As I’ve posted here before, I’ve been a conservative for a very very long time. Without going into too much fine detail my primary reasons center around less intrusive government and lower taxes. Basically, I’m the kind of conservative that doesn’t care whether you screw 6 hookers high on shrooms as long as you keep my taxes low and don’t expect me to pay for your health care.
Until recently I have considered the quest to keep government out of our lives more important than other considerations and have sided with the party most likely to do this. Each party or liberal/conservative leaning has it’s drawbacks. Conservatives are just fine as frog’s hair when it comes to proselytizing from the bench as long as fetuses are involved. Liberals would preach from the white house on pretty much every issue except drugs and abortion. I took the lesser of two evils and stayed with the party that at least pretended to be interested in keeping government small and out of my face.
Well, I believe the time has come to re-evaluate how and for whom I vote. Over the past few years I’ve watched more and more press and blogs talking about atheist rights and watched the greater community react. During my observations I’ve noted that the frequency and intensity of the attacks on atheists increasing. Members of our government are simply allowed to tell us we don’t matter… or worse, are dangerous… without fear of reprisal or even a slap on the wrist from the greater community. Our rights can openly be questioned and no one even seems to notice.
There is not a single atheist running for president that I’ve been able to find. Even the “Best-we-can-do-party,” the Libertarians, are nominating the openly religious Barr. Hell the guy even tried to ban witchcraft! And not because it’s silly, but because it’s “satanic” and his imaginary friend doesn’t like that. It has been established that the majority of Americans would rather vote for a gay scientologist than an atheist regardless of what the person’s stances were. How insane is this? And how is it that I don’t get a benefit or some sort of special parking space?
Well, for what it’s worth, I think it’s time for a change. As Atheists we cannot simply keep supporting people that actually believe in mythology just because they agree with something else we like or support. How can you support a man or woman that wants to teach our children Intelligent design just to keep your taxes low? How selfish is it to ignore the fact that a man says he’s going “to do God’s work,” just because we like the healthcare package he’s pushing? How can we hold ourselves out to be better than the militant Islamists when we ignore the fact that most of our country actually believes Jonah was swallowed by a whale and that Noah fit two (or more) of all the animals in the world in a boat? Is getting 72 virgins for blowing yourself up really so crazy an idea in comparison?
So, beginning with this election, I have decided I cannot and will not support any believer of any religion regardless of their stances. The bare minimum a thinking person can ask of their candidate is that they don’t believe in some imagined grand-father or -mother in the sky. As with all such decisions, they are pretty meaningless if only followed through by one individual. However, estimates of the Atheist population of the US are somewhere around 7%-10%, making us a potentially powerful voting bloc, especially in this age of races decided by less than 2%. The more of us that use the power of the vote to encourage more rational leaders rather than the ID crowd the better off we’ll all be.
This November, I’ll be writing in my vote.