Fascinating cover story in a recent print edition of the National Journal which I highly commend to all. It's entitled, "The Rise of the Godless" and it describes the increase in religiously unaffiliated and atheist Americans. According to the Journal:
The bloc of voters identifying themselves as religiously unaffiliated--which does not directly translate into nonbelievers but includes their ranks--has risen in every presidential election since 1988; from 5.3 percent that year to 12 percent in 2008. That 12 percent share amounts to 15 million voters--a bigger bloc than the Hispanic vote (9 percent)), the gay vote (4 percent), and the Jewish vote (2 percent), and just a notch smaller than the African-American vote (13 percent).
So the point of the article is that this bloc could be blithely ignored in the past, but that is no longer true. It also points out that organizing free-thinkers somewhat approximates herding sheep--it's very hard to do. But one group, the Secular Coalition for America, has set up meetings with half the members of the U.S. Senate and wants recognition for non-believers as part of the mainstream of American culture, not as a bunch of oddball members of a counterculture cult. Hooray!
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By Bonnie Erbe