The “None’s” are coming.
They are growing in numbers.
Their power is on the rise.
They are poised now as a political force to be reckoned with.
The big question: Who will harness and exploit this power for political gain?
They’re the “None’s” – the fastest growing philosophically oriented group in America. They are people with no religion at all. According to a Pew survey one in five Americans is not affiliated with any religion.
That’s 20% of the entire American population and that percentage is growing by leaps and bounds. Non-religious Americans have grown by 25% just in the past five years and the ranks of the unaffiliated are growing even faster among younger Americans. Thirty-three million have no religious affiliation and 13 million in that group identify as either atheist or agnostic.
And you can take my word for it; there are plenty more of these “None’s” in the pipeline and in the closet just waiting to come out. When they do, the political landscape in the United States of America will undergo an epic change.
These religiously unaffiliated are strikingly less religious than the public at large. They attend church infrequently, if at all, are largely not seeking out religion and say that the lack of it in their lives is of little importance.
“There is much less of a stigma attached" to not being religious, explains John Green, a senior research adviser at Pew. “Part of what is fueling this growth is that a lot of people who were never very religious now feel comfortable saying that they don't have an affiliation.”
Young people between 18 to 29 years old are rejecting religion in droves. According to the poll, 34% of “younger millennials” - those born between 1990 and 1994 - are religiously unaffiliated. Among “older millennials,” born between 1981 and 1989, 30% are religiously unaffiliated: 4 percentage points higher than in 2007.
Green says that these numbers are “part of a broader change in American society.” “The unaffiliated have become a more distinct group.”
“As more of the voters are unaffiliated and identifying as atheist and agnostics, I think the politicians will follow that for votes,” explains Jesse Galef, communications director for the Secular Student Alliance. “We won’t be dismissed or ignored anymore.”
The Pew survey suggested that the Democratic Party would do well to recognize the growth of the unaffiliated, since 63% of them identify with or lean toward that political group. Only 26% of the unaffiliated do the same with the Republican Party.
"In the near future, if not this year, the unaffiliated voters will be as important as the traditionally religious are to the Republican Party collation,” Green predicted.
The “None’s” reject Republicans because right now the Republican Party is the party of religion.
In announcing the survey’s findings at the Religion News writers Association conference in Bethesda, Maryland, Green said the growing political power of the unaffiliated within the Democratic Party could become similar to the power the Religious Right acquired in the GOP in the 1980s. “Given the growing numbers of the unaffiliated, there is the potential that that could be harnessed,” he said.
It doesn’t have to be that way, I say. This could prove to be a huge bonanza for the Libertarian Party if Libertarians can find ways to convince these voters to reject the Democratic Party. That should prove to be easy.
After all, the “None’s” should reject the democrats for largely the same reasons that they have rejected religion. Religion is anti-freedom. Religion is a form of socialistic collectivism. Religion is dogmatic and authoritarian.
And so is the political philosophy of the Democratic Party.
The Republicans are too stupid to go after the “None’s.” They will eventually pay for that stupidity when the numbers of “None’s” overwhelm the evangelicals. That is bound to happen. The only question is when?
Very soon now, we will witness the power of None.