Why atheists CAN’T BE Republicans: I Disagree

Militant_Gay_Atheist_Hugs_Rally_to_Restore_SanityI’m a big fan of the Friendly Atheist and the work he does online.

However, he recently made a video that I have to disagree with. In his video, he argues that atheists (in the U.S) shouldn’t vote for Republicans.

I can partially understand why he’d say something like that. I’m not a fan of Republican politics, but I also think they’re the product of a broken political system and theocratic values. I can see why theocratic leaning politicians might scare atheists into not voting for them, but many Christians also don’t support theocratic right-wing politicians. I think in this case, the Friendly Atheist does a poor job equating atheism with politics.

Let’s see what   has to say in his video:

CJ Werleman just wrote a book called “Atheists Can’t Be Republicans.” His thesis is: Atheists can’t be Republicans.

Horrible start in my opinion. The title of the book makes a false statement. Atheism isn’t a political statement. It’s a lack of belief in God(s). That’s it. There’s no reason why an atheist can’t be a Republican atheist.

His argument is essentially this: We know when it comes to religion, there’s no question. Republican want nothing to do with us. We know that.

Sounds like a blanket statement to me. It’s something many atheists (myself included) tend to challenge when religious people do it to us.

If there are Republican atheists, then there are Republicans who want something to do with you. As a party, their platform may not be seen as super-friendly to atheists, but that doesn’t negate the fact that you can be an atheist and a Republican.

But what about social issues like gay marriage and abortion rights? If you support civil rights and women’s rights, as pretty much all vocal atheists do, then you’re not going to vote Republican either. They almost uniformly reject those things.

Being an atheist doesn’t mean you’re automatically going to support gay marriage or abortion. Atheism doesn’t just include the ‘vocal atheists’ either. There are atheists who don’t bother with religious discussion or who don’t support abortion or gay marriage.

But what about on economic issues? Well, even there, the GOP has been awful. They help the rich get richer with unnecessary tax cuts, they oppose minimum wage hikes, trickle-down economics doesn’t work. So even from a purely numbers-based, rational approach, you shouldn’t support them.

This has nothing to do with atheism. Lots of religious people feel this way about the Republican party. Whether you believe Jesus is the son of God or not has nothing to do with your economic policies or what you believe works in an economy.

I agree with his conclusion that Republican fiscal policies don’t work, but that’s just my opinion and doesn’t represent what every atheist must, should or does feel. If I were a Christian, I would probably feel the same way about Republican economic issues.

What about on gun issues? Yes, they support the Second Amendment, but to what extent? They want virtually no regulations and that’s crazy. Even if you love your guns, surely you support common sense safety laws, no? Not if you’re the GOP.

Again, I’m not sure what this has to do with a non-belief in God. I’m sure there are gun loving atheists out there who would rather not be regulated.

Belief in God doesn’t equal love of guns. Atheism doesn’t equal support of gun regulation.

All that said, we’ve seen Republican atheists. Edwina Rogers, the former leader of the SCA, worked with a number of conservative Christian Republicans. She was a Republican and used that label.

Dave Silverman of American Atheists tried to go to CPAC, the super-conservative convention, because he wanted to reach out to conservative atheists.

S.E. Cupp is a conservative atheist, even if she says she wishes she could believe in God.

So in other words…the evidence shows that you can be an atheist Republican.

So yes, atheists can be Republican… but why would you wanna be? In this political climate? With these Republicans? Even if you support some of their positions, you should be ashamed of yourself if you’re voting them into office. If your atheism means anything to you, it makes no sense. You are hurting Humanism and skepticism and church/state separation and all things good and unholy by voting for a Republican.

Here he assumes atheists are skeptics or humanists. You can be an atheist and support Christian values.

You can also be skeptical of religious claims, be an atheist, but believe in other things such as Bigfoot, ghosts or alien abductions.

I’m also not sure why people should be ‘ashamed’ for voting the way they see fit. That’s basically democracy at work. Just because atheism means something to one person, doesn’t mean it means the same thing or anything at all to someone else.

And I’m not saying you have to vote for a Democrat. Go ahead. Vote for a third party candidate… if you think that’ll help.

But in nearly every instance in today’s political climate, voting for a Republican candidate, whoever it is, means giving more power to a party that is anti-gay, anti-poor, anti-science, anti-women, and anti-YOU if you’re an atheist.

Perhaps, but that’s their choice. Maybe they support Republicans for their own reasons or perhaps they’re not that well informed on political issues. Many people don’t want to vote for a third party candidate because they feel it’s a wasted vote.

Personally, I don’t like it when people start telling me what atheism should mean to me. Atheism isn’t something I am so that others can tell me what I should think, feel or who I should vote for.

Atheism is a lack of belief in God(s). Nothing more and nothing less. It doesn’t mean I can’t vote Republican if that’s who I choose to vote for.

