Religious 'nones' could shake up American politics — but many roadblocks stand in their way

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  • mdonalds1 Saratoga Springs, UT
    March 20, 2018 5:04 p.m.

    We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    March 19, 2018 6:54 a.m.

    @ Counter

    "umm, no: I reiterated the point..."

    On second reading of your comment, I agree. My mistake.

    To those complaining of the intolerance of some on the left, I too find it tiresome when "Racist!" or "Bigot!" gets screamed any time someone on the right gets so much as in the neighborhood of race or LGBT issues. It doesn't help the cause and it plays right into the hands of those on the right that are exploiting the victim position (which I find as obnoxious and unhelpful as the intolerance).

  • Edgar Samaria, ID
    March 15, 2018 8:12 a.m.

    I find it interesting and ironic that this article wants to mix the terms "Evangelical" with traditional religious morality. It is the Evangelical movement that currently stands firmly behind Donald Trump whose personal life of dishonesty, deceit and dishonor has brought shame to our nation and to the Office of the President. Despite my personal convictions as a committed and dedicated Mormon, I'll take the morality of the 'nones' over the lack of morality and lack of courage of the Evangelicals any day of the week.

  • EscherEnigma Ridgecrest, CA
    March 14, 2018 10:39 a.m.

    @Yar
    In most states it's perfectly legal to fire/refuse to hire, evict, refuse service, etc. and so-on someone because they are gay. In *some* states such things are illegal.

    In *every* state it's illegal to fire/refuse to hire, evict, refuse service, etc. and so-on someone because of what their God thinks about gays.

    So you want to talk "live and let live" and such? Even focusing on your preferred topic, non-discrimination law, y'all haven't been keeping up your side of the bargain. Ever.

    And lets be honest for a second. While non-discrimination laws are the *least* you've done to us, they're the *most* we've done to you.

    If we're the bad guys for using these laws, what does that make you?

  • Green Chille Albuquerque, NM
    March 14, 2018 9:20 a.m.

    It is entirely possible to be nonreligious and moral. I say that as a BYU grad, returned missionary, and "Orthodox Mormon." However, the organization and structure of religion provides an opportunity for people to live the morals they aspire to. Just like political parties allow their members a structure to discuss and enact policies that they feel drawn to.

    As discussed in "Bowling Alone" by Robert D. Putnam there is a great communal good in people associating with other people with something in common. It is what develops and maintains civic virtue and a concern for other people.

    @ Tolstoy - you say "there is no right to openly discriminate against others in the public square."

    Tell that to the farmers in South Africa who are victims of violence, the bright student who doesn't get a scholarship, and the top-flight company who doesn't get a government contract - all on account of race.

    It is Evil to be Anti-White.
    It is Evil to be Anti-Asian.

  • RBB Sandy, UT
    March 11, 2018 9:42 p.m.

    Baccus,

    If Republicans are looking out for the big corporation, why do most of the big corporations donate overwhelmingly to Democrats? Apple, Google, Facebook, Twitter, Walmart, Amazon, Cisco, Marriott, Delta, etc. donate to leftist causes. Small to midsized companies are far more likely to donate to Republican causes. Large companies know that they can use the government to crush competition with excessive regulation.

    As for the nones - those who are non/anti-religious are already voting Democrat. Those who are non-religious libertarian are most likely already voting Republican. Expanding the pool will not likely sway things much in either direction.

  • kinggator2 Murphy, NC
    March 11, 2018 3:33 a.m.

    I am a life-long atheist. There seems to be an assumption that organizing "nones" would accrue to the benefit of the Democrat Party, but I'm not so sure. I wouldn't vote for a Democrat if you put a gun to my head. Do Republicans irritate me with some of their religious posturing? Sure. But there is much, much more to the public policy debate that has nothing to do with religion.

    I also find the intolerance on the Left for anyone that doesn't march in lock step, including and perhaps especially the religious, to be odious. Talk of driving the religious from the public policy debate? Really? I'd be embarrassed and ashamed to advance such a notion.

