(NPR) - The big demographic story out of the 2012 presidential election may have been President Obama’s domination of the Hispanic vote, and rightfully so.
But as we close the book on the election, it bears noting that another less obvious bloc of key swing state voters helped the president win a second term.
They’re the “nones” — that’s the Pew Research Center’s shorthand for the growing number of American voters who don’t have a specific religious affiliation. Some are agnostic, some atheist, but more than half define themselves as either “religious” or “spiritual but not religious,” Pew found in a recent survey.
They are typically younger, more socially liberal than their forebears, vote Democratic, and now make up nearly 20 percent of the country’s population. Exit polls suggest that 12 percent of voters on Election Day were counted as “religiously unaffiliated.”
“This really is a striking development in American politics,” says Gregory Smith of the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. “There’s no question that the religiously unaffiliated are a very important, politically consequential group.”
The religiously unaffiliated voters are almost as strongly Democratic as white evangelicals are Republican, polls show.
Rene and Anna Chouinard, who have three children, have been fighting with the board for more than two years to have an age-appropriate publication — Just Pretend: A Free Thought Book for Children and Losing Faith in Faith: From Preacher to Atheist — distributed to Grade 5 students.
The couple, who are humanists and follow a religion-free way of life, took their case to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario on Aug. 20 and were granted a hearing on the issue. While no date has yet been set for the proceeding, the tribunal allowed the Ontario Human Rights Commission and Canadian Civil Liberties Association to act as interveners in two-days of hearings.
The fight began after the Chouinards’ refused to sign a consent form for their daughter to distribute Gideon International Bibles at her school.
They then unsuccessfully sought to obtain permission to distribute Just Pretend, citing other groups should be allowed to have their publications distributed in Niagara schools as well.
“This is a solid decision by the tribunal that is good for society,” Rene said after being granted a hearing. “We would like to see religion completely removed from the classroom.”
He said the Niagara school board should focus on education and not religion or other issues.
The Chouinards alleged they were discriminated against “due to creed” and that no material from non-Christian religions were solicited or distributed in the district.
“If they allow Gideon Bibles in the schools, then why can’t other groups distribute their material as well,” he said on Tuesday. “This is not fair for people who may believe in other religions.”
He said Jews should be able to leave Torahs and Muslims their Koran in area schools.
It’s funny how as soon as other materials, besides Christian materials, are to be distributed that the school districts clam up and no longer say that they are simply distributing material based on who wants to distribute.
Funny indeed. Kind of like that Louisiana congressperson who flipped out and retracted support for school vouchers after they found out people can use them for Muslim, as well as Christian schools.
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam (R) will “probably” sign a bill meant to protect teachers who allow students to question and criticize “controversial” scientific theories such as evolution, he told reporters on Monday.
The measure, which has been dubbed the “monkey bill” by critics who claim it’s a backdoor approval of religious teachings in public schools, passed votes in the state Senate and House last month.
Haslam addressed these concerns Monday, saying that his discussions with the State Board of Education had led him to believe that the law wouldn’t affect the current public school curriculum with regards to evolution.
But doubts remain for opponents of the legislation who claim it will allow for a broader denial of other popular scientific debates in Tennessee schools.
“It would open the door to creationism, it would open the door to climate change denial, and to other sorts of pseudosciences being introduced into Tennessee classrooms,” Josh Rosenau of the National Center for Science Education told The Huffington Post last month.
“The concern is that this sends a signal to teachers that certain subjects are controversial — subjects that are not scientifically controversial — things that are subject to political controversy, perhaps, but that in the science classroom are not controversial and shouldn’t be treated that way.”
Critics have also charged that the bill harkens back to Tennessee’s anti-science history of the Scopes trial, the 1925 case that drew national publicity to the issue of teaching evolution in public schools.
“The idea behind this bill is that students should be encouraged to challenge current scientific thought and theory,” said Republican state Sen. Bo Watson, the measure’s sponsor.
Great! Encourage children to be skeptical. Encourage them to think using the newest scientific data and studies. But challenging science for the sake of religion is not educational, it’s dragging our students backwards.
In short, go fuck yourself Senator Watson.
Looks like Tennessee is going to be spending even more taxpayer money defending this in court in the near future.
I’ve made this blog because I’m super sick and tired of atheists being wrongly assumed to be horrible people void of all morals. The atheists I know are loving, compassionate, creative, genuinely AMAZING people who are out to make positive changes in this world.
Basically, what I want this blog to be, is a collection of photographs of atheists and agnostics. Let’s give the rest of the world THE FACES OF ATHEISM so they can stop making assumptions about us.
Please submit all photographs to: TheFacesOfAtheists@gmail.com, or using the Submit option on the blog.
