Atheism is not a political liability among liberal voters, and one example of that played out in Tennessee, according to a new article on the website Friendly Atheist.
“Nontheistic, progressive Democrats in non-swing districts should no longer feel hesitant to be public about their religious identity,” the website reported.
“And while it still could be a challenging factor in swing districts, it’s no longer the taboo it once was.”
Friendly Atheist cited Gayle Jordan, who sought the District 14 Tennessee State Senate seat in 2016 — and lost.
“Even though she never brought up her atheism, she only received 26 percent of the vote. It’s not all that surprising; having ‘Democrat’ next to her name was likely enough to sink her candidacy,” the website said.
“That seat opened up last year and she ran in the special election. So you might think she’d want to be even more careful about offending potential voters. Instead, she made it clear she was an atheist, and her opponents attacked her for it. She lost again… however this time, she earned 28 percent of the votes. Her open atheism didn’t even seem to affect her, and that’s the point.”
The attacks, the website went on to say “appeared to have had no effect on the race, except to expose the leaders of the Tennessee Republican Party as appalling religious bigots.”
“I know the election results don’t sound all that encouraging, but for open atheists, they should be,” the website said.
“Being honest and public about your atheism is no longer political suicide among the voters you need on your side. If you’re going to lose, odds are it’ll be for other reasons. That’s a huge revelation to those of us who have long wanted to see more non-religious representation in the world of politics.”
A new poll by Lake Research Partners, on behalf of the American Humanist Association and the Center for Freethought Equality said “atheism isn’t a huge political liability, at least among people who support abortion and LGBTQ rights.”
“That’s important to note, especially for Democrats in red districts,” the website said.
“Instead of trying to change the minds of hard-core conservatives — keeping your atheism under wraps because it might be a deal-breaker for some — you’d be better off being honest and coming out as non-religious because it’ll inspire even more people to support you.”
The survey found 72 percent of liberal Democrats would vote for an atheist on the ballot. And 74 percent of them would support a more generic non-religious or agnostic candidate, the website reported.
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