As an atheist, I only go to church when I’m forced to. And as a civic-minded citizen of West Hills, CA, that’s about twice a year–on election day.
How is it that in a country where separation of church and state is constitutionally mandatory, that we can’t find other public places to cast our votes? I mean hold them at the grocery store, or in front of Starbucks, or even in a tent in the parking lot at the local school if they can’t figure anything else out.
Why are churches even eligible to host elections? How can we expect people to vote their conscience in an country that’s somewhere around 80% Christian when the polling places are in the very shadow of a cross?? Electioneering is banned near polling places, but the polling place itself just screams “Vote for god!!!”
It’s no wonder 61% of people feel they can’t support an atheist politician–it’s a built in conflict: Even if they’re agnostic, and they’re not sure god exists, they feel squeamish about casting a vote against ‘him’ while ‘he’ is watching–illogical as that may be. And at least in West Hills, for the nearly 15 years I’ve lived here, they would have to have done so at Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church!!
And we wonder why our politicians profess belief whether they are sincere or not?? Who are we kidding? “Public office is barred to the very people who are best qualified to hold it, the intelligentsia, unless they’re prepared to lie about their beliefs,” as Richard Dawkins said in his seminal 2002 speech at the TED conference. “American political opportunities are heavily loaded against those who are simultaneously intelligent and honest.”
This has got to stop!! The flag and the cross. Keep them the hell away from each other.