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The ‘nones’ say 2012 election proves they are a political force

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(RNS) Last month, Lauren Anderson Youngblood, communications manager for the Secular Coalition for America, approached Broderick Johnson, a senior adviser to the Obama campaign, as they both left a conference on religion and the election.

The SCA is an umbrella group representing 11 nontheistic organizations. So who, Youngblood asked Johnson, could she reach out to with their concerns about civil rights, access to health care and education?

“He said, ‘We don’t view you as a constituency,’” Youngblood said. “He said, ‘We don’t do outreach to that community.’”

After Tuesday's election, that may soon change. According to a Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life study released last month (October), “nones” -- those who say they have no religious affiliation or do not believe in God -- are the fastest-growing faith group in America, at 20 percent of the population, or 46 million adults.

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Some nontheistic groups have already moved to make their wants known. On Wednesday (Nov. 7), the American Humanist Association sent all newly elected members of Congress a request “not to join the Congressional Prayer Caucus and to actively work to ensure that the wall of separation between church and state is strengthened and maintained.”

Writing on the AHA’s website Wednesday, Matthew Bulger, the AHA’s legislative associate, likened the nones’ current political position to that of gays and lesbians a decade or more ago -- poised to be a voting bloc candidates ignore at their peril.

“It may take another election of two before we are truly able to make our political mark,” he wrote, “but have no doubt that day is coming.”

To read this entire Religion News Service story, click here.

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