LEBJ 3: Mes de la Herencia Hispana

En el tercer episodio de La Experiencia de Benito Juárez Juhem y Luciano hablan sobre el secularismo y laicismo hispanos en el mes de la herencia hispana. El primer segmento se trata de una discusión del crecimiento del secularismo entre las comunidades Latinas en los Estados Unidos y el por qué a pesar de ser una quinta parte de la población, no escuchamos más en los medios. El segundo segmento se enfoca en el crecimineto de las comunidades digitales de latinos y latinas sin religión y el crecimiento del secularismo en América Latina. Finalmente cerramos con una discusión de la historia laica y secular en las Américas, España y los Estados Unidos con la politóloga Dra. Yazmín Trejo.

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TBJE 25 Secular Latinx Stories

On an episode recorded on International Blasphemy Day Juhem and Luciano talk with Dr. Yazmin Trejo about her project on secular Latinx history and stories. Dr. Trejo talks about the motivations for the project, some of her findings so far, and how to help her document laicismo and secularism in the Greater Latinx community in the U.S. and Latin America. Luciano delves into the history of International Blasphemy Day to start the episode.

Links:

Latin American History And International Blasphemy Day (Luciano GonzalezSin/God)

To share secular Latinx stories with Dr. Trejo please email: secularlaico AT gmail DOT com

The Shrinking Secular Gender Gap

Among the many findings of the latest PRRI report on religion in America, my favorite is the growing number of women with no religious affiliation. In their new report, PRRI reports that 45 percent of women are nones. This is up 4 percentage points from what the Pew Religious Landscape Survey found a decade ago. An increase of 4 percentage points may not sound like much. But if we look at it in terms of real population numbers the impact of this increase becomes apparent.

The nones growing faster than the general population.

Between 2007 and 2016 the adult population in the USA went from 227.2 million to 249.5 million, a 10 percent overall growth in a little less than a decade. However, the secular population increased from 16 percent of the adult population (or roughly 36.4 million people) to 24 percent (or 59.9 million). In other words, the nones increased by 64 percent (basically, 6.5 times faster than the adult population).

More than half of “new nones” are women.

There is still a gender imbalance in the none population, but in the last decade women left religion at similar rates. In 2007 14.9 million women identified as nones (41 percent of all nones). If we extrapolate the PRRI numbers, a total of nearly 27 million women have now no religious affiliation. That indicates a growth of 81 percent in the number of women with no religious affiliation. The 12.1 million women who have joined the ranks of the nones represent 51 percent of the 23.5 million new nones in the last decade.

Making the world safer for secular women

The Pew and PRRI data don’t have much to say about why people, and especially women, are leaving religion. But those of us who have done so and who know many people who have abandoned the religion they were raised in and became atheists, agnostics and other types of nones have an idea of what’s going on. In a world where women are a major part of the labor force, where there’s a political party dedicated full-time to send women back to the home…and that said party is controlled by the most reactionary religious elements of the country, it should not be surprising that women have decided that religion isn’t for them. That doesn’t mean that secularism is more welcoming. Despite of their love for pointing out religious misogyny, many so-called atheist and secular leaders are very good at dissing the views of secular women. The data may show that religion is losing its grip on many in the United States, but unless we have institutions that are truly inclusive, organized secularism will continue to be a boys club.

Sources:

Adult population

2016 nones gender ratios

2007 nones gender ratios

Note: edited to fix typo “adulation” meant “adult population” (thanks autocorrect)

What I’m Reading

A Requiem for Florida, the Paradise That Should Never Have Been (Michael Grunwald, Politico.com) Interesting story of urban development, water management, and human hubris in the creation of modern Florida.

Can You Be Good Without God? (Brandon Withrow, TheDailyBeast.com) An article about negative stereotypes about atheists that goes beyond the usual Angry White Dudes (you know who they are) and interviews some fresh and reasonable atheist voices.

The First White President (Ta-Nehisi Coates, TheAtlantic.com) Long-ish read about white rage and the rise of Trump.

TBJE 20: Secular Family Values

In this belated episode Luciano and Juhem discuss ways of appropriating the term “family values” from the Christian Right. They explain what they mean by family values and why they think these are issues that progressive secularists can lead on.

Links:

Modern Family Values Could And Should Define Future Democrats (Luciano Gonzalez Sin/God)

Democrats Need To Stop Considering Backing Anti-Choice Politicians (Luciano Gonzalez Sin/God)

Representing Secular Family Values (Juhem Navarro-Rivera The LatiNone)

Anti-abortion Democrats fading from the scene (Reid Wilson The Hill)

Who Thinks Atheists are Immoral?

Other atheists. That's according to a new study co-authored by psychologist Will Gervais. Says Gervais:

I suspect that this stems from the prevalence of deeply entrenched pro-religious norms. Even in places that are currently quite overtly secular, people still seem to intuitively hold on to the believe that religion is a moral safeguard.

-Will Gervais, PhD

The scope of the study was international and according to the write up in The Guardian "Only in Finland and New Zealand … did the experiment not yield conclusive evidence of anti-atheist prejudice…"

From an American perspective this finding doesn't surprise me. I've met plenty of atheists who sort of believe that most religious leaders are closet atheists conning people out of their money. That kind of thinking reached fever pitch this year when Michael Shermer gloated about [white] evangelicals getting duped by immoral atheist Trump (I write why I think he's wrong here).

