In a recent Washington Post opinion piece, Kate Cohen, an atheist columnist, encouraged non-believers to openly share their secular views to counteract America’s perceived shift towards theocracy.
Cohen expressed concern over how she believes some Christians use their faith as a tool of societal division, claiming they act above the law. She referenced policies against Florida’s Parental Rights in Education law, transgender treatments for minors, and instances where the Supreme Court favored Christian religious liberties.
Cohen’s message was clear: “Religion shouldn’t dictate public policy, and religious individuals should be held to the same legal standards as everyone else.” Highlighting that one doesn’t need to be an atheist to believe in the separation of church and state, she emphasized the role of Christian nationalists in perpetuating current discriminatory practices.
She championed the idea of normalizing atheism, stating, “The more people who openly identify as atheists, the easier it becomes to ensure religion doesn’t dominate our laws.”
Cohen also addressed progressive Christians, urging them to clarify their beliefs if they align more with general spiritual concepts rather than specific religious tenets. She warned of the risks of loosely claiming faith in ‘God’ when it might empower more radical beliefs.
The columnist noted the underrepresentation of atheists in America, pointing to cultural stigma as a possible reason. A recent Gallup poll highlighted that 18% of Americans identify as neither religious nor spiritual, marking a significant increase from 1999.
Cohen believes that atheists speaking up might pave the way for more honest discussions about religion and challenge the misuse of religious texts for harm. She emphasized the importance of preserving the secular nature of American democracy.
Finally, echoing her sentiments from a previous year when the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, Cohen stressed that America isn’t inherently a “Christian nation.” She said that ensuring the country remains secular might be the responsibility of non-believers.
A core tenet of atheism is the lack of belief in a deity or deities, often contrasting with the structured beliefs of major religious institutions. Organizing a structured atheist movement might seem as paradoxical as having a central committee for anarchists.