One of the many severely flawed arguments (in the time it took to write that sentence, they just made another one) from the Religious Right is that America is a Christian Nation. Of course it only takes one functioning brain cell to know that these sanctimonious false prophets and Revisionists, much like everything else under the sun, cynically co-opt and exploit scripture so as to satisfy their ridiculously backwards social agenda.
Further, the Republican version of Jesus is more like an Ayatollah in a Brooks Brothers suit, and if the actual Jesus were to return-- Republicans would look at his long hair, ragged clothes, and long beard and either pepper spray him or ship him off to Guantanamo.
It only takes a simple Google search to discover that our Founders, as men of the Enlightenment, were largely Deists; that is, they believed in an outside providence, but that he should not concern himself with the daily lives of humans, and did not directly communicate with humans (or the Rick Perrys, Santorums, and Bachmanns of the world), either by revelation or by sacred books. Religion, for their part, was to be exclusively removed from the public realm, which is why Jefferson created the Wall of Separation idea and why the Separation of Church and State is in the constitution. They would be rolling over on their slaves if they knew what Republican politicians were doing today. But guess what, Americans are starting to warm up to the idea of religion and god having no place in the public realm and even accepting the notion of electing an atheist for president.
Yet again, a Gallup poll shows that a sizeable majority of Americans would vote for an atheist for president. It seems that 54 percent of those questioned said they would vote a "well- qualified" atheist for president, which apparently is the highest percentage since Gallup began asking the question in 1958, when only 18 percent said they would back a nonbeliever, according to USA Today.
"We have seen an enormous change over time in the willingness to vote for an atheist," said Karlyn Bowman to USA Today. Bowman is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, which reports the numbers in its current newsletter.
"But I think the numbers also remind us that this is a deeply religious country. That doesn't mean we are all going to church on Sunday, but that having religion in your life is valuable to most Americans and I think that explains the resistance.”
While this newfound change of heart (or mind) is most certainly a welcoming development for free thinkers in America--a country besieged by religious fanatics--it’s still very much an uphill battle. After all, rapists get better press in America than atheists. But that could change if they start coming out of the closet as gays have done, according to an atheist and former 1990 gubernatorial candidate in South Carolina, where fundamentalist religion is so rampant that there was a law on the books there that banned atheists like him from holding public office.
"I think prejudices will always be with us, so I am not optimistic enough to think (atheists' approval rating) will be near unanimous," said Herb Silverman, former South Carolina Gubernatorial candidate and atheist. "But I think the more role models we have the better things will be.”
Only in America could worshiping an invisible space monster be heralded, whereas questioning the existence of a supreme being get the same treatment as a puppy killer.
"When you think you don't know any atheists then they seem horrible, but when the person at the desk across from you is an atheist then those stereotypes don't hold," said Tom Flynn, editor of Free Inquiry magazine, to USA Today.
Atheists numbers are still woefully small when compared to religious-minded Americans, but this positive development certainly gives despondent free thinkers hope and momentum going forward
Michael Hayne is a comedian/VO artist/Columnist extraordinaire. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.