Holy Politics, Batman!
I do have a rant today, about religion and politics, yet. You have been warned. I will talk about knitting again soon, really, but not today. By way of loin-girding, here's a nice picture.
OK, ready? Here we go.
Yesterday's New York Times had an article about whether Mitt Romney's Mormonism will make people less likely to vote for him. The answer turns out to be yes, but it could be worse. The article includes a graphic showing the results of a poll asking "would you be more, less, or equally likely to vote for a candidate who was..." Hispanic, female, divorced, etc. On the "less likely" scale, Mormon weighs in at 30 percent, Muslim, homosexual, and no college education all get 46 percent, but the hands-down winner is doesn't believe in God, at 63 percent.
“This is a deeply religious nation by many standards,” said Mark Rozell, a professor of public policy at George Mason University. “They want their leaders to be believers. They want them to believe in something higher, to have a moral framework as they lead the country.”
Now, I want to know: where does this notion come from that atheists have no moral framework? From reason and empathy, duly reinforced by precept and example, any four-year-old can figure out how to behave morally, and why it's a good idea. It all boils down to the Golden Rule, which by the by dates from several centuries BC.
I've seen it said that because atheists have no rule book, whenever they want to do something wrong they can just decide to play by different rules, if they have any at all. Apparently some people picture atheists as perpetual teenagers: "hey, Dad's not home? Party!!!" If you have a raging case of atheism envy, let me assure you that it is not so. Like any Christian or Buddhist or Muslim or Jew, an atheist knows that right from wrong is as plain as the answer to, "how would I feel if someone broke their promises to me or took my stuff or left their mess for me to clean up?" — only without even the consolation that everything will get straightened out in the hereafter.
(I'm not exactly an atheist myself, but I'm very fond of several; I describe myself as a semi-agnostic pagan, and think there's probably Someone(s) or Something(s) out there. I can never decide if I really believe this or just want to. I do believe, and this again may be wishful thinking, that if there's a final judgment it's based much more on actions than on adherence to a specific list of beliefs.)
I would go so far as to say that I might be more likely to vote for an avowed atheist (although in the current political climate I could just as well say that I'd vote for a unicorn), on the ground that they've thought all of this through and don't follow the crowd just because it's easier.
What do you think? (Given that all of my readers seem to be knitters, I probably don't have to ask anyone to be nice, but it is a touchy subject. Also, if your belief system compels the conclusion that I'm hellbound, please note that I already know this.)