Some other circumstantial evidence comes from PRRI's 2013 American Values Survey. They found that the nones reported a score of 77 (out of 100) in a cold-warm scale. But that number dropped to 71 for atheists. Sample size limitations don't allow for an analysis of Atheists' responses.

Read the full Gervais et al. study at Nature Human Behavior.

What I’m Listening

The Benito Juárez Experience #16 Trinity Lutheran v. Comer Luciano and I talk about the recently decided SCOTUS case with Utica College political science professor Dr. Daniel Tagliarina, an expert on the Supreme Court and an old graduate school pal.

Resist Podcast #20 The Importance of Local Political Involvement and more with Sean Omar Rivera Danielle Muscato continues her interviews from the Secular Student Alliance conference, this time with student leader Sean Omar Rivera about the importance of local political involvement.

Code Switch #71 The U.S. Census and Our Sense of Us Great show about the importance of the U.S. Census. Gene Demby & Shareen Marisol Meraji interview former Census Director John Thompson. Also, Professor Cristina Mora talks about how the term Hispanic became a thing.

No Jargon #93: Melting Pot, Boiling Pot Hazelton, PA enacted Trumpian immigration ordinances before Trumpism was a thing. Avi Green interviews University of Washington professor Dr. René Flores who found that stirring anti-immigrant fears of criminality led to criminality indeed…against immigrants.

The Benito Juárez Experience #16: Trinity Lutheran

This week Luciano and I discuss the recently decided SCOTUS case Trinity Lutheran v. Comer. We debate the merits of the case, discuss the nuanced differences in opinion between justices, and wonder what's next in church-state jurisprudence with Utica College political science professor Daniel Tagliarina.

Links

The Benito Juárez Experience #16: Trinity Lutheran

Trinity Lutheran v. Comer Opinion

A Major Church-State Ruling That Shouldn't Have Happened (Garrett Epstein, The Atlantic)

Written by Professor Tagliarina

Free Exercise on the Playground

How Roberts Blurs Church and State in Trinity Lutheran Case

Various Interpretations of First Amendment in Trinity Lutheran Case

Homophobia and the Secular Boom

Phil Zuckerman discusses a new study of college freshmen and their views on same-sex relationships as an explanation for their increasing secularism.

Simply put: Younger Americans are the least homophobic generation in our nation’s history, with a clear majority of millennials being accepting and affirming of homosexuality. And what do they see? That most major religions condemn homosexuality as sinful and wrong. Given this situation, these anti-gay and anti-lesbian religions are losing members in record numbers. Younger Americans are simply walking away from beliefs and institutions that they see as intolerant, unloving, and immoral.

There's some truth to this. In 2014, PRRI released "A Shifting Landscape: A Decade of Change in American Attitudes about Same-Sex Marriage and LGBT Issues" and the poll found that…

Among Americans who left their childhood religion and are now religiously unaffiliated, about one-quarter say negative teachings about or treatment of gay and lesbian people was a somewhat important (14%) or very important (10%) factor in their decision to disaffiliate. More than 7-in-10 Americans who have disaffiliated from their childhood religion report that was not too important (17%) or not at all important as a factor (54%).

However, I think that religion-based homophobia is just a gateway to secularism. It is the way in which many young people start questioning the tenets of their religion when they encounter LGBTQ individuals and realize they are (GASP!) human. From there, I think there's a snowballing process of questioning other teachings and, ultimately, abandoning identification. This is why membership among liberal religious groups is not blossoming despite increasing acceptance of homosexuality. Young people realize that they don't need religion, no matter how hip and abstract you want to make it.

Two Appearances in the Secular Nation Podcast

Recently I served as guest and, later, host of Secular Nation, the podcast of the Atheist Alliance of America. In my guest appearance I talk about secularism and politics in the Trump Era with Aron Ra and Justin Scott of Eastern Iowa Atheists. In the show I hosted I interview Dr. Ron Millar, the PAC coordinator for the Freethought Equality Fund, a secular PAC.

For my guest hosting appearance I wanted to focus on the great work the PAC did in 2016, one of the few bright spots our movement had in this past election. You can listen to the show here. Ron discusses the process of finding and endorsing candidates, the importance of having more secular Americans running for office, and other issues. As a backgrounder I want to show some information about the PAC’s work last year.
The Fund endorsed 35 candidates in 17 states. Arizona led the way with 9 candidates, nearly one-quarter of the candidate pool. The states are quite diverse. There are hotbeds of American secularism such as Washington, Oregon and New Hampshire with multiple candidates. But there are also places like Utah, Missouri, and Tennessee.

One aspect we didn’t discuss in the podcast was the variety of offices that the candidates ran for. It wasn’t a matter of local offices. Most ran for state (legislative) offices and the second largest cohort competed for federal (Congress) offices.

Last but not least, the Fund was very successful with its endorsed candidates. The majority won their races. In the podcast Ron goes a little bit into detail into who was more likely to succeed.

I hope you enjoy the shows!