Friday, January 27, 2017

Atheists Can't Count Votes

I generally read Kevin Drum's blog at Mother Jones Magazine and I generally agree with what he said and I generally like him, though, as can be seen in my archives, I also think he can be, as my father used to say,  "full of soup".  Especially those posts of a quasi-atheist-peudo-skeptical character.  I seldom read Atrios, aka Duncan Black, mostly because he hardly writes anymore but also because when he does, it's generally pointless.  Put the two together and you get one of Kevin Drum's blog posts that I think is full of soup.  It's short so I'll quote the whole thing.

Atrios writes:

"At least with the election of Trump we don't have numerous think pieces (and sweet sweet consulting cash) about how Democrats just need to pretend to love Jesus more.

I always thought that stuff was wrong politically, but also really offensive to actual religious people (I am not one). Just hit the love Jesus button often enough and the rubes will believe you.

True enough. For the moment, working-class whites have replaced religious folks as the iconic group that everyone thinks Democrats need to reach out to."

[Kevin Drum continues]

But it actually goes further than this. One of the things Donald Trump taught us last year is the ultimate hollowness of the Christian right. Trump is the most obviously unreligious person to run for president in—well, probably forever. He doesn't go to church. He hasn't read the Bible. His lifestyle would make Hugh Hefner blush. He doesn't pray. He doesn't ask forgiveness from God for his sins. He's not born again. There is literally nothing in his 70 years on this earth that suggests he's anything but a stone atheist.

But that didn't matter. All he had to do was make a few awkward and obviously fake protestations of faith, and that was that. His insincerity was palpable to anyone paying the slightest attention, but everyone decided not to pay attention. As long as he mouthed the right words, everything was fine.

The Christian right has never been about actual faith. Like any other interest group, they just want what they want: abortion restrictions, money for private schools, opposition to gays, and so forth. As long as you're on board, they don't care what's in your heart. They never have, and that's why the suggestion that Democrats need to be more publicly devout has always been so misguided. Faith doesn't matter. Empathy for people of faith doesn't matter. The only thing that matters is supporting the Christian right's retrograde social views, and Democrats were never going to do that.

I wrote on this several times after the election, especially on the figures then being tossed around by the Pew organization.  And wouldn't you know it, I wrote it in response to some of the members of Atrios' idea of an Athenaeum

Among other things I pointed out that some of the largest denominations in the United States which had a majority of its members who voted for Trump ALSO HAD A SIGNIFICANT PERCENTAGE OF ITS MEMBERS WHO VOTED FOR CLINTON.  Since a combination of such denominations as the Southern Baptists, Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, The United Methodist Church, The Presbyterian Church in America - which had a Clinton vote of from 24% to 35% not to mention all of those which Pew showed as having a higher percentage who voted for Clinton as opposed to Trump ALL OF THEM HAVING A SIGNIFICANT BUT SMALLER PERCENTAGE WHO VOTED FOR SOMEONE ELSE THAT ADDS UP TO A VERY LARGE NUMBER OF VOTES WHICH DEMOCRATS CAN RETAIN AND BUILD ON,

It's a matter of figuring out actual numbers on the basis of percent of the totals and comparing them.  And, I will point out that neither atheists nor agnostics in their relatively tiny numbers voted for Clinton uniformly.  Trump got 15% of the atheist vote and 21% of the agnostic vote according to Pew.   If you want to throw in the phony category of "Nones" he got 26% of their vote, A HIGHER PERCENTAGE THAN CLINTON GOT FROM MANY OF THE MOST CONSERVATIVE "EVANGELICAL OR CONSERVATIVE" GROUPS,   EVEN THE MORMONS, gave her roughly a fifth of their votes.

It's astonishing to me that someone with a PhD in economics and a journalist sci-geek type like Drum could be so entirely clueless as to not understand that to ignore religious voters to satisfy the tiny number of anti-religious and atheist voters is mathematical incompetence that I'd expect a clever fifth-grader to be able to see.  That and the idea that in order to win an election you have to get more votes, in the case of Democrats under the neo-Jim Crow set up by Republicans, the Republican Supreme Court and facilitated by the anti-democratic founders,  you have to get even more, more votes.



  1. Media anointed "religious right" "leaders" like Ralph Reed (who should have been in jail with Abramoff), Focus on the Family, and Falwell's offspring, were the ones who supported Trump and supposedly gave him the backing of large numbers of Christians.

    Interestingly, almost none of the figures (save the Dallas Baptist preacher who almost shares my name) who praised Trump were pastors of churches, or even TV preachers/evangelists. They supported Trump because they are about power, not because of anything to do with Christianity or even religion in general.

    If you want to discard them and even their followers, politically speaking, I'm fine with that. If you want to discard religion in general, that's simply political suicide.

  2. It's official -- you actually are the stupidest person on the planet.

    Here's a clue, Sparky -- anybody who professes to be a Christian and voted for Trump isn't. They're stupid, evil or both, but a Christian? Jesus would weep.

    1. Oh, dear, Stupy, learn to read. Then learn what the concept of larger and smaller numbers is. I think that will tax your faculties sufficiently for the period between now and your eventual sunset into complete senility. If there is any time left in that interval.

      Let me guess, Atrios' idea of an Atheneum is waxing on whatever part of this you clipped so as to not include the point of it.

    2. I'd have said "waxing wroth" but my guess is that "waxing ignorant or stupid or wrong" or all of those would be more accurate.

  3. Did I say you're the stupidest person on the planet? I forgot to add that you're the most clinically insane as well.

    1. Not so long as you're alive.

      And Tlaz, and Skeps, and any number of other Eschatoids.