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The Guardian - Promoting the FFRF Convention!

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  • rlbaty50
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/oct/01/atheism-america-religious-right?newsfeed=true Rising atheism in America puts religious right on the defensive
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 1, 2011

      Rising atheism in America puts 'religious right on the defensive'

      High profile of faith-based politicians such as Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry masks a steady growth in secularism

      By Paul Harris in New York
      Saturday October 1, 2011


      About 400 people are preparing to gather for a conference in Hartford, Connecticut, to promote the end of religion in the US and their vision of a secular future for the country.

      Those travelling to the meeting will pass two huge roadside billboards displaying quotes from two of the country's most famous non-believers: Katharine Hepburn and Mark Twain.

      > "Faith is believing what you know ain't so,"

      reads the one featuring Twain.

      > "I'm an atheist and that's it,"

      says the one quoting Hepburn.

      The US is increasingly portrayed as a hotbed of religious fervour.

      Yet in the homeland of ostentatiously religious politicians such as

      > Michele Bachmann


      > Rick Perry,

      agnostics and atheists are actually part of one of the fastest-growing demographics in the US: the godless.

      Far from being in thrall to its religious leaders, the US is in fact becoming a more secular country, some experts say.

      > "It has never been better to be a free-thinker
      > or an agnostic in America,"

      says Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president of the FFRF.

      Herb Silverman, president of the Washington-based SCA, lives in Charleston, South Carolina. His local secularist group was founded in 1994 with 10 people, but now has 150 members.

      > "I've been living here in the buckle
      > of the Bible belt since 1976 and things
      > are getting a lot better,"

      Silverman said.

      Yet there is little doubt that religious groups still wield enormous influence in US politics and public life, especially through the rightwing of the Republican party.

      (I)t is still a brave US politician who openly declares a lack of faith. So far just one member of Congress, Californian Democrat Pete Stark, has admitted that he does not believe in God.

      > "Privately, we know that there are 27 other
      > members of Congress that have no belief in
      > God. But we don't 'out' people,"

      said Silverman.

      Others think that one day it will become politically mainstream to confess to a lack of faith as US political life lags behind the society that it represents.

      > "Politicians have not yet caught up with the
      > changing demographics of our society,"

      said Gaylor.

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