The Democratic National Committee passed a first-of-its-kind resolution Saturday recognizing the “ethical soundness” and “importance” of religiously unaffiliated Americans while contending such voters “share the Democratic Party’s values.”
The resolution – passed at the DNC’s summer meeting – was championed by the Secular Coalition of America, an organization that lobbies on behalf of atheists, agnostics and humanists in public policy. The coalition said it was the first time the party had “embraced American nonbelievers.” It passed unanimously absent one abstention, the coalition said.
“[T]he religiously unaffiliated demographic represents the largest religious group within the Democratic Party, growing from 19% in 2007 to one in three today,” the resolution says. “... [T]he Democratic Party is an inclusive organization that recognizes that morals, values, and patriotism are not unique to any particular religion, and are not necessarily reliant on having a religious worldview at all.”
The religiously unaffiliated, the resolution asserts, “overwhelmingly share the Democratic Party’s values,” with “70% voting for Democrats in 2018, 80% supporting same-sex marriage, and 61% saying immigrants make American society stronger.”
The resolution says the DNC recognizes the “value, ethical soundness, and importance of the religiously unaffiliated demographic, a group of Americans who contribute in innumerable ways to the arts, sciences, medicine, business, law, the military, their communities, the success of the Party and prosperity of the Nation.”
It also says the DNC recognizes that “religiously unaffiliated Americans are a group that, as much as any other, advocates for rational public policy based on sound science and universal humanistic values and should be represented, included, and heard by the Party”
Further, the resolution criticizes religious Americans: ���[T]hose most loudly claiming that morals, values, and patriotism must be defined by their particular religious views have used those religious views, with misplaced claims of ‘religious liberty,’ to justify public policy that has threatened the civil rights and liberties of many Americans, including but not limited to the LGBT community, women, and ethnic and religious/nonreligious minorities.”
Secular and atheist groups applauded the resolution.
“America was founded as a secular government charged with representing and protecting the freedoms of people of all faiths and none – I am proud to see the Democratic Party take that to heart by bringing secular Americans into the fold,” said Sarah Levin, director of governmental affairs for the Secular Coalition for America.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation said it is “optimistic that the DNC resolution is a sign of bigger and better things to come for freethinkers.”
Michael Foust is a freelance writer. Visit his blog, MichaelFoust.com.
Photo courtesy: Getty Images/Justin Sullivan/Staff
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, The Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.