I'm just wondering if there are other people out there like me.
I've found, most people have one or two fundamental political positions he/she uses to make a decision for whom to vote. I'm not saying everyone is like this by any means. Just saying, it's usually pretty easy to find out on what basis someone generally makes when picking a candidate.
My contention when determining the best candidate revolves around his/her personal religious belief. I feel compelled to begin there for reasons of credibility. If a candidate believes fantasy is real, in my mind, they simply cannot be credible enough to make real-world economic and legal decisions for other people. This point is above all other political issues.
I keep asking myself "If Mr/s _______ truly believes the Tooth Fairy/Easter Bunny/Santa Claus is REAL, how can I trust he/she can make good decisions representing me?" If I meet a man on the road and he's talking to someone I cannot see, would I want him managing the money I pay in taxes? Wouldn't I rather want to help him get the psychological help he truly needs?
I'm just wondering if anyone else out there has this make-or-break position when choosing to vote for someone. If not, how do you justify voting for a believer?
Awesome. Thanks for the information. I was not aware of Pete Stark. I had NO idea there was even one nontheist in Washington. I'm in agreement with you about the nanny state position though. So, I might not vote for him either - which leaves me voting for no one still. But it's nice to know there is at least one person up there. I'm still not understanding how you think "it doesn't seem that much of a stretch to figure other people can manage other things... as well as the next person anyway."
My contention isn't a difference on opinion of REAL things that exist (i.e. economic veiwpoints, abortion, PAC affiliations, race, municipal projects, corporations, the poor, etc.) We're talking about people that actually believe in something that simply does not exist. I could vote for someone that is say for more gun control IF they were more fiscal conservative. [just one example here].
My point is: the belief in God is SOOOO absurd and crazy, managing a government position (or even a top executive position in a private corporation) simply lacks so much credibility to warrant eliminating them in the interview process.
In your evaluation of "real things" perhaps you should consider this reality: if atheists do not vote due to theistic principal, elections will be decided by theists only. Yeah, it sucks that in order to get sufficient votes to win an office in this country a candidate must acknowledge some level of belief in skydaddy. But I can't, in good conscience, exacerbate that situation further by just letting irrational followers of skydaddy determine who will run our mutual government. Like it or not, the decisions these people make affect all of us. I could care less about "complaining rights." I'm much more concerned with other rights that zealous religionists would like to dismantle, and WILL if atheists give them the votes to do it.
I feel sad that young people--which I imagine you are--don't vote for issues that matter to them and leave the voting to the older demographic. I hope you change your mind and revisit this later in your life. But the sooner is better! Think and dream about the world you want to live in but accept the fact that not voting means your voice isn't heard.
When I voted last Tuesday I was struck by all the elderly people that made the effort to vote.... I mean old people...80's and 90's. With breathing machines on wheels. I don't mean to start an 'age war' in this discussion but decisions made by and for senior citizens often mean that funding for other age groups is affected. Anybody under the age of 55 will be affected by the Paul Ryan "Path to Prosperity" for example, and privatization of social security and Medicare into a 'voucher system' is part of the plan. The wealthy will not be affected by this path to prosperity because they are already prospering just fine... they will never feel the pain that Ryan's plan is proposing on the middle class and the poor. People that disagree with Ryan's 'path' need to come up with a better plan...soon. I hope young voters get involved in this issue and help shape the discussion.
If you're determined to vote ONLY for atheists, whether in local, state or federal elections, you are likely not going to be voting very much, at least not if you live in the US. I think there may be one atheist US Senator currently serving, and there was that councilman in either North or South Carolina who is also a non-believer (and started the whole fooforaw about the state constitution requiring belief in god and how Article Six of the US Constitution overriding that).
In Great Britain and Europe, this might be a practical approach. It sure as hell isn't in the States.
If you happen to be a U.S. citizen and religious affiliation is your main concern when you vote for somebody, this would certainly limit your options when you head to the polls. I would hope that most people remain neutral when they run for political office.
Personally, I couldn't vote for somebody who had an obvious religious 'agenda' because that would certainly run counter to my strong support for the separation of Church and State and for secular local, state, and federal government. I would like for people to keep that part of themselves private and out of the public sphere as much as possible. It is annoying to hear people 'thanking God' for the success of their particular political pet projects and 'feeling blessed' for this, that, and the other thing but it's part of our national fabric and history...we can't separate ourselves from the fact that the U.S. is very religious for a modern, industrialized nation.
What I wish would happen is that more information about 'religiosity' was made available in the form of polling data....I read somewhere that the U.S. doesn't ask for this sort of information in our national census data: Are Americans becoming more or less religious? What rates of young people remain active in organized religion...(vs people that claim to be spiritual but aren't 'active')? I get the sense that membership is always a problem: the elderly members outnumber those under 30. And when your membership is dying...literally....how do you recoup those losses?
In Europe there are reports that show a declining rate of religious affiliation. But people still seem to cling to a belief in 'gods' even if they don't attend services worshiping these gods. I think the distinction is important. Will the U.S. become godless...ever? It is hard to imagine such a reality, though it doesn't affect my godlessness in the least.
Marc, I agree with many who commented here. Refusing to vote for a theist means that you do not take part in your government. We are a tiny minority. Even atheists would seldom advertize the fact if they ran for office. I have voted several times for the only atheist on the ballot, but only after being assured that we agree on other issues of importance to me. On the other hand, I have targeted those candidates who have made clear their scorn for the separation of state and church by actively opposing their candidacy. Locally, a lesbian, (who never did anything for gay rights) catholic ran for mayor of Tampa. In 2002, when she was a city council member, she walked out of a City Council Meeting rather than listen to the first atheist ever INVITED to say the pre-meeting invocation (not by definition a prayer), saying that it was inappropriate that he be allowed to speak and that she did not have to listen to an atheist. I contacted the gay rights group “Equality Florida” to inform them that she was a religious bigot. I said that she did nothing for gays, and that bigotry, whether based on sexual orientation, or religious belief was the same. I sent them the old newspaper story published the day after she stormed out of the city council meeting that my taxes paid her to attend. It was a reminder of what she said and did in office 9 years ago! Although this group later sent out a list of candidates whom they endorsed, she was not on the list. I hope this was because of me.
I also contacted the local atheist groups to make sure they knew she was our enemy. She lost the election to a man who may also be a Christian, but who has never actively condemned atheists, nor refused to listen to us. For a bit of comic irony, when she conceded that she lost the election, she said, “God has his way of showing us what to do.” For once god was on OUR side, ha, ha!
It’s better, in my opinion to work toward change, than to opt out of the process.
I also went to ‘meet and greet’ neighborhood meetings with candidates to ask their opinions about separation of state and church, and about prayer at civic meetings, government funding of church hall rentals for polling places, money for church schools, etc. I got a promise from a (Christian) city council candidate that she would formally propose the end of prayer invocations at city meetings. She lost the election :-(.
Avoiding the problem we face does nothing to further our “cause”.