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I know of 3 instances where atheism was an 'issue' in the most recent 2008 election.

First, Pete Stark. He is the first openly atheist member of Congress in U.S. history. The revelation was met mostly with yawns when it happened. This most recent election was his first campaign since outing himself:

Election results
1992 Pete Stark 60.2%
1994 Pete Stark 64.62%
1996 Pete Stark 65.2%
1998 Pete Stark 71.2%
2000 Pete Stark 70.5%
2002 Pete Stark 71.1%
2004 Pete Stark 71.7%
2006 Pete Stark 74.9%
2008 Pete Stark 76.4%

(from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California%27s_13th_congression... and http://vote.sos.ca.gov/Returns/usrep/1359.htm )

No harm done - quite possibly, a net benefit, as this was his highest % ever.

Second, Kay Hagan. From August 26th up until the election Elizabeth Dole (an incumbent) launched attack after attack on Kay Hagan for attending an ActBlue fundraiser hosted by two board members of the Secular Coalition for America. Kay Hagan took her first lead in polls about the same time. (The polls were released after the press release but I think the data was collected before.) The attacks grew more and more aggressive, culminating in two TV ads, and Hagan's lead grew and grew.

In the November election, Hagan won by an unexpectedly wide margin, winning 53 percent of the vote to Dole's 44 percent—the largest margin of victory for a Senate race in North Carolina in 30 years, and the largest margin of defeat for an incumbent Senator in the 2008 cycle.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kay_Hagan
http://www.google.com/cse?cx=005197506859104669201%3A92y4ne8...

Third, Rob Sherman. I'm not sure if his status as an atheist activist helped or hurt him. He was running on the Green Party ticket for a state Assembly seat and got 3% of the vote. Someone with local political knowledge would have to tell me if this is more or less than you would expect for a Green party candidate in that area.
http://www.pioneerlocal.com/arlingtonheights/news/1261722,ah...

So: start letting the politicians know that seeking out non-religious voters and appealing to secular values is not only the right thing to do, it's in their own self-interest.
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So: start letting the politicians know that seeking out non-religious voters and appealing to secular values is not only the right thing to do, it's in their own self-interest.

I would expect this to be VERY dependent on region. In Utah they probably have a magic underwear inspection before voting for a candidate. :-|

I think the only way what you want can happen is if secularists form into an organization that makes its presence known (e.g. NOW, AARP, NRLC, NRA, etc). If we just sit in a corner and try not to be noticed, we won't be noticed.

1poorguy
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So: start letting the politicians know that seeking out non-religious voters and appealing to secular values is not only the right thing to do, it's in their own self-interest.

But it is the wrong thing to do. Your data do not show anyone campaigning on an "atheist" platform. Most folks would find that abhorrent. There is no evidence that it is a positive.

Montecfo
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Most folks would find that abhorrent.

Most? I guess that depends on your definition of "folks".

Draggon
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I think the only way what you want can happen is if secularists form into an organization that makes its presence known (e.g. NOW, AARP, NRLC, NRA, etc).

That's already been done via the SCA (Secular Coalition for America.) If you haven't already done so, at least sign up for their action alerts.

http://secular.org/
http://action.secular.org/signUp.jsp
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If you haven't already done so, at least sign up for their action alerts.

I'm always a little leery of that. I signed up for the NPCA a while back, and for a while my inbox was littered with emails from them. It seems to have slowed over the past year or so.

But you convinced me...I'll go back and sign-up. I can always unsubscribe if they open the flood-gates on me.

1poorguy
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Most? I guess that depends on your definition of "folks".

No, it is simple math. Overwhelmingly, Americans believe in God. This has been shown in study after study.

Now, if you define folks as "radical secularists for whom Atheism is their religion" then I agree, you might reach a different conclusion.

Montecfo
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Most? I guess that depends on your definition of "folks".

"Ignorant bigots"?

--FY
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But you convinced me...I'll go back and sign-up. I can always unsubscribe if they open the flood-gates on me.

I create filters for different political groups, company adverts, etc.

I have them automatically removed from the inbox (in gmail, create a filter to add a label and archive), but not marked as read.

That way I can peruse at my convenience and not miss the important stuff from family and friends.

For example: I have an "Obama" folder, for all of the e-mails about Obama, I have one called "OK Advertisements" from companies whose e-mails I want to get because they usually have good coupons (Borders) or prodcuts that really interest me (I'm a Levenger junkie). Another for a local veg group that mails a lot. One for the newsletters I get from several project management websites.

Not sure if you'll find that helpful, but I've found it unclutters my mailbox and allows me to take in the not-quite-spam at my own pace and not be resentful of it.

t.
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"Ignorant bigots"?

Good one. Extremism AND intolerance look nice on you.
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I can always unsubscribe if they open the flood-gates on me.


For those who are worried about how many action alerts they send out, here are the past ones:

http://www.secular.org/activism/archives/

2005 - 9
2006 - 18
2007 - 8
2008 - 8

So, figure about one a month on average.
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‘Godless’ ad drove support to Elizabeth Dole’s opponent

http://www.bostonherald.com/news/politics/2008/view/2008_11_...

It’s no surprise to Steve Lowe that being an atheist is considered taboo.

But when Lowe saw Sen. Elizabeth Dole’s "godless" campaign ad, he did something he’d done only once before - he sent money to a political candidate.

Turns out, Dole’s opponent Kay Hagan got 3,600 contributions within 48 hours of Dole airing of the controversial ad, which centered on Hagan’s attendance at a fundraiser at the Boston home of someone active in the atheist community...
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