Secular Sunday XIV – Spokane’s Secular Organizations

closePlease note: This post was published over a year ago, so please be aware that its content may not be quite so accurate anymore. Also, the format of the site has changed since it was published, so please excuse any formatting issues.

Today was a big day for me with regard to Spokane’s secular organizations. As some of you know, I’m the organizer of the Spokane Atheists Meetup. Today was our second meeting, but we were also invited to attend the Inland Northwest Freethought Society‘s June meeting.

Remember Secular Sunday X, where I talked about former Lutheran pastor Ray Ideus and his lawsuit against the city? Ray was at the INFS meeting (wearing an awesome T-shirt that said, “Atheist, and proud of it!”) and he’s a really nice guy – although, I didn’t bring up my argument against his lawsuit, so perhaps he’ll change his tune at some point in the future (but I doubt it).

From the 2 atheist meetings I attended today, I can tell that a major shift is about to take place in Spokane: secular groups are preparing to hit the scene in a big way. The past few years have seen many abuses by religious groups that are bad for our country. They have attacked our personal freedoms and managed to wedge religion into aspects of public life that the constitution clearly says must remain secular.

We know that this is going to be a David and Goliath situation (ha!), but we all recognize that we cannot remain silent while our constitutionally guaranteed right are trod upon.

0 People like this. Be the first!

1 Comment

  1. Tom

    Did you see this article: More Than 90 Percent of Americans Believe in God, Study Finds

    One in Five Self-Proclaimed Athiests Express Faith in Higher Power

    By Jacqueline L. Salmon

    Washington Post Staff Writer

    Monday, June 23, 2008; 12:00 PM

    More than 90 percent of Americans — including one in five people who say they are atheists — believe in God or a universal power, and more than half pray at least once a day, according to results of a poll released today that takes an in-depth look at Americans’ religious beliefs.

    The poll, by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, also found that nearly three-fourths of Americans believe in heaven as a place where people who have led good lives will be eternally rewarded. And almost 60 percent believe in hell, where people who have led bad lives and die without repenting are eternally punished, the poll found.

    Majorities also believe that angels and demons are at work in the world and that miracles occur today as they did in ancient times.

    “These are common beliefs among the American public,” said Gregory A. Smith, a research fellow at the Pew Forum, a D.C. think tank.

    This is the organization’s second report that is based on one of the largest polls of Americans’ religious beliefs ever conducted, with more than 36,000 adults interviewed.

    The first report released in February took a broad look at the American religious landscape, while this report dives deeply into the faith and politics of religious, and non-religious, Americans.

    On the political side, for example, it found, among Jews who pray daily, 36 percent are politically conservative — more than twice as many as those who pray less often. Among evangelical Christians, 56 percent who pray daily are politically conservative, compared to 40 percent of all other evangelical Christians.

    On the whole, though, that difference holds true more for Christian faiths than non-Christian faiths, the poll found. “Members of non-Christian faiths,” the report says, “tend to be much more moderate or liberal.”

    Two-thirds of Jews, Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists are Democrats or lean Democratic, compared with 22 percent of Mormons. Also, 77 percent of historically black churches are Democrats or lean Democratic, while only one-third of evangelical churches are Democrats or lean Democratic.

    It also found some agreement among the most faithful and the least faithful. While it confirms that those who attend church and pray frequently are most likely to oppose legalized abortion and believe that homosexuality should be discouraged, it finds less of a divide on other issues.

    More than 60 percent of Americans across the religious and secular spectrum want the government to do more to help the needy and support stronger environmental laws, for example. And majorities in most religions believe the United States should concentrate more on problems at home and pay less attention to problems overseas, according to the report.

    On these issues, “we can see a kind of consensus that exists across a great variety of religious groups,” said Smith.

    The study confirmed what is already known about the United States — that it is a deeply religious nation. But it fleshes out that stereotype with myriad details that add depth and complexity, and some surprises, to the picture.

    For example, along with 21 percent of the people who describe themselves as atheists but express a belief in God or a universal spirit, more than half of those who say they are agnostic express a similar conviction.

    But most Americans — even many of the most religiously conservative — have a non-exclusive attitude toward other faiths. Seventy percent of those affiliated with a religion believe that many religions, not just their own, can lead to eternal salvation. Just about one-quarter believe there is only one true way to interpret their own religion’s teachings.

    “Even though Americans tend to take religion quite seriously and are a highly religious people, there is a certain degree of openness and a lack dogmatism in their approach to faith and the teachings of their faith,” said Smith.

Leave a Reply