The Tenets of Atheism and Democracy are the Same

Democracy and atheism

Both are born of the idea that there is neither a deity nor a monarch with the answers to all of life’s questions, no final arbiter of right and wrong who will steer us in the proper direction if we just listen closely enough— and then obey.
Atheist communities and functioning democracies both rely on the belief that people can and should govern themselves, and, at the end of the day, all we have is each other and our mutual tolerance. That’s why democracy cannot function properly if it is not secular, and it cannot function at all if its eligible citizens don’t vote. 

The Pew Research Center estimates that just twelve percent of 2020 voters were “nones,” which describes people with no religious preference.

Yet more than fifteen million people—twenty percent of the U.S. population— are nonreligious, and the Atheist voting bloc is getting larger every year with the number of religiously unaffiliated voters continuing to grow and more than a third of younger Millennials reporting no religious preference. 

American Atheists has launched in the run-up to the 2016 election season. Through the AtheistVoter campaign, we are calling on Atheists throughout the country to engage with political candidates, elected officials, and members of the media about issues relating to the separation of religion and government. 

With AtheistVoter, we can ensure that elected officials know that Atheists, agnostics, and other nonreligious constituents vote in huge numbers, so they can no longer simply ignore us or take our votes for granted. 

The effects of religion in public policy are apparent at every level of government, from anti-LGBT discrimination to restricting the healthcare choices of women, from preferential treatment for churches and religious groups in the tax code to the excuse of “it’s tradition” for allowing Christian ideology to remain part of everyday government practices. 

Policies rooted in religious bigotry and theology attack the fundamental rights of the nonreligious and all of our fellow citizens. History has shown us that the only way to change the political dialogue is to show elected officials the value of our votes. is a one-stop resource to equip and encourage Atheists to engage directly with candidates about church/state separation and Atheist equality. At you can find campaign events near you and track candidates’ positions on issues important to Atheists. 

We also provide sample questions to ask candidates, including how they would best represent Atheists and whether they support the separation of religion and government. The most current voter registration information and state-by-state information about deadlines, identification requirements, and early voting is also available on the website. 

Please take one minute each day between now and Election Day 2024 to tweet (#AtheistVoter) or email one of your elected officials, and let them know that you are an Atheist who will be voting. 

Let them know you are an active constituent, and that it’s time they start listening to their nonreligious, equality-demanding, secular constituents. Exercising the right to vote is the only way we can change our government for the better.


Pamela Whissel
By Pamela Whissel
Editor-in-Chief, American Atheist Magazine

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