As most of you know, an over-whelming amount of Atheist are liberal, very few are conservative. In-fact, I am the only conservative Atheist I know of! Now do not generalize me with Republicans, I am actually a Libertarian, but if I had to choose between the two political parties to identify myself with, I would choose Republicans. This has many initial problems (mostly with the strong Christian morals and ignorances that Conservatives surround them-selves with), but it is still not enough for me to identify my-self as a Liberal. There are just too many economic issues (and enough social issues) that keep me from that. But here is my main issue.
I am trying to attach my support for a single Republican Candidate. I know (for my-self) that President Obama does not have my vote, Hillary is not running (so I can not vote for her as I wanted to), and I was previously a great fan of Herman Cain, but he recently quite his bid for the presidency. So I am having some trouble identifying with any of the other candidates. They are all just too "God this" and "God that" and talking about shifting education responsibility to the local state level, which is just asking for the teaching of intelligent design. Also, not voting is never an option, because I find it my duty as an American to vote. And I am not going to "waste" my vote on Libertarian Candidate. I know that kind of reasoning is not exactly set in logic, but please let it be.
As an Atheist, I can not support some-one so religious, yet I am going to have to choose one of them. My main question is: What issues would you focus on when selecting a president, and what would your limit be on how religious-minded a presidential candidate is? Also, general commentary on the relationship between religiousness and conservatism vs. liberalism would also be welcomed. And, if you had to choose a Republican Candidate, who would you choose and why?
I'm not American but here are two issues I would place far more importance on than religiousity:
1 - Free trade is not working out for the USA, your economy won't recover with your massive trade deficit, and it is merely financing the rise of China's military.
2 - Immigration/diversity will degenerate the USA into balkanised ethnic struggles.
Sadly, there are no candidates who can break from the ideological straight-jackets of free-trade and diversity.
The religiousity of candidates would not even be on my radar. Whatever constraints they might impose on us atheists can mostly be worked around. But you can't easily reverse demographic, economic and military decline.
Zach, I can relate this, and it frustrates me as well. I feel like I have to vote on the issues that are most important to me, which are: growing the economy by getting the government out of the way, and national security. As far as what would make me say "no way"-- well, take Rick Perry, for example and what he did this week. It's not that I was currently supporting him anyway, but...wow.
If I throw my support behind Newt, I'm going to have to ignore some remarks he made about religion and hope he doesn't make a complete ass of himself. As for Romney...what can you say? It's like he's a flip-flopping, moderate Mormon, and I don't know what to make of that. The way I see it, there are many more in this country like you and me and our viewpoints are underrepresented. Certainly, if the Republican Party wants to stay vital, they've got to tone down the ultra-conservative religious rhetoric, just as the Dems have the radical left-wing/ socialist side that gets all the negative attention. In my opinion, I think most Americans don't go for either extreme.
I guess you don't like Gary Johnson or Jon Huntsman? These are the last two I am looking at.
I think it's a shame that all we may have are Obama and likely Romney or Gingrich.
Also, you mention Christian "morals-" this is worthy of its own discussion, but I'm not going there.
Huntsman is obviously the best candidate imo, but will never get elected because he doesn't express his religiosity, and *GASP!* , he has even defended science in at least one debate.
He also makes the most sense and doesn't 'pander' to voters. Another reason why he won't get elected, but one can only hope....
I'll probably vote for Romney. Even though he has said some pretty freakish things, I think he's still overall a solid guy who really cares about getting this country working again.
I am a moderate Democrat - an individual who is to the left (but moderate levels) on 70-75% of issues but to the right on some other important issues such as foreign policy, national security, and illegal immigration. In addition, I don't automatically simply vote a Democrat. I am also a big admirer of President Bush and believe that only history can judge him and that history will judge him as a President who not only kept us safe after 9/11, but changed the scope of fighting terrorism from a law enforcement issue to calling terror for what it is: cold blooded religious terror with no excuses. In addition, I believe his 'freedom initiative' has changed and will change the scope of the region in the long term.
