Are U.S. atheists from Venus and Mormons from Mars?

June 23, 2008

Barack Obama, 15 June 2008/John GressIs the Democratic Party really “Godless” and are Republicans really righteous?

Far from it, though there are findings from the monumental U.S. Religious Landscape Survey by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life which could be used perhaps to make such arguments. You can see our main story on the survey here and the survey itself, which was released on Monday, here.

On partisan affiliation for example, the survey found that Mormons were the most staunchly Republican religious group in America with 65 percent of those polled indentifying with or leaning towards that party.

Members of historically black Protestant churches remain the most reliably Democratic at 77 percent while the Godless crowd was also firmly in that camp. It found that atheists and agnostics leaned heavily Democratic (65 percent and 62 percent respectively).

But among evangelical Protestants, a group normally associated with the Republican Party and social conservative causes, things are less clear cut. The survey found 50 percent of this group tilted Republican but 34 percent of such folk favoured the Democratic Party.

This raises interesting issues. Can presumptive Democratic nominee Barack Obama woo the faith vote without alienating the party’s “atheist base?” Can his Republican rival John McCain woo independent evangelicals?

The survey was taken in 2007, so it is not up-to-the-minute, and the first batch of its findings were released in February. But it involved polls of over 35,000 U.S. adults nationwide and so it is an excellent indicator of broad trends.


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This is an interesting study in its own limited way, but the most serious question seems to have been elided; Why is American belief in supernaturalism, confused and inconsistent though it may be, so strong, compared to the situation in most of the industrialized world, where most ordinary folk have had the good sense to discard religion and all the silly trappings of theism. Why are Americans so wedded to philosophical childishness, and what are the costs of that continuing delusion?

Posted by Fossil | Report as abusive

My naim is Peter.

I believe in Angels, I have a personal one, his name is Toby. He was murdered long ago and now watches out for my driving, tells me what foodz to eat and stuff.

My Demons name is Phil. He makes me do bad stuff, like steeling, shoplifting, and revenge on people.

On the overalls, I am pretty sure I am going to heaven, to be with JC and his dad, God. Because I dont live TOO bad a life, even with the steeling and stuff.

I belive in miracle healing like most americans do. I had a bad cold last winter, and it totaly went away after 2 weeks, it was a miracel I didnt stay sick the whole rest of my life, so you can see the big guy in the sky was looking out for me exspecshully.

I dont goto church but i totaly watch any TV shows that talk about god, or spirits, or ghosts and haunted hauses. I also think aliens are also just really god, and thats just the kind of car he drives, UFOs.

I guess this study says im pretty much like all others living in america so it makes me happy.

well i have to drive to work , thank god ive been able to steal some gas at night around here or i couldbnt afford to drive to work, no way im payeing for $4.50 gas!!!

Bleessings brothers!


Posted by Tommy | Report as abusive

May I make light of the unintelligence to the answer posted by Tommy. Thanks for the sarcasm, it’s appreciated, really. I am a Roman Catholic Republican, that in spite of the strange Democratic belief percentiles, is rooting for the jack asses this year.
The pure fact is, people today are mixed up in weird bias that confuses their own opinions for the opinions of those of the media. The world is missing a really good idea.

Posted by Izzy Glass | Report as abusive

“compared to the situation in most of the industrialized world, where most ordinary folk have had the good sense to discard religion and all the silly trappings of theism.”

Obviously you haven’t spent much time in said industrial countries. They’re just as superstitious as anyone over here. The only difference is that they don’t slap a denominational label on it.

Posted by Rathje | Report as abusive

I can’t stop laughing.

I guess tommorows headline will read

“Americans universal in belief in Easter Bunny”


“Santa Claus still believed in by most Americans”


“Americans widely believe in Sandman”


“Bogeyman keeping Americans awake at night”


“Naming your Angel, a guide for female and male Angel Naming”


“Idiots believe a bunch of crap their parents told them”


“Isn’t it a little pathetic that they’re called Adults but think like little children?”


“WTF is up with the rise of non rational thought in the US?”


“Kind of makes you sick, doesn’t it?”

Posted by Harold | Report as abusive

I find it ironic that the people who vote for giving more money and power to the rich and powerful consider themselves Christian. Try reading the bible – Jesus told Lazarus to give 50% of all he had to the poor…our billionaires pay 15% in capitol gains while the working class pays 30% on hard earned wages. Unless we grow out of this fantasy that a big, invisible Daddy will come save us when things really get screwed up, will we ever become responsible enough to build a decent society for ourselves?

Posted by Kim | Report as abusive

It’s interesting that atheists are so often the most outspoken on these matters, and are so fast to deride those who believe. I agree that a vast majority of believers in America would have difficulty defending their beliefs on the grounds of well-reasoned thought and not on biased apologetics. That aside, it is more childish to deride the beliefs of others, and even to accuse them of being harmful, than to hold a system of beliefs that generally encourages charity and kindness.

If only atheists would realize that their own beliefs about the universe are as much a religion as any denominational creed, they might be less quick to judge. They even proselytize their beliefs in the public forum, and if this one is any benchmark, they are as vehement in their beliefs as the most strident denominational evangelists. I say live and let live, and pray that we’re all wrong, atheists and believers alike.

Posted by Da6d | Report as abusive

Since God is a myth and all religoins just fairy tale laden- concepts, any and all religous followers are from any planet but here according to your illogical reasoning.

Obama like Mccain is just telling their “believers”what they want to hear so their little insecure minds are put to rest and the idea of thinking is buried with their ability to reason, and their reactionary minds are intact.
Perfect foddder for religous snake oil salemans….

Posted by dr kevin | Report as abusive

“…and all the children are insane.”

Posted by Jim | Report as abusive

kim, corporate tax rate is 34% PLUS VAT for individual payments. Unfortunately this is called double taxation. The second thing is corporations have nothing to do with the relgigious systems, as their first line of intent is to “maximize shareholder value”, not respecting the poor. I think the more important thing than religion here is, how can you actually blabber about poverty in USA while you attract the best of best people in all non-america? The idea of Great America was created by you, yet you ignore to play by the rules. Man, get a hold of yourself, and begin working. Your “god” have given you the ability to do so, dont expect anything more than hunger if you let your back lie against Bible.

Yet we can still talk about religion. Only reason why the politicians care is, because the others care about it. The rest is only simple game theory, you will position yourself in the most centric position and away from the other to get most of the votes. If Democrats get the votes of the atheists and some of the protestants, then they may even position themselves ab bit closer to evangelics as well? As long as you don’t loose to the first group, the closer you position yourself to the second group the better. Even think Obama himself was said to be Muslim. I still smile at this..

Posted by Can | Report as abusive

It is difficult being of any religious persuasion in America. I find it very difficult to be an atheist-agnostic, and face much prejudice by the vast majority of people in America who are mainstream Christians, or other monotheistic religions.

I was raised Southern Baptist, and also found it very difficult, and faced much prejudice by the vast majority of people in America who are either of a different branch of Christianity, a different religion altogether, or of a secular persuasion.

I have been on both sides of the coin, and as such, it’s taught me not to criticize or deride others for their beliefs. Jesus says, “Judge not, lest ye be judged”, and yet the majority of his followers seem to have forgotten this. And atheists are all too willing to throw out the baby (good moral advice) with the bathwater (dogma and outdated ritualism).

America is hurting not because of a lack of religiousness, or a lack of secularness, but because people are selfish, cruel, and ignorant.

Posted by Emily | Report as abusive