Republican Atheists: I don’t understand you. Help me out.
I was reading vjack’s post on Conservative Atheist blogs the other day, and it got me thinking—hey I know someone like that, but I cannot, no matter how hard I try, figure him out. My cousin is an extremely proud Republican. He supports everything the GOP stands for from their economic policies to social issues. He is opposed to same sex marriage, abortion, believes the “war on women” is, to use his words “a phony baloney Obama devised scheme to draw attention away from the “real issues”. He believes that Muslims are attempting to destroy America from within and are some form of lower species. I think you get the idea. There are two other things about him that you should know. He is an atheist and very much an anti-theist. He is also single and makes less than $100k a year. I could see him being a Libertarian, but he is not. He is a very Right Wing Conservative Republican.
People like him confound me…daily.
There are many people, who, for all intents and purposes, do not have any reasons to support the GOP, yet they do. A doctor friend of mine just had to ensure an elderly patient that she will not lose her health care coverage if “that Muslim socialist Obama is re-elected”, and that in fact, her cancer treatments would continue. Huh? Obama wants to gut Medicare and Medicaid for current senior citizens? I recently drove by a construction site and was dumbstruck by the number of Romney bumper stickers applied neatly next to their union bumper stickers. Huh? Romney supports unions? People like this are everywhere. I get that. However, I put my cousin in a different category.
I cannot tell you how many times he and I have discussed the role of the Christian Right on the GOP. Let me reiterate, he is a much of an anti-theist as I am. Yet, he refuses to acknowledge the significance of that relationship. He refuses to acknowledge that the GOP’s stances on things like abortion and same-sex marriage are driven by religious views. He argues that he is pro-life because he doesn’t believe that we should end any potential human life, that religion has nothing to do with it. Fine—for him, but that is not the overarching view of the GOP. How can he be so blind to the fact that religion is intimately tied to the Pro-Life movement and GOP.
His argument against same-sex marriage is more or less the same. He believes that there is no need to “redefine” the definition of marriage–that things are great the way they are. Okay, I disagree with him, but, we can disagree on that. What he refuses to accept is that much of the anti-homosexual rhetoric from the GOP is inspired from the power of the Christian Right.
He has a special place reserved for his contempt of Muslims. His anti-theism comes out quite strongly here. However, he is not even close to rational in his view. He lumps all Muslims together as terrorists or potential terrorists. He also fails to apply any of this anti-theism to the Christian influence of his own party. To him, it either does not exist or is completely exaggerated.
He is the only atheist and anti-theist that I know personally who is a dyed in the wool far Right Republican. I do not understand him. In fact, I firmly believe that he is living with his head in the sand, in large part due to the fact that he was very Republican prior to becoming an atheist and does not wish to discard those views. Cognitive dissonance at its finest. But that is my opinion based only on my cousin. Surely that is not enough to satisfy m curiosity regarding Republican Atheists. To classify all GOP atheist as I would my cousin would be erroneous.
No matter how hard I try, I cannot separate the role of the Religious Right from the GOP. Clearly there atheists exist who can do this. I am curious to know if any of you are either Republican or know other atheists/anti-theists that are. I know so little about GOP atheists, I want to learn more. I would love to hear what you have to share on this topic.
Thanks for reading. I look forward to your comments.
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