    If you can't start from the belief that most people are good and simply trying to make sense of the world the best they can, but instead have to assume those who disagree with you are somehow evil, then you're worse than the religiously pious ever were and I have no time for you. Here's the test: If you do, or ever have assumed that those on the other side of the debate came to their beliefs due to "hate", you have a nine year-olds understanding of the world and its people. Grow up. The sandbox is big enough for everyone.

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    March 9, 2018 7:54 p.m.

    @counterintelligence
    The word separation denotes two sides to an equation. We somewhat presented one side. It may benefit you to explain the other side. Government does not belong in people’s personal religion, or churches or hanging witches in the public square. This doesn’t excuse people engaged in public commerce from observing government laws and civil rights. If you are saying there should be no separation then that is just a terrible idea. Plus, it would jeopardize religious institutions tax exempt status.

  • Counter Intelligence Salt Lake City, UT
    March 9, 2018 2:13 p.m.

    @Nuschler121 and Skeptic
    "what part of separation of church and state do you NOT understand?"

    I would ask you the same question, since
    1) the phrase appears nowhere in the constitution and
    2) using separation as a bully club excuse to silence others is a violation of the First Amendment. a religious person has as much right to speech as anyone else. There is no freedom FROM religion, you have the right to not believe, but not the right to impose that onto others or silence them.

    I am a "none" but it is that intolerance in the name of tolerance mentality where I get lost with pop secular extremist ideology: your argument/implication that religion does not also enjoy freedom of speech and should be banned from the public sphere is a horrifying affront to the basic concepts of tolerance and pluralism.

    It is also ironic that you provide examples that illustrate the religious people in your life being more tolerant of other peoples points of view than what you will allow for them

  • spiffy Winfield, IL
    March 9, 2018 1:01 p.m.

    Given the type of people evangelicals (especially those on the Right) support these day..... Roy Moore...alleged child molester...Donald Trump...documented adulterer in THREE in different marriages (we have the kids as proof), sex with porn stars he pays to have sex with while Melania was pregnant. Pathological lying on Right (again video Trump specifically). In KN, the REPUBLICAN SENATE just torpedoed a bill that would prohibit marriage to a minor. Really guys, that's Taliban ideology? These are the Christian values you want everyone to follow? I'll follow my own, using Christ as a guideline even though I am agnostic. Pretty sure he would not lie, or sleep with your best friends wife because he thinks its and can do it because of who he is, or grab some random female because he feels he's entitled to.

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    March 9, 2018 10:36 a.m.

    Plain and simple: religion ( if it be theism or anti theism) dosn't belong in the public square or in public government. Keep it to yourselves, your churches, and in your homes, but not in the face of others. You feel you have the one true religion and there are over thirty thousand other true religions competing with you and you want us to listen to you, why. There are so many good things you can do for man kind and your communities outside of your religious prejudices. Go find them, do some honorable voluntary work at your hospitals, schools, community center, etc. Gook luck.

  • Nuschler121 Villa Rica, GA
    March 9, 2018 9:53 a.m.

    1) Deseret News!
    You have a typo under EVERY photo caption! It SHOULD say NON affiliated religious!”

    2) what part of separation of church and state do you NOT understand?

    Utah is part of the USA. If you want to secede from the union and become a sovereign state then do it!

    But you will then lose federal dollars, all military bases, funding for National Parks and Monuments, and BYU and Utah will be tossed out of the NCAA as our schools will now be considered foreign entities. No more federal grant money including maintaining I-80, I-15, and I-70.

    I am an agnostic and I walk the walk of a good Christian every day of my life. I am not a lawless “heathen.”

    I do NOT push any agenda. I am an MD who worked for IHC and at rural clinics that paid little. I’m here on earth to help people.

    For two years I lived by the Prophet Spencer Kimball and his wonderful wife Camille. I knew Henry Eyring Sr and Jr. They ALL knew I didn’t believe in a god. But they accepted me completely. We discussed science, philosophy, Shakespeare, and American authors.

