A new study this week revealed that 15% of Americans consider themselves ‘nonreligious,’ up from 8% in 1990.
As a point of comparison, 1.4% of America is Mormon. Mitt Romney aside, there is a long history of Mormons serving as members of Congress and in other high-ranking government positions, including the current Senate Majority Leader. And yet, a group more than 10 times as large has but one Congressional representative. The stigma surrounding the nonreligious in politics is vast and deep, as Kay Hagan can attest.
When secular organizations do speak out, such as the billboard recently put up by Humanists of Idaho, they are portrayed as un-American bullies. The nonreligious are often reduced to advocating for themselves through the judicial system because of the public derision they face.
It is high time for non-religious Americans to have more of a voice in the political process. The early statements coming from the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships are a good start, but the inclusion on atheist, agnostic, humanist and similarly non-theist groups is far from complete.