As November’s midterm election approaches, nonbelievers in the U.S. are trying to build something that has long eluded them: political power.
The portion of U.S. adults who don’t identify with any religious group rose to 24% of the population in 2016 from 14% in 2000, according to the Public Religion Research Institute. But their political influence has lagged behind: Just 15% of voters in 2016 identified as not belonging to a religious group, according to exit polls.
A coalition of secular organizations is now determined to close that gap. This summer, they kicked off a nationwide voter registration drive, which will culminate with a get-out-the-secular-vote campaign in the fall. Their goal is also to politically galvanize nonbelievers around issues like separation of church and state and access to abortion.
There’s just one catch: How to unite a group of people whose common denominator is what they don’t believe? And even on that point, they are heterogeneous: 16% of religiously unaffiliated Americans still describe themselves as a “a religious person,” according to PRRI.
“We don’t meet every week. That’s an issue,” said Ron Millar, PAC coordinator for the Center for Freethought Equality, a nonprofit group dedicated to boosting secularists’ political power.
Nonbelievers hope to translate their growing numbers into more political power, but their aversion to proselytizing can be a hurdle https://t.co/KC1BiTQWab
— The Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) September 8, 2018