    I’m a good person as are other agnostics I’ve run into. Most of us aren’t activists!

    We’re just your neighbors! Love is so important!

  • Counter Intelligence Salt Lake City, UT
    March 9, 2018 8:44 a.m.

    @Karen R. -
    "I think you missed the point of the article. As your personal example indicates, being a "none" doesn't say much of anything about a person except that s/he doesn't adhere to an organized religion"

    umm, no: I reiterated the point, as my personal example indicated. But I am not sure of your point (unless it is merely to be contrary)

  • Tolstoy salt lake, UT
    March 8, 2018 8:11 p.m.

    @Yar -
    No one is stopping you from practicing your religion however there is no right to openly discriminate against others in the public square and people are unlikely to just stop preventing such behaviors.

  • Yar Springville, UT
    March 8, 2018 3:23 p.m.

    @Tolstoy

    Here, let me explain something to you. If liberals folks gave religious folk benefit of the doubt and stopped trying to sue us or punish us simply for following our religious beliefs, I would have a much more positive view of their values. Unfortunately, what I've seen is the exact opposite.

    For example, you'd think after Obergefell vs Hodges, they'd leave us religious folk alone and enjoy the freedoms they earned and everyone, especially the LGBT folks, lives happily ever after. Instead, they continued harassing people of faith even more, virtually labeling everyone person opposed to same-sex marriage as "bigots" or labels similar to it, wrongfully so more often then not. I find LGBT rights to be a worthy cause and something useful in society in general, but I wish they would not be so aggressive when they promote their agenda. At the very least, if they allowed religious folks to live their faith and stopped coercing religious folks to give up their beliefs, I'd view them much more positively. They get to be represented positively in life and never be harassed again, while religious folk can keep their faith and live peacefully.

  • Spalding55 Placentia, CA
    March 8, 2018 2:52 p.m.

    @sashabill - Morgan Hill, CA
    “In short, liberals are all for involvement in the public square -- as long as you happen to agree with them.”

    Unfortunately there are a number of examples where both liberals and conservatives dance to that tune.

  • sashabill Morgan Hill, CA
    March 8, 2018 11:32 a.m.

    Tolstoy,
    We don't trust liberals because they have demonstrated their inconsistency and lack of sincerity on this matter. Liberals were all for freedom of conscience and religious involvement during the Civil Rights and anti-war movements of the 1960s and '70s. Some examples included: Malcolm Boyd (Episcopal priest), William Sloane Coffin (chaplain at Yale), the Berrigan brothers (Catholic priests), not to mention Revs. M.L. king, Ralph Abernathy, and the other Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish leaders involved with pacifism or civil rights. Curiously, I don't recall any complaints from the liberal community about separation of church and state.

    In more recent years, liberals have interestingly changed their tune about religious involvement when people began disagreeing with them on issues like abortion (the right to life) or same sex marriage. They objected to LDS or Catholic involvement in California's Prop 8 campaign, while voicing no such complaint to Unitarian, UCC, or Episcopalian involvement in the No on 8 Campaign.

    In short, liberals are all for involvement in the public square -- as long as you happen to agree with them.

  • Thomas Jefferson Cottonwood Heights, UT
    March 8, 2018 10:52 a.m.

    Third try screen name says:

    "@Baccus0902

    By "values" I mean traditional marriage, the work ethic and sanctity of life.

    Now...which party does that remind you of?"

    And here we have the crux of the issue. 'Third' seems to think it is up to HIM and those who think like him to decide what 'values' are. And at the same time he makes the assertion that HIS 'team' are the hard workers, and care about life, implying that 'those people' arent.

  • Tolstoy salt lake, UT
    March 8, 2018 10:23 a.m.

    @Yar

    "If that happens, the "nones" could help drive faith groups from the public square, reducing religious exemptions meant to protect people with more conservative beliefs..."

