The voting patterns of religious groups in the U.S. have been scrutinized since the presidential election for evidence of shifting allegiances among the faithful. Many have wondered if a boost in Catholic support was behind Biden’s win or if a dip in support among evangelicals helped doom Trump.
But much less attention has been paid to one of the largest growing demographics among the U.S. electorate, one that has increased from around 5% of Americans to over 23% in the last 50 years: “Nones” – that is, the nonreligious.
I am a scholar of secularism in the U.S., and my focus is on the social and cultural presence of secular people – nonreligious people such as atheists, agnostics, humanists, freethinkers and those who simply don’t identify with any religion. They are an increasingly significant presence in American society, one which inevitably spills into the political arena.
The voters characterized as the “religious Right” continue at least as noisy as ever…while their economic and political power diminishes outside of the opportunist brigade in the Republican Party. And Trump has shattered that segment badly enough that it may be reduced to the same sort of historic footnote as George Wallace’s American Independent Party.
Meanwhile, I find Professor Zuckerman’s article encouraging – offering hope for scientific realism, hard facts, playing more of a role in American politics. Finally!