It is my observation that we are headed toward a single party system, and I don’t mean the usual rubbish about the parties being essentially the same. No, in my view the Republican Party has adopted positions that will starve its ranks and render it obsolete. It has become the Party of God.
Marco Rubio went all Jesus on us in a new ad. Huckabee considers the Ten Commandments and prayer the best solution for America (link contains language and antitheism). As though a union between church and state and wishful thinking were solutions of any kind. Huckabee has also aligned with the likes of Kim Davis, an anti-gay bigot.
The “Cruz Commander,” in a blatantly sycophantic endorsement, associated himself with Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson. Phil Robertson is well known for anti-gay remarks and claims that black people were better off pre-civil rights. According to him, “Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues.” Of course they were singing the blues which is perhaps my favorite genre.
I don’t suspect it is necessary I provide further examples to make my point. The Republican Party has associated itself with homophobia, atheophobia (the fear of disbelief in a god or gods), transphobia, and fascistic anti-First Amendment sentiments. The party is known for preventing freedom of choice in bodily autonomy concerning drugs and abortion, preventing adequate sexual education, being anti-contraception, anti-evolution and other aspects of science, etc.
I don’t mean to assert for a second that all Republicans share these sentiments. They don’t. This is the party’s unfortunately repugnant face because the aforementioned antipathies and stances are not rejected by a majority of party leadership.
This is a problem, because Republican leaders lack the perspicacity to see the change in their constituents. Religious “nones” are at the highest rate recorded in the United States with a third of millennials rejecting any religious affiliation. This is due in large part to the power of the internet to challenge our ideas and expose us to more information which breaks the chokehold of forbidden knowledge in the home, church, or school. Another factor is the fact that older generations are dying out to be replaced by millennials.
This does not mean that all of these people are atheists. Many of them are and simply don’t identify with that word i.e. a person may euphemistically identify as a humanist, secularist, or unbeliever. Additionally, there are those who call themselves agnostic not realizing that agnosticism and atheism address different questions, or they may prefer agnostic to atheist due to stigma. Others in this group may be deists, others may believe in spiritual woo woo, etc.
A fact remains to be gleaned from this information. The number of religious “nones” and open atheists will only continue to grow in the same fashion as Europe. David Silverman, President of American Atheists, with whom I spoke at CPAC 2015 argues that the number of atheists is much higher than polls indicate and it’s a matter of coming out and unification.
In discussion with David Silverman, he speculated that the number of atheists and religious “nones” who would vote Republican or Conservative is roughly equivalent to that of the general population. However, the Republican Party drives away people who favor small government, free markets, and are pro-Second Amendment because those same people often favor separation of church and state, legal marijuana, women’s rights, gay liberation, death with dignity, and other “liberal” ideas.
I am one of those people for whom the Republican Party will not make room. How many millions turn to Democratic politicians with whom they disagree on economic and governmental issues because they can’t find a Republican who isn’t looney on social issues with a chance at the nomination? By how many millions will this number grow in the next 30 years? 50 years?
The Republican Party is associating itself with a brand of Christianity that doesn’t even represent the majority of Christians. Evangelicals are the largest single religious demographic, yet they only account for about 25 percent of the country. Guess which religious demographic is soon to eclipse them. The “nones,” at about 23 percent.
If the Republican Party is to stay relevant, it will have to keep its message secular. Independents have reached a record high of 42 percent while Republicans have fallen to 25 percent, according to Gallup. Republicans are failing to provide a message that interests their changing constituents, and if they continue to do so they will become obsolete.