    "And liberals wonder why we don't trust them."

    you don't trust liberal because a conservative religiously owned newspaper is making the claim that the "nones" my push religious people out of the public square? So liberal are no responsible for claims made by a conservative religiously owned paper?

  • sashabill Morgan Hill, CA
    March 8, 2018 10:17 a.m.

    strom thurmond,

    See my earlier comment. Are you interested in driving all faith groups from the public square, or only in driving away the ones which disagree with you?

  • Yar Springville, UT
    March 8, 2018 10:06 a.m.

    "If that happens, the "nones" could help drive faith groups from the public square, reducing religious exemptions meant to protect people with more conservative beliefs..."

    And liberals wonder why we don't trust them.

  • I have my opinion Kaysville, UT
    March 8, 2018 9:54 a.m.

    ‘Nones’ (incorrectly) claim the title of “intellectuals” which they feel makes their opinion automatically more important than a religious/spiritual person. Sorry, being a religious person makes me just as much as a ‘intellectual’ than anyone else. I know idiots, some are atheists and some are religious. And I know very smart/respected people, some are atheists and some are religious. People’s religious status should be taken out of the discussion; let each person speak based on facts and opinion.

  • strom thurmond taylorsville, UT
    March 8, 2018 6:45 a.m.

    “If that happens, the "nones" could help drive faith groups from the public square, reducing religious exemptions meant ”

    Count me in

  • The Atheist Provo, UT
    March 8, 2018 5:41 a.m.

    "Religious disaffiliation is not a key identifier for them... Very few come with the identity of a religious 'none.'"

    "Them?"

    You cannot infer anything about a person's politics, ethics or morality based on what they do NOT believe.

    "Atheist" is a label applied by believers to those who do not share their beliefs.

    It is a label used by those who claim to be able to "see" the Emperor's New Clothes, to condemn, oppress and ostracize those who refuse to go along with that scam.

  • sashabill Morgan Hill, CA
    March 8, 2018 12:40 a.m.

    Count me as a long-time Republican who has--at best-- mixed feelings about the influence of the Religious Right in the GOP. The Republican Party is a political organization, not a theological one. In over half a century, nobody has ever explained to me what theology (or what religious affiliation) a person must have in order to be a Republican . I have more or less "romped" across the religious spectrum, from growing up as only mildly religious, to being openly anti-religious in my young adult years, to (later) becoming LDS. During all of that time, I have been consistently an active Republican.

    That being said, it is interesting how secular "nones" complain about the mixing of religion with conservative politics, while I never hear them voice any such objection to the liberal political advocacy which regularly comes forth from such bodies as the Unitarians, United Church of Christ, the Lutherans (ELCA), or National Council of Churches. I find this rather amusing, not to mention blatantly hypocritical.

  • Baccus0902 Leesburg, VA
    March 7, 2018 4:42 p.m.

    @ Third try screen name
    " @Baccus0902 By "values" I mean traditional marriage, the work ethic and sanctity of life.
    Now...which party does that remind you of?"

    Third, thank you for a very interesting questions
    :
    Traditional Marriage: However, If you consider a traditional marriage the union of two individuals, of age, who love each other. In that regard I think no party is ahead of the other.

    Work Ethic: I think a worker should work honest time in exchange for proper compensation.
    I think the Democratic Party does by far a better job than the Republican party in protecting the integrity of the workers against the abuses of corporations and others who control the means of production.

    Sanctity of life:
    There is no contest here:
    The Democratic Party favors :
    Universal Health Care for all from conception to death.
    Public Education the great equalizer .
    Welfare System for those in need.
    Gun Control to prevent senseless deaths of innocents in the home, school or street.
    Question the validity and efficacy of Capital Punishment.
    Sensible Sexual Education and availability of prevention against pregnancy and STDs. to reduce and prevent unnecessary abortions.

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    March 7, 2018 6:34 a.m.

    @ Counter

    I think you missed the point of the article. As your personal example indicates, being a "none" doesn't say much of anything about a person except that s/he doesn't adhere to an organized religion (or, possibly, the individual feels as if organized religion won't accept him/her).

