elsewhere.
Comment by ryan cameron on January 21, 2010 at 4:25pm
I certainly swing conservative on a lot of points, at least in my initial reactions, but think the world has become far more complex than the left or right ideologies can comprehend much less comment on intelligently.

I imagine that Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, George Bush Sr. and Reagan are/were all atheists in "private". Atheism is the mindset of the educated and wealthy elite for the most part, and religion is the opiate of the masses. Atheist conservatives use religion as a means to an end, to keep the poor pacified and in check. Religion is cheaper than equality and socialism, and is really the only means to maintain a dictatorship. But, as a leader, you cant ever "literally believe" in the faith, because then you cant manipulate it and you effectively lose your power.

Lefties as Atheists tend to be, in my opinion, more idealistic than that, they believe people are generally good and left to their own will generally do the right thing, and dont necessarily need religion or any other tool of oppression to keep them from killing each other. So when they get into positions of power, they tend to try to keep their ideals and integrity and when faced with the specter of having to do something unethical to maintain power ("for the greater good?") they either cave like Ted Kennedy did and kind of become a shell of their former selves, or politically commit suicide, so that.s usually why the conservatives come back into power, no one likes them but they fill the vacuum.

I think deep down we all know this, but it is depressing to think about. The one thing I take hope in is natural selection always favors diversity, wealth distribution, and creativity. So, ultimately we do advance, but our political and sociological systems are certainly counter acting forces and sometimes cause the "delays" in our evolution.

For my part, I figure smiling at people whenever you have the opportunity, helping others, and trying to have a career that makes the world a better place can help bring meaning individually.
Comment by greyfoot on January 21, 2010 at 12:05pm

I love your clear and erudite open-mindedness, Sarah. I use the term often (some might say too often), but IDEOLOGUES exist in every paradigm. The exceedingly rare rationalist rolls his/her eyes at ideological zealots who froth at the mouth when anyone questions their philosophy. It's good to see that you're a true rationalist yourself. My own thoughts on partisanship and ideology are in my own posts, so, if you're interested, check them out. If not, then suffice to say that I'm of the "It's Not That Simple" crowd.


A number of conservatives speak out here regularly. Are they a minority? Certainly. Point is, even though the climate to this site is overwhelmingly left-wing liberal, it still provides an open and free-thinking forum which conservatives--or ANYONE--can utilize. Am I biased in saying that the reason has to do with a secular mindset? Probably. But what the hell, right?

Good post. Look forward to hearing more from you.




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