In fact, most of the points he made in his video are good arguments against voting Republican. Period. Religious affiliation or lack thereof is irrelevant.

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32 Comments

  1. Yeah im a republican so I disagree with almost everything in this post, but I do agree that being an atheist means nothing more than having no belief in God, people seem to be trying to twist it to mean something else lately.

  2. As an atheist, I agree that atheism is not politics nor is it (or should it be) representative of a political party affiliation. That said, I am also a liberal and I generally don’t vote for Republican candidates for the very reasons expressed in Mehta’s video. But the way I vote has little to do with my being an atheist. It has everything to do with political ideologies. I know religious people…people who believe in God…who vote Democratic, and I also know agnostic and atheists who, on other matters, are more conservative. So I agree, you can be an atheist and be a Republican. But I do think that most who are atheists tend to be more liberal in their ideologies, so it does make sense to me that relatively few atheists are Republicans.

  3. You make a lot of good points. I just want to clarify that I’m not saying atheists shouldn’t vote Republican *because* they’re atheists. (As you said, it’s pretty much a non-sequitur.) But if you care about values that *tend* to matter to atheists — like civil rights for LGBT people, church/state separation, abortion rights, etc., that are opposed by many large religious groups — then voting to strengthen the GOP just doesn’t make any sense. That’s the point I was trying to make with the video, anyway 🙂

  4. I still vote for Republicans. No often, but occasionally. I also vote for Democrats, Socialists (we had run in a city election), Independents but mostly for Greens and Libertarians. All Republicans are not the same just as all Democrats or all Libertarians are not the same.

    I agree with all of your post.

  5. Thanks for speaking up to expose irrationality! Saying “Atheists can’t be Republicans” is like saying “Drivers of Toyota cars can’t be eaters of pepperoni pizza” or, as my dad always used to say when I was little, “Do you want to walk to school or take your lunch?” Two completely different categories.

  6. You bring up very valid points. I’m a Christian and consider myself an Independent voter. My husband and daughter are Christians, and my daughter’s best friend is a gay young man. He and my daughter are both voting Republican this November. The young man is also an atheist. I’m doing my own research before deciding and DVR’ing everything in order to fast forward through trash-talking political ads.

    I laughed at the gun issue. I have two gay cousins who deer hunt. They’d miss their deer rifles, so they ALWAYS vote Republican. One of those two cousins is an atheist in a large, Christian family. He’s loved and accepted.

    Yes, I realize that may not be the norm. However, I live in the Southern U. S. in the Bible Belt. Stereotyped? Of course, yet we don’t fit into the mold. This may be shocking to some, but I’m not the only one with those beliefs.

    A thesis that puts people in a tidy, neat, little box and pretends to know everyone and everything about them is doomed to fail. Atheism has nothing to do with politics like you stated. People vote based on priorities in their personal lives and their personal life experiences.

    Thanks for sharing this information! -Anna

  7. You touched on all the things I was thinking while I watched that video. He made some very broad assumptions there.

    Being an atheist doesn’t automatically mean you think gun control should be regulated. How could it? How does one make the leap from “god doesn’t exist” to “gun control should be at least a little regulated”? He said it betrays “atheist values” (I’m sorry, what exactly are “atheist values” atheism is the rejection of philosophy, not accepting a new one) and Humanist values. Humanist values is a better argument, but not every atheist is a Humanist, and humanist philosophy can vary greatly from person to person.

    Let me be clear, gun control should be regulated, but I think that for reasons that have nothing to do with being an atheist.

    I think there’s a touch of naive hope there that every atheist shares the values he has.

  8. I have been told that as christian, I CAN’T be a democrat. More to the point, what they are saying is that if a person is a democrat, they are not a “true believer”. Yeah.

    This is why I hate organized religion.

    Actually, I am a registered Republican. I registered that way so that I can throw off their numbers. Yes, I am a RINO. LOL. And a bitch.

  9. Ditto Dena above. Equating politics with no god belief is ridiculous.
    Do this mind experiment:
    Republicans offer a better economic plan, the Democrat plan leads to ruin.
    So you can live in ruin with all your social liberty, or you can live in prosperity and fight for local rights.
    Point being, Hemant is still wrong in his comment — things aren’t as simple as he’d like to portray.

      • Right. For example: many people (like myself) are pro-gay rights, yet I think that fight is mainly on the local level. I may vote for a president that is not sympathetic to gay rights, if I think the issues (economics) he can actually have huge impact on, are in line with my thinking.
        For instance, I don’t care if someone believes in Moroni, as long as they are compassionate and not war-hawks. Because their belief in Moroni won’t affect any of their policy in any significant way. — Some may debate that, but that is the position I am closest to.

  10. This video seems to me to have less to do with atheism than it does with antiRepublicanism. Myself, I am not an atheist; I am merely an agnostic. However, I am agnostic philosophically and religiously. Politically, I am atheist. I’m a registered independent. I don’t believe in political parties.

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