July 24, 2008
Americans (allegedly) don’t do atheism
Polls consistently find that Americans harbor strong animosity toward atheists, and that Americans would be less likely to vote for an atheist than for a woman, African American, Latino, Catholic, Jew, Muslim or Mormon. (What these polls don’t state, but what I, as a God-fearing Christian, will say, is that the fear, loathing and general suspicion of the godless is not only unwarranted but ungodly.)
“This kind of thing tends to leave Britons either bewildered or terrified,” Nick Spencer wrote on his blog for the London Telegraph. “The US and the UK are two nations divided not so much by a common language as by a common religion. In the former, Christianity is officially absent but unofficially everywhere; in the latter it underpins the entire structure of state but usually dares not speak its name.”
That is an astute, and poetic, observation. Spencer goes on to detail just how intertwined Christianity is with the Amerrican presidency, using as his launching pad the new book by David Domke and Kevin Coe, “The God Strategy: How Religion Became a Political Weapon in America.”
Spencer’s lamentations continue:
This perspective is essentially a mirror image of how religious American feel when they look at godless Europe. I looked closely at this issue of atheism and the future of religion in America two years ago in this story. Despite what Domke and Coe say about the tide turning, about religion leading the revolution, I find that Christian rhetoric is now more dangerously interwoven with politics than any time during the past eight years, or in American history.