With your photograph, you may include one, some, all, or none of the following:
-Your First Name
-What You Do (This can be your job, your hobby, if you volunteer, whatever!)
By Etc., I mean whatever you want. Whatever kind of information you want to include about yourself as long as it is positive. I’m open to ideas, as I’m just beginning this project, and I want it to be awesome.
This is a good idea people. I plan to follow through myself as soon as I can get a better picture. The misinformation about what an atheist is badly needs to be combated. Let’s show them the beauty of who we really are. ~ Steve
This sounds like an awesome idea. I will definitely be participating.
A bill in Alabama would allow churches or ministries to teach a religion class to public school students off campus, so long as parents and school boards give permission and the churches are responsible for transportation and any expenses.
State Rep. Blaine Galliher, a Republican, introduced the bill at the request of Joseph Kennedy, 84, who was fired in 1980 after he refused to stop reading the Bible or teaching creationism at a public school.
Under the plan, high school students could go off campus to study creationism and earn an elective credit. Kennedy said he wants to “give students good sound scientific reasons to support their faith in the seven-day creation.”
LOL Anyway, continuing the article…
But Thomas Berg, who teaches constitutional law at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis, said the elective credits could raise concerns about public school involvement in religious education.
“Anyone challenging it in court will argue the motivation for it was religious,” said Berg. “A court is probably going to look at that suspiciously. There is a certain suspicion in the courts of Alabama legislators trying to promote religion.”
Why don’t we just keep the religion in religious buildings and schooling in school buildings?
It’s much simpler that way, folks.
More Alabama today. What the fuck Alabama???
(Source: The Huffington Post)
"Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science."
— Charles Darwin - English naturalist who discovered the chief mechanism of evolution. Was studying for the clergy when he signed on as a naturalist aboard the government research ship H.M.S. Beagle. Become disillusioned during the course of his circumnavigation of the globe, and by age 40 was, in his own words, “a complete disbeliever in Christianity” and a professed agnostic. (via helvetebrann)
Police are investigating threats on social media directed at the 16-year-old atheist at the center of a legal battle over a prayer banner at her public high school in Rhode Island.
Cranston police Maj. Robert Ryan said Friday that authorities are questioning people who have threatened to harm Cranston High School West student Jessica Ahlquist.
A federal judge on Wednesday ordered the removal of a prayer banner at her school. The Rhode Island American Civil Liberties Union sued the city and School Committee last year over the prayer.
Ryan says investigators are focusing on five to 10 people, both minors and adults. He says most of the threats are from Cranston residents.
Ryan says police are increasing patrols around the school and Ahlquist’s home. He says Ahlquist stayed home from school on Friday.
People disgust me. Please help show Jessica our support for standing up for her Constitutional rights.
You can donate to a scholarship fund for Jessica to aid with future college expenses or simply voice your support.
(Source: Boston.com, via sageoflogic)
The British Humanist Association (BHA) has welcomed a new revision of the model funding agreement for Free Schools by the Government in order to preclude ‘the teaching, as an evidence-based view or theory, of any view or theory that is contrary to established scientific and/or historical evidence and explanations.’ This highly significant change has been made in order to ban creationism from being taught in Free Schools, and prevent creationist groups from opening schools. The change follows the BHA coordinating the ‘Teach evolution, not creationism!’ campaign, which called for this precise change.
In September, the BHA came together with thirty leading scientists and science educators including Sir David Attenborough, Professor Richard Dawkins and Professor Michael Reiss, and five national organisations to launch ‘Teach evolution, not creationism!’, which called on the government to introduce statutory guidance against the teaching of creationism and garnered significant press coverage. The BHA also launched a government e-petition making the same call, which has now garnered over 20,000 signatures.
In subsequent written correspondence with civil servants, the BHA stated that ‘Our concern is for the government to make absolutely clear that there is no chance it will ever accept [creationist Free School] bids, or allow any state-funded school to teach creationism as science, anywhere in the curriculum, and this is only possible through a change in the law… we would support any adjustment to the model funding agreement to add a statement [to this effect]… Could we request that the next time the [Free School] model funding agreement is reviewed, our desire for this point’s inclusion is considered?’
BHA Chief Executive Andrew Copson commented, ‘We congratulate the government for taking this significant step to prevent creationist Free Schools. There is still further work to be done to ensure that all schools, not just Free Schools, are prevented from teaching creationism, to include evolution in the primary National Curriculum, and to ensure evolution’s teaching in all schools. We look forward to working with the government and all those who care about rational and evidence based education to achieve these additional changes.’
Way to go UK!
I’d LOVE to see this happen in the US, but I have doubts it will. Fundamentalists would scream their heads off about how oppressive it was.