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Gays On the Rise While Nontheists Shunned by DNC
A 2006 University of Minnesota study revealed American biases that should surprise no one: of all minority groups, gays, atheists, and Muslims are the least trusted in America. When asked to identify groups that do "not at all agree with my vision of American society," 39.6 percent identified atheists, 26.3 percent identified Muslims and 22.6 percent identified gays and lesbians.
But according to a new poll released by Zogby today, there's hope for one of those groups. More than 60 percent of Americans said they would consider supporting a gay president, 67 percent a gay vice-president (there's hope for you yet Charlie Crist!), 69 percent a gay senator, and 71 percent a gay cabinet-level secretary. Those are shocking numbers, and while I'm always a bit skeptical of Zogby polls, those of us who support a pluralistic America deserve to be cautiously pleased with the poll's findings.
But a different story has unfolded for nontheists at the Democratic National Convention. After the DNC announced a multi-faith opening prayer event led by a Pentecostal minister, the Secular Coalition for America sent a letter to Leah Daughtry, CEO of the Democratic National Committee, asking for some nontheistic inclusion. The Secular Coalition for America offered to fly someone to Denver to participate in the event, but the DNC never responded.
I'm glad to see the Democratic party reach out to Evangelical Christians, Methodists, Catholics, Orthodox Christians, Buddhists, Muslims, Jews, and other assorted faith traditions. We're the big tent party, willing to embrace all Americans interested in our values. Or almost all. By refusing to allow a single openly nontheistic speaker at the Democratic convention to discuss their values, when the lobbying group that represents the nontheistic community specifically offered to provide one, and when the role of faith is being promoted at no fewer than four events, the party, perhaps unintentionally, is sending a chilling message to atheists and other non-believers that they are not welcome. As we celebrate an historic nomination during an election from which Democrats expect significant victories, we must remember our big tent doesn't end at faith's edge.
Image courtesy One Good Move.
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