Matthew Sheffield writes a provocative article in The American Conservative taking the GOP to task for its close ties to evangelical Christianity. Sheffield's highlights the importance of our presence at CPAC (the Conservative Political Action Conference) this year. If our political system is going to flourish, we can't have a major political party catering to and being led by a shrinking group of religious extremists.
Sheffield points out the explosive growth of the non-religious demographic and the fact that no party is talking about reaching out to us.
In the past several years, many trees have been felled and pixels electrocuted in the service of discussion about the impact of Hispanics on the American electorate. No one knows for sure which way they’ll vote in the future but everyone is interested in discussing it. Curiously, though, an even larger political shift is taking place yet receiving almost no attention whatsoever from political reporters—the emergence of post-Christian America.
The growth of our community is unmistakable, but it is possible that the growth is actually understated. Sheffield, again:
While those statistics on the growth of religiously unaffiliated ought to be impressive enough to warrant serious discussion, the reality is that public polling almost certainly underestimates the numbers of the faithless because many religious Americans have strongly negative opinions of those who are atheists or agnostics. This negativity makes non-believers less willing to publicly admit to their opinions.
The most eye opening numbers in Sheffield's piece come from the 2012 election and the margins of victory in a number of key swing states.
It is no coincidence that as non-belief has increased in these regions, the Republican party’s fortunes there have declined accordingly. The 2012 election provided many examples of how Republicans are losing elections thanks to the Godless Gap. In 7 key states (Pennsylvania, Florida, Virginia, Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, and New Hampshire), Mitt Romney won the majority of the Christian vote but ended up losing overall because he was defeated so soundly among non-Christians.
Sheffield's entire piece deserves a read. You can check it out here.