It Can Only Get Better
A few days ago the HuffPo posted an article on how few atheists there are in Congress right now, or rather, that there are currently public atheists in congress right now. I’m reminded of what a patient told me one morning as they were lying in bed, “when you’re on your back, the only way to look is up.” Just a year ago a Pew Poll was released showing “Nones”, those of us who don’t identify with any religion, make up 20% of the population as a whole, and 33% of the population under 30. This means that out of 535 members of Congress there should be around 107 who can identify with the concerns and needs of the “none” community. (107 is 20% of 535 for those of you who don’t remember your primary school maths)
When you’re tired of just looking up, and take a moment to turn your head side to side, you see just how many of those around us are also laying on their back, under represented by those in power who make decisions.
The same Pew Poll mentioned above found there were 3.5 million Muslims in the US, which is about 1% of the total US population, meaning there should be 5-6 Muslims in Congress, yet there is only 1 muslim in congress. This is one more representative than we have, and it is remarkable, given the fear and bigotry surrounding Islam is even greater than that surrounding atheism.
The LGB part of the LGBT community has 6 openly gay, lesbian, or bisexual members, while the Transgendered community is still searching for representation. Perhaps Paula Overby will change that next year, which will help yet another under represented electorate, women. There are 98 women in Congress, yes, almost 20%, the same percentage we should expect to see of atheists, agnostics, or other non spiritual or otherwise non religiously affiliated persons. However, as many of you are undoubtedly aware, women make up a good deal more of the population than 20%
I don’t wish to be misunderstood. I do understand completely that not every group in America can have a proportionate representation based upon their percentage of the American population. There are approximately 250,000 Railfans in the US, that does not mean they deserve the 1/2 a congressperson their proportional demographic is equal to be properly represented.
Beliefs, and non-belief, of religion and spirituality though are important aspects of American Culture, many people base their entire lives and morals on what they feel is divinely written, spoken, or inspired. There are many Americans who feel the laws of the country should reflect the instructions of their particular theology, from lefty hippies invoking crystals and oneness with nature or mega church evangelicals, they believe the country and the world would be a better place if we followed their teachings
Meanwhile we have to contend with people like this who believe those of us without belief in their god are destroying this country. He is not alone, and the Left has no right to be haughty. The 2012 Democratic National Convention took a verbal “yea / nay” vote on whether or not to mention “God” in their party platform. The nays won out as you can clearly hear and see in the clip below.
Why did the DNC keep the god reference in, why were they so afraid to keep god out? My opinion is that we None’s are not vocal enough at the polls. We don’t necessarily have to vote Democrat, Republican, or any other party, but we do have vote. We also have to make sure our families, our communities, and our representatives know we are here, and we’re growing.
We need to come out of the closet, we need to have representation, and we need to not allow the religious to impose their religion on us with out our consent. If we do that, it can only get better.