  • Counter Intelligence Salt Lake City, UT
    March 6, 2018 7:32 p.m.

    I do not belong to any religion, so I suppose I am technically a "none"; however it would be wrong to make much of an inverse inference about my faith or politics based upon that.

    Intolerance usually hides behind an otherwise noble cause, and while it is possible to be an "extremist " in the name of traditional values (God, motherhood, patriotism), it is just as likely to be an "extremist" for more fashionable causes. In PC America, hate in the name of rescuing victims (most identity politics) is supported by popular culture and ignored (or praised) by the press; making it far more insidious than traditional forms of venom and its perpetrators seem to be far less capable of self introspection than traditionalists.

    I must chuckle at those who claim that the Republican party left them, when in fact Utahns (of many faiths ) were devoutly Democratic until the 1970's, when the D party chased people away.

    In the end: I try to be intellectually liberal, which generally puts me at odds with political liberals. I experience the religous right to be more open minded than the irreligious left.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    March 6, 2018 7:22 p.m.

    @ThirdTry;

    By "Values" we mean Marriage Equality, a strong work ethic (hint: it's not just conservatives who have strong work ethics) and the sanctity of life (if you support the death penalty or war, you do not value the sanctity of life).

    This reminds me of the Democratic party; the part of "treat others as you would like them to treat you" (which is clearly *not* the Republican party).

  • Tolstoy salt lake, UT
    March 6, 2018 7:17 p.m.

    @Third try screen name
    Based on your “values” it is pretty clear which party you should vote for.
    As a “value voter,” as we all are, I value equality, social justice, compassion, freedom for people to control their own medical decisions and will vote accordingly.

  • Third try screen name Mapleton, UT
    March 6, 2018 5:47 p.m.

    @Baccus0902

    By "values" I mean traditional marriage, the work ethic and sanctity of life.

    Now...which party does that remind you of?

  • Kralon HUNTINGTON BEACH, CA
    March 6, 2018 3:37 p.m.

    The voters more likely to shake up any election are the political "nones", not the religious "nones".

    The vast majority of American are political "nones", regarding those who staunchly (blindly) support any party as extremists. The truth and the path is not with Democrats, Republicans or any political party. The truth and the path forward is found between political parties.

  • Seldom Seen Smith Orcutt, CA
    March 6, 2018 12:47 p.m.

    Organizing atheists, agnostics, secular humanists and the like is like herding cats.

  • scrappy do DRAPER, UT
    March 6, 2018 12:19 p.m.

    The ‘nones’ do not believe in or are apathetic to large organizations of any kind
    Corporations.. churches... civic groups.. governments... corralling them to vote in a herd is the antithesis of who they are... most likely they will just stay home on election day

  • Baccus0902 Leesburg, VA
    March 6, 2018 11:51 a.m.

    @Third try screen name .

    " They don't like the term "Values Voters," but prefer "Evangelicals."
    I think Evangelicals is not accurate either but at least it acknowledges your perception that your political idea is based on the gospel.

    "Value Voters" as an identifier is just another attempt from the political right to hijack the term values, You see, we voters, all voters, are "Value Voters", we all vote our values. My values may be different than yours but are "my values".

    I am a "none", ironically because I am a Christian. The Religious Right, in my opinion, does not represent the teachings of the Carpenter from Nazareth that I follow . The Religious Right represent, money, power, and political influence at the service of those who control the Republican Party....big corporations.

  • Ralph Salt Lake City, UT
    March 6, 2018 11:48 a.m.

    Gandhi said it best — 'I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.'

    If there's one thing that could turn people away from the teachings of Christ, it would have to be how Christians act as a group.

    Christians these days seem so un-Christian.

  • DSattheU Ogden, UT
    March 6, 2018 11:34 a.m.

