Saturday, January 23, 2010

The next proposition: ban atheist marriage!

From the Pew Foundation, in a study on race, we find this morsel:
The survey finds that most Americans also are ready to accept intermarriage in their family if the new spouse is Hispanic or Asian. But there is one new spouse that most Americans would have trouble accepting into their families: someone who does not believe in God. Seven-in-ten people who are affiliated with a religion say they either would not accept such as marriage (27%) or be bothered before coming to accept it (42%).
To do the math for you, that means only 31% of Americans of faith are fine with having an atheist in the family. Compare this to the inter-racial issue, where 64% or whites are okay with a family member marrying a black, and 80% of blacks have no problem with a family member marrying a white. From a previous Pew study, 35% of Americans support same sex marriage (this drops to 21% for regular church goers, and rises to 67% for people without religious affiliation). I've graphed these numbers for you below.

So does this mean that we can expect a new proposition, banning marriage to atheists? Come on, isn't that the logical next step?


Erp said...

On another blog I read, it was pointed out that many non-religious might be concerned if their son or daughter brought home a staunch fundamentalist as a prospective spouse.

IT said...

Well, i think that's unlikely on the face of it....most atheists I know are very easy going about faith issues (and many of them, like me, are in "mixed" marriages!)

JCF said...

I think that if the kind of bigotry atheists face were formalized (as it is towards LGBTs) the masses of atheists would RISE UP against it, in a way that we haven't seen LGBTs do (at their most militant!).

That's the {ahem} problem w/ LGBTs: we're just as Christian as our straight kin, and the flavor of Christianity we're most likely to espouse is actually the most Christ-like, "Turn the Other Cheek" variety.

P*ssed-off atheists, w/o such constraints, would be Scaaa-aaary! ;-/

Erp said...

And if the future child-in-law thought you damned?

I agree most atheists are fairly easy going and wouldn't be concerned with most religious potential in-laws. My parents are a "mixed" marriage (though admittedly they've been separated for years but not because of religion).

JCF, I should point out that some bigotry to atheists is formalized (though not necessarily legal in the US). It is illegal to be an atheist in many countries (Indonesia for instance). Atheists can't get married in Israel unless (a) they go through a religious ceremony (of a recognized religion) or (b) get married outside the country. However I suspect it is far easier to pass as a theist than as a straight. Perhaps IT who is neither can give some insight.

IT said...

Well, I can "pass". I don't know how much that insulates me from some of this bias.

I was confirmed Roman Catholic, so I'm technically a Catholic, regardless of my belief state. 8 years of parochial school give me a familiarity with the "lingo". I read theology for fun. And, let's face it, i go to church every sunday with my wife.

As far as my sexuality, I can pass there too. I'm not stereotypically lesbian, I'm not really different from my peer academics. So it's not like I have a red "A" or "L" to tell folks I'm a Godless homo.

BUT there are a lot of angry secular progressives who feel that"Christians' attack them all the time. Over on Daily Kos, I'm a Christian Apologist, which is pretty dam' funny if you think about it.

Erp said...

I could pass as Christian though I was never baptized (I do attend the local university church but as a humanist not a christian). The problem of hiding whether one is gay or straight is that it takes two to make a relationship so if you want a relationship one has to be 'out' in some venue even if quite limited.

Admittedly I suspect some people are quite obtuse. Most Americans assume you are Christian unless you are obviously not (and for some people it has to be really obvious). The same I suspect with sexual orientation (I'm fairly certain that some staff people assume some professors are straight even when they fairly obviously aren't). Admittedly this is the same university where, some time ago, no one twigged until he died that a certain professor was bigamously married despite having one wife on the forms and another at all the office parties (he also had a third wife in a remote location, none of the wives knew about the others).

btw what do you have a link to your Daily Kos articles?

NancyP said...

Don't you believe those surveys! I find it difficult to believe that whites are half as likely to be bothered by a family member marrying a black person (said hypothetical marriage getting 64% approval) than an atheist (31%). People who answer surveys know what the "respectable" answer should be, and lie.

Many non-religious and liberal religious people would be bothered by their child, particularly a daughter, marrying a strict fundamentalist. The Christian fundamentalist patriarchal structure and ideology does tend to minimize physical and mental abuse of wives and often children.

David said...

I'd be a whole heck of a lot more concerned if one of my kids brought home a right-wing, fundamentalist Christian as a fiancé vs. a non-religious one. (Hopefully I'll raise them better than that ;)