We atheists can use growing clout to beat evangelicals at their own political game

No matter how organized we get, there will never be an atheist pope decreeing how to vote, nor should there be. Most atheists are staunch individualists, and our deserved reputation for fierce debate and healthy disrespect for authority means we’re highly unlikely to succumb to group-think when it comes to politics. But as long as atheists remain diffuse and disorganized, we’ll be outmaneuvered and outmuscled by religious sects that do move in lockstep and can exert pressure on politicians with no one to counterbalance them.

If atheists are able to organize politically, we’ll find areas of broad agreement on which we can cooperate to advance causes that most of us value, even without a hierarchical authority handing out marching orders. The obvious “atheist issue” is defending the separation of church and state, from fighting creationism in public schools to Ten Commandments monuments on courthouse lawns and tax giveaways to churches. Likewise, almost all atheists are strong supporters of marriage equality and LGBT rights, since the opposition to those causes is mainly driven by religion. And while there are a few exceptions, atheists are by far the most pro-choice demographic in America and should be a bulwark against fundamentalist efforts to control everyone’s sex lives.