Upon seeing a Harry Potter novel at a bookstore, Former Republican presidential candidate and Ohio governor John Kasich criticized its movie series star Daniel Radcliffe’s atheism. “What the [expletive] is wrong with him?” Kasich said.
His comment runs contrary to today’s views on atheism, according to a Christian Science Monitor story that quotes Richard Flory, CRCC’s senior director of research and evaluation, about the decreasing stigma around atheism. One in five Americans now do not identify as religious, according to one Pew research study.
“There’s an increased willingness to admit that religion isn’t part of their lives,” Flory said.
An excerpt from the article:
“Atheism has been the dark secret of American politics in the 21st century,” says Harvard’s Humanist chaplain and director of the Humanist Hub, Greg Epstein. “It is still next to impossible to run for office as an atheist or humanist in America,” he tells the Monitor in an interview, though he adds that some atheist and humanist candidates are campaigning for minor public offices.
Currently, Mr. Epstein says, there is only one openly humanist member of Congress, Pete Stark (D) of California, who gave his first public remarks on the subject in 2007.
Gallup polling numbers show a slow reduction in political bias against atheist candidates, with 40 percent of the country saying that they would refuse to vote for an atheist, down from 43 percent in 2012.
USC’s Dr. Flory credits the internet in part for helping spread acceptance for many different faiths, as it can expose curious individuals to views that might otherwise have been alien.
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