Friday, November 14, 2008

fivethirtyeight.com: McCain's Atheist Problem

I will be making the case repeatedly on this blog that for convinced atheists, our atheism is no longer a philosophical question, but a political one. Once you decide you don't believe in ghosts, you're done worrying about it, right? Sure, as long as you don't live in a country where the President justifies wars by saying he talked to Casper. Unfortunately we do, and consequently, we have to organize and take action. Fortunately the Bush administration seems to have woken Americans from our dogmatic slumber - both atheists, and non-atheists who we should recognize as allies, because they recognize the necessity for separation of church and state as outlined by the revived writings of our founders.

Fivethirtyeight.com is a blog written by a former baseball odds-maker who used his analytical methods on the 2008 Presidential election (to great success). The site has a great article called "McCain's Atheist Problem". Guess what? We're a voting bloc! This is a widely-read blog whose writer has been interviewed repeatedly in the mainstream press, and the fact that a political blog with no afiliation with atheists would mention us factually is a good sign. If you could tell a politician "By taking position X, you will alienate 13% of your constituents," then s/he would be less likely to do it. Losing 13% of the vote is close to political suicide.

In point of fact, there are atheist Republicans and conservatives - admittedly an endangered species, which approached extinction the day Sarah Palin was nominated for VP. In fact, I also have a political blog, which was pro-McCain until the day of the nomination. In keeping with my philosophy, I was trying to drag the GOP back from the clutches of the Religious Right (and I still am). That should be something all atheists are for, no matter where on the political spectrum you are. I realize that conservative atheists are in the minority, but wouldn't you rather have two secular major parties? I would much rather disagree with a political decision after a debate on the facts and figures and consequences of policy, rather than what a certain chapter of Leviticus means.

My recommendations:

- Organize. Get involved in an atheist group, and focus on political activism and positive public exposure. There are a lot of us. Check out the community resources on the right side of this blog (you may have to scroll up).

- Hypocritical appeal to younger atheists: please, not another blog! Make videos! (We need young, good-looking atheists - I bet this gal has deverted more people than Hitchens and Dawkins together (sorry Chris and Richard!). I'm not kidding. Hey, this technique works for Mormons.

- Have no qualms about allowing your convictions as an atheist influence your vote. They influenced mine (click on this; remarkable Obama speech).

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