Calling Secular Voters to Make Ourselves Known to the Politicians


A button from the "I'm Secular and I Vote" campaign via

Secular voters are tired of being ignored during elections. That’s why the Freedom From Religion Foundation has launched the “I’m Secular and I Vote” campaign.
During election years, we atheists and agnostics have to pinch ourselves to remember we exist. Candidates have been so schooled in pandering to Bible Belters and the evangelical right has thrown its king-making power around so long that popular portrayals of the influence of religious voters are vastly exaggerated.
More the pity then that no one is wooing the “Nones,” the one-quarter of the adult U.S. population and one-third of all Millennials who identify as “nonreligious.” Political campaigns and parties haven’t caught up with the changing demographic that secular voters are the fastest-growing segment of the population by religious identification.
Pew Research Center recently reported that the Nones outnumber Roman Catholics today and technically form the largest single “denomination.” That should be big news to any campaign interested in reaching voters.
A major survey of FFRF membership (with 8,000 of our 23,500 dues-paying members participating) found that nonbelievers are highly educated and independent-minded. A quarter are veterans, a third are volunteers and 97 percent are registered voters (20 percent higher than the general population).
A full 70 percent decline to affiliate themselves with one of the major political parties, and more than 20 percent identify as independent voters. Thirty-six percent describe themselves as progressive or liberal.
So why aren’t seculars courted and treated as election-year VIPs?
Since President Obama was first elected, the number of religiously unaffiliated adults in America has grown by nearly 20 million. Yet most candidates and media outlets continue to focus their time on traditional religious groups. So we’re taking action to be more vocal and coordinated as a demographic that should not be ignored.
Our membership is concerned about the growing power grab by the Religious Right and its campaign to make over our secular laws in its own image. Freethinkers know that it is vital to work preserve civil liberties and keep religion out of government. In addition to supporting the separation of church and state, respondents list civil rights, women’s rights, reproductive freedom, environmental protection, marriage equality, and death with dignity among their top concerns.
The large and diverse network of free thought associations is now coordinating major national events, including the June 4 Reason Rally in Washington, D.C. To assist in our shared election-year goals, our organization is running ads and conducting national outreach to engage voters through our positive message of “I’m Secular and I Vote.”
Tens of millions of secular voters are waiting for a candidate who acknowledges them as a group and speaks forcefully about keeping religion out of government. Politicians need to start paying attention. Our campaign is designed to ensure that they do.

Annie Laurie Gaylor is co-president and co-founder of Freedom from Religion Foundation, a national nonpartisan and educational nonprofit organization based in Madison, Wis., that acts as a state/church watchdog and does not endorse candidates. Learn more about the “I’m Secular and I Vote” campaign at

2 thoughts on “Calling Secular Voters to Make Ourselves Known to the Politicians

  1. Secularism is also a religion. Each group has a variable agenda with different ranges of fervor, as stated by the author… The problem is that each group think they are right… and the other wrong…
    I do not see any difference… it’s a degree of respect for others opinions… and that is what we all need to understand. It is not competition… its acceptance of others ideas. The perception is that one group wants to dominate the other… but why not just relax and accept that others feel differently. Just as one group is offended by the most controlling, the other group has its own true believers.
    This is the problem with separating people into groups… once done, the other group is suspicious of the other group. We are all guilty of this… and what all of us must do is to recognize this and constantly remind ourselves not to prejudge people. it is all esoteric.. there is no answer… so, just back off. and stop trying to control and wield power over others.
    I is really not so difficult… yet we blow it all out of proportion.. the ultimate result is War.
    War over sheer stupidity. The solution is sooooo.. simple… relax…..Most religious and non-religious understands this… but it is the very few that screws it up for everybody. 2.22.16
    If I am a religious person… I would be offended by this article’s attitude… of self righteousness
    The same if I was non-religious .As human… we have this tendency to put ideas in a particular box… and that idea become iron clad.. Just live and let live is my motto. And it takes an extra effort and awareness to back off. .

    • ron hansing: I’ve never heard of secularism. I’ve heard of humanism and atheism which are sometimes used as a religion for apples-to-apples consideration in legal matters, but atheism is technically not a religion.
      I’ve participated in this survey and I don’t see it as any kind of fight or war. This was just a poll to let politicians know that there is a voting block ready and waiting for representation in our government.

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