Saying this, two key important issues coming up for me in the next election are foreign policy (particularly relating to Iran) and illegal immigration. Particularly in the former, I believe that we must confront the regime in Iran and help the people in regime change in both helping the Iranian people get rid of a brutal, maniacal, and illegal regime in which no way represents the Iranian people; as well as getting rid of a regime that has the possibility of being worse than Hitler as their core ideologies (the regime, not the Iranian people) is in the "return of the hidden imam" and as the regime's own core ideologies, are actively "preparing" for his return. What does this mean? This means that 2/3rd of humanity must perish through death, havoc, chaos, famine and war and the regime themselves consider Khamenei, Ahmadenijad, and Hassan Nasrallah as individuals cited in the Hadith that will "help facilitate and usher his return".
Back to Bush...he did make one BIG mistake. He chose to liberate the wrong country. Although I do feel that Iraq and humanity is a better place today than under Saddam Hussein, the Iraqis are still Arab, religious, and divided into distinct separate ethnic and territorial groups (Sunni, Shiite, and Kurds) and the only group that seem to truly appreciate our sacrifices are the great Kurdish people. In contrast, the only nation in the region that offers the true prospects of a secular democracy is Iran. The Iranian people have not only experienced the brutalities of Islamic rule, but we are a people whose culture is not Islamic. Our culture is pre-Islamic (i.e. Persian New Years). And the only thing this regime has provided which is positive over the last 30+ years of horror and terror is that it has ensured that in a free Iran, Islam has no future and longevity. The Iranian people are truly a secular and non-religious people.
But back to topic.. I feel that Ron Paul is a great threat to everything American, human rights, and true morals. As for the current candidates, I agree it is a tough sell as pretty much all of them are either ignorant, naive, and simply put: incompetent. While at this point I would vote to reelect President Obama as he has made some bold foreign policy decisions after his 1st year of naivety (in which he led down the Iranian people), the only candidate that I would consider is Newt Gingrich. While Newt claims to be "born again", I find this to be simply him playing politics. He needs to shore the ignorant and illiterate religious right base of his party and needs to demonstrate to his base that he is not faking it but he really is "born again". I have found Newt to be a quite astute historian, strong on science, and someone who is quite intelligent and quite an intellectual. Yes, he has made some ignorant statements in going after the religious vote and building his religious credentials such as attacking atheists; but I find this to simply be rhetoric. I would feel comfortable in Newt Gingrich making foreign policy decisions based on rationality and not idealistic hopes and wishes. Again, at this point I would vote to reelect President Obama, but if Newt was the candidate, I surely would consider voting for Newt and would wait until the debates to make my decision.
I disagree that Ron Paul is a threat to human rights or true morals. If anything, America has adopted a foreign policy largely consisting of self-interest at the expense of others.
The Ft Benning school of the Americas has trained multiple generations of foreign soldiers belonging to South American dictators in counter-insurgency in order to preserve our interests and thwart pro-democracy movements.
I think the world would be better off without the self-interest based meddling of the US in foreign affairs. The meddling has done more harm than good. Had we not overthrown the democratic government in Iran and supported the Shah, we wouldn't even have this mess in the first place. Israel will take care of Iran, and Turkey actually will as well. American intervention is eyed with suspicion because we have lost our reputation. That means we need to rebuild it before we go interfering again.
I don't see Ron Paul as threatening freedom in any manner. If anything, by leaving more decisions up to the states, as the country was intended to do from the beginning, it creates less of a chance for an overpowering and oppressive government, such as what is going on now with the tightening of Internet regulation matching that of dictatorships, or the loss of rights to detainees who are US citizens. Also, all the funds going to supporting the military overseas could be used for better purposes in this country. It would be hard to put the military back after it had been withdrawn for years, nigh impossible. I see Ron Paul as a one term president that could re-orient the country for the better. After the military is back, the next democrat president would have more funds to funnel into healthcare ect.
I don't agree with his plan for total deregulation, but that will never come to pass anyway. Even if it does though, Ron Paul is leaving a lot of freedom and decision making to the states to decide on, such as abortion ect. Ron Paul does not oppose state regulation of abortion, ect, just federal. It would not destroy America. The stronger ideology would win out when both are allowed to exist and the effects of both can be seen. States would become peers, and systems that work would be more easily identifiable. There is nothing wrong with a weaker federal government with stronger states in this era. Actually it just makes the bureaucracy a little less difficult to get things done better on the local level.
I think that most politicians in the higher ranks are atheists. They enjoy the power religion gives them and they know they won't get elected if they don't publicly claim to be a member.
