“The headlines are focusing on how only 42% of Americans know Mitt Romney is a Mormon and how most Americans want to see a redistribution of wealth, but I’m most interested in the questions that involve people without faith…
Only one piece of information stands out and it’s in response to the following question: Would you be very comfortable, somewhat comfortable, somewhat uncomfortable, or very uncomfortable with [an atheist] serving as president?“
This was the breakdown (+ 2.5% error):
Let’s review this for a second. Remember, this is the number of people uncomfortable with the particular demographic. It should come as absolutely no surprise whatsoever that Republicans are most comfortable with Evangelicals … but to see the average American voter comfortable – by a margin of about 2 to 1 – with the idea of their president believing in the inerrancy the bible AND the divine mandate to convert non-believers is one of the more frightening results of the survey. The response to a Mormon candidate makes some sense, since Mormonism still has that sort of weird cult-y, polygamy vibe to it even if most of them disavow any kind of association with the folks who are into that kind of thing.
Muslims are also no surprise, what with September 11th and the ensuing paranoia … even if the overwhelming majority of Muslims in this country are peaceful, decent, law abiding citizens who just want to do their own thing like the rest of us. This, combined with the response by the independent voting block, is the obvious reason why the GOP was so desperate to paint Obama as a foreign-born Muslim at any and all costs during the last election. Nothing’s worse than being associated with a religion (that includes a fanatical 1% or so) that wants to destroy America …
… actually, wait, there is something worse: being an atheist, apparently. Seriously, people across the board have the same or more distrust of an atheist than any other religious demographic, including fundie creationists and people we’ve been told “hate America” for the last 10 years. I suppose it shouldn’t come as a surprise, since people have been saying the same about us ever since the end of World War II and the Red Scare. Stalin and Mao were atheists, so that was obviously the reason why they killed so many people when they were in power.
So the lesson we’re supposed to take from this survey is this: it doesn’t matter what you believe. Even if it’s in a god we’ve branded as a sworn enemy of the state, at least it’s a god. Even as a Muslim, the people of this country aren’t going to hate you any more than if you didn’t believe in anything at all; in fact, you might have a better shot, especially with Democrats. That’s because in this country, a lack of belief is interpreted as a lack of both morality and humility, even if both conclusions are demonstrably false. Meanwhile, holding a completely unsubstantiated belief in an intangible, immeasurable, undetectable supernatural being that created the universe and guides the events of your life because a 2,000 year old Bronze Age book tells you to on pain of eternal torment is somehow a virtue.
I never wanted to be president anyway, but holy hell. We’re well on our way to becoming a Third World country if we keep trusting the same people who both don’t trust and don’t understand science because it goes against their holy book.
(The second part of my Illogical School is still in the works …)