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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

12/10/2012 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Religiously unaffiliated form coalition with secular agenda.

A baffling mystery that has troubled Americans since early November may finally have an answer; how did Obama, with so much opposition arrayed against him, manage to eke out the votes to win the election? Demographic data suggests Obama had the support of a previously ignored coalition.

Atheists and their allies supported Obama in overwhelming numbers.

Atheists and their allies supported Obama in overwhelming numbers.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

12/10/2012 (2 years ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: Obama, swing vote, swing state, atheists, religiously unaffiliated, bloc


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - That secret coalition served as Obama's fifth column in the election, propelling him to victory, even in those states where Catholics and Protestants soundly rejected him. That coalition was made of atheists, agnostics, and those who consider themselves "religiously unaffiliated" and "spiritual but not religious."

It is no secret that the number of Americans who do not identify with an organized church is growing. According to surveys, they might comprise as much as 20 percent of the population. In the 2012 election, exit polls suggest they were also 12 percent of the voters who participated that day and that small margin was just enough to return Obama to the White House.

According to Gregory Smith of the Pew Forum on religion and public life, "This is a striking development in American politics. There's no question that the religiously unaffiliated are a very important and politically consequential group," Smith told NPR in an interview.

Even in swing states where Romney won Protestant and Catholic voters by small margins, the support of "unaffiliated" voters was enough to steal state after state for Obama. While the unaffiliated can do nothing in the face of the Christian majority, when Christians are divided, as they were in the most recent election, the unaffiliated vote can become decisive.

What's most surprising is that even after the election, this group was largely ignored. Analysts looked at women, at Catholics, and at Hispanics. Each group was credited with handing Obama victory for one reason or another. However, exit polling data suggests the religiously unaffiliated proved to be the key bloc in a number of places.

What this means is that future candidates will have to address this previously unrecognized block in some fashion, if they want to win hotly contested races.

What is most interesting about the bloc is that they identify with the left and democratic issues much more than the right. This does not bode well for conservatives. Why this is remains a mystery, but surveys say they tend to support anti-life policies, redefining marriage, and other socially liberal causes.

And their number is only growing.

The antidote is twofold. First, conservatives, Christians especially, cannot afford to divide on what issues and candidates they support. They must unite to build a wall against the creeping secular threat to traditional values. Second, greater efforts must be made to recover the youth and insulate them from attacks by atheists, and those who say they are "spiritual but not religious." To make such a claim is tantamount to a sheep saying the shepherd is unnecessary.

For now, political demographics are changing and will continue to change the nature of the political discourse in this nation. If we desire to keep a Christian nation then we should redouble our efforts now before Obama's fifth column dictates the outcome of our political future.

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