I think this election is about Obamcare. Obama is going to lose so they need Romney to insure that the plan stays on course. He designed to prototype for it in Mass.
Newt is a very smart man and knows the game very well. I can't figure out where his loyalties are. He has a talent for saying the right thing and hiding his thoughts.
Boy, have you got problems--even if the Republican party had closet atheists in it (of course it does), they might as well be fundies for all the good their atheism would do. Consider admitted atheist Karl Rove, who happily lined up religious conservatives in support of Bush in 2000 and 2004. Of course, the Bush administration betrayed them in many ways, giving religious conservatives a sop with Supreme Court nominations and not much else--so now the fundies are even more determined to take control of the Republican party thanks to Rove's betrayals (thanks, Karl).
Don't understand you're support for Cain, who was as much a god-banger as the rest of them. Or Hillary over Obama--they are mostly identical in their positions, except that Hillary would have gone farther than Obama on health care (good) and invaded more Middle Eastern countries in support of Israel (bad). And I don't understand why any atheist would support Newt Gingrich, the most consistently anti-secular Republican with the possible exception of Santorum. His 'support' of science has little to do with an actual understanding of it (which I believe he lacks the intellectual and cultural background to fully understand), and more with a religious-like faith in science as modern day magic; witness his uncritical belief in technology to easily solve problems like global warming and energy production (helium-3 from the Moon? Really?). And like Justice Scalia, his reputation as an intellectual has little to do with reality and actual accomplishments and more to do with PC media hype seeking a conservative intellectual to bolster some idealized notion of 'media balance.' That, and clever marketing on Gingrich's part--he does know how to use the old boy network to his advantage, getting media exposure, book deals, and university positions.
My two cents--were I still a registered Republican, I would vote for Huntsman--I know he won't win but my conscience as an informed atheist would be clear.
That's the thing with being a politically ambitious atheist in the US today (and let's be honest, also in countries like Australia, where atheist PM Gillard has had to embrace religion to further her political goals, as well as other countries in Europe--I'm looking at you, UK). To succeed in politics, an atheist has to not only work with the religious but compromise with them as well. And due to the American cultural struggles of the last 50 years, plus the legacy of the Cold War (Under God/In God We Trust, anyone?), it is Xtian fundies who are the most politically motivated in America today--the baby boomers who came of age in the Cold War/Civil Rights era are the generation most reliable at the polls and the most conservative generation in US politics these days. So for an atheist to succeed, these are the folks you would have to compromise most with. Just double lock your atheist closet.
My four cents--for atheists to gain political success on our own terms, both conservative and liberal, we must not only become more open and vocal in society (American and otherwise) but publicly demonstrate how logic, science, and reason are better suited to solving political and social problems than faith, prejudice (which faith is the mother of), and religion--in other words, leading by example. If this is possible, atheists may someday (he said optimistically) be looked up to as doers in the political world, with even religious people adopting the above methods, kinda like how a religious scientist compartmentalizes their faith from the science they work with. That's what I think our best bet is for the future.
You're welcome. And you're absolutely right about force multipliers and organization enabling us to get on board with the legal cases, the money to fight them, attracting wealthy and powerful friends (which, regardless of one's political views, should not be thrown under the bus; two words--pro bono), and media coverage (although that coverage might be negative at first for the same reason OWS coverage has been negative). Speaking of OWS, better organization might help us overcome the negative issues that have hampered those guys and, unlike OWS, allow those of us who sympathize with atheist goals but lack the time and resources for full on protest or legal action to nevertheless do our little bit to help.
As for life 'down on the ground,' I take a page from our Xtian 'friends' and, with appropriate discretion, witness myself as an atheist, to prove I'm a moral, trustworthy person that means no harm, plans no oppression of religious people or anyone else, and doesn't eat babies or worship satan. The only way to build trust in atheists as people worthy of respect is on the ground, in daily life, and not top down, but person to person. For now, that's all the activism I can do, but I comfort myself with the knowledge that this kind of witnessing is just as effective, maybe more, in the long run than courts or protests, necessary as those may be.
Right back atcha.
You should think about Romney. Being a mormon, he is more in the closet about his religious views and seems to be focusing more of his attention on economic policies, rather than pandering to Religious voters.
Just don't vote for Gingrich please. He sux.