The news that some in the Democratic Party might have tried to ‘out’ Bernie Sanders as an atheist was neither particularly surprising nor particularly shocking. Atheism doesn’t play well with the electorate. What’s more, to the extent that a candidate’s religious faith (or lack of religious faith) might influence his or her policies, it’s something that voters have a legitimate interest in knowing.
Nevertheless, as was probably inevitable in an age of taking offense, people have been offended.
Writing for Bustle, Raina Lipsitz grumbles that “one important group is missing from the DNC’s platform: atheists.” Naturally the word “problematic” makes an appearance later.
Naturally, “atheist groups” have called for the firing of the Democratic operative who wanted to raise Sanders’ supposed atheism. Naturally he has apologized to “those [he] offended.”
One voice of sanity is “outspoken atheist and Pulitzer-Prize-winning New York Times science columnist Natalie Angier”. Asked whether this exclusion bothers her, she replies:
“Yes, I’m an atheist … But do I care whether the Democratic platform includes an explicit nod to us atheists? Hell no….”
On the other hand:
Toni Van Pelt, president and public policy director of the Institute for Science and Human Values, disagrees. “This is the time to call on the Party to officially recognize the nonreligious as true Americans…Atheists are on a relentless march to be recognized and valued by the larger community. We will no longer accept a back seat to those who profess a faith … it would behoove the Democratic Party to reach out in a public statement to those of no religion … and [acknowledge] that the philosophy of living life to the fullest here and now is of great importance.”
Living life to the fullest!