    @Impartial7: "Fact is, so called "value voters" (self labeled evangelicals), mostly vote in lockstep with their ministers. Evangelical leaders spike their emotion with exaggerating messages that Democrats are going to make their kids take birth control or get abortions. That they're going to take their religion away. Make them get gay married. Take their guns. And, those gullible enough to follow these zealots are also gullible enough to believe those messages. There's a reason Republicans spend a lot of time and money on evangelicals, their leaders think for them." You put that slanted opinion as: "fact is..."?

    Exaggerate much?! Your screen name is a long way from your discourse. In the few comments on this story there is an air of arrogance that more and more pervades the atheistic/agnostic community. To cast this discussion as those being controlled by religious leaders versus "free thinkers" is to build a straw man argument. Get over yourselves already.

    I also feel that the Republican Party left me but not for the religious right extremists. I know many people of faith who dislike Mr. Trump, so don't paint with that broad brush either.

  • Impartial7 DRAPER, UT
    March 6, 2018 10:56 a.m.

    @thirdtryscreenname;
    "Journalists never tire of a supposed connection between votes and religion. They even create narrative phrases as shorthand for their hobby.
    They don't like the term "Values Voters," but prefer "Evangelicals."
    Reporters assume some sort of dog whistle that ministers use to get entire congregations to vote for Republicans."

    So, you don't like the fact filled, thoroughly researched article from the D-News Faith writer, so you attach her profession? Fact is, so called "value voters" (self labeled evangelicals), mostly vote in lockstep with their ministers. Evangelical leaders spike their emotion with exaggerating messages that Democrats are going to make their kids take birth control or get abortions. That they're going to take their religion away. Make them get gay married. Take their guns. And, those gullible enough to follow these zealots are also gullible enough to believe those messages. There's a reason Republicans spend a lot of time and money on evangelicals, their leaders think for them.

  • Third try screen name Mapleton, UT
    March 6, 2018 10:16 a.m.

    Journalists never tire of a supposed connection between votes and religion. They even create narrative phrases as shorthand for their hobby.

    They don't like the term "Values Voters," but prefer "Evangelicals."

    Reporters assume some sort of dog whistle that ministers use to get entire congregations to vote for Republicans.

    Then they go on to point out that their votes were wasted on reprobates, supposedly concluding that Democrat candidates would have been a better, moral choice.

    As seen here, they spool out column inches slicing, dicing and parsing data to prove their point.

    Such is "journalism" today.

  • Impartial7 DRAPER, UT
    March 6, 2018 10:12 a.m.

    Exactly. I was a Republican for 26 years. I didn't leave the GOP, they left me. Especially in Utah. Most Evangelical preachers (Falwell, Swaggart, Jim Bakker, etc.) used to be viewed as extremists. When the GOP embraced them and pointed to them as righteous examples. People went "huh?" When Republicans started passing laws, backed by religious groups, people went "Stop". When Evangelicals support an immoral guy like Trump, people went "See ya". My 84 year old mother, lifelong Republican, sat out this past Presidential election, I went "Great!". She couldn't bring herself to vote for Hillary, I get that, but she had the integrity to not vote for Trump. She has since become further disgusted with Trump and the spineless GOP that puts Party over Country.

  • sgallen Salt Lake City, UT
    March 6, 2018 8:48 a.m.

    I'm excited for the day when voters everywhere are free-thinkers, instead of being trapped in the religion of their youth under threat of eternal damnation.

  • Thomas Jefferson Cottonwood Heights, UT
    March 6, 2018 8:24 a.m.

    I am happy that people are trying to organize the 'nones' but as the article says, it is a group with wide ranging political beliefs. But hopefully we can all agree that government should stay out of religion and religion should stay out of government-which does NOT mean religious people cant serve. Just that laws are based on facts, not fiction.

    "But secular activists assert that they're not on a warpath against religion. They want to raise the profile of the "nones," not attack other religious demographics."
    This is a great example. I dont agree with this statement. I want to live long enough to see religious influence to die off in all democracies. I wish I could live long enough to see the agnostic atheists make up 80% of the voting public and the religious to make up