Anti-Atheist Prejudice at the Polls
Why do American voters remain prejudiced against atheists, especially when groups like Mormons hold beliefs that are equally incompatible with mainstream Christianity?
My latest article has been posted on AlterNet, Why Is Atheism a Bigger Obstacle to Political Office Than Mormonism? In it, I look at poll results showing that American voters remain prejudiced against atheists, and ask why it is that Mormons and other groups have managed to avoid the brunt of similar bigotry, despite holding beliefs that are equally incompatible with mainstream Christianity and arguably far more bizarre than ours. Read the excerpt below, then click through to see the rest:
In large part, the history of America has been a story of one group after another coming forward to demand the equal rights that had been denied to them, and winning those rights through strife and struggle. This process of social change is still playing out today, but some groups are further along the path to acceptance than others.
A 1999 Gallup poll asked Americans whether they would vote for a well-qualified presidential candidate of their own party who happened to belong to one of the following groups: Catholic, Jewish, Baptist, Mormon, black, woman, gay, or atheist. Only 49 percent of Americans said they would vote for an atheist candidate, by far the lowest percentage of all the groups.
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Photo credit: Jie Zhao / Getty contributor
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