By Kimberly Winston, Religion News Service
(RNS) For the second time in less than a year, the Gallup poll reports that a majority of Americans would vote for an atheist for president.
The latest survey, from June, found that 54 percent of those asked said they would vote a “well- qualified” atheist into the Oval Office— the highest percentage since Gallup began asking the question in 1958, when only 18 percent said they would back a nonbeliever.
Herb Silverman, president of the Secular Coalition for America, knows that first-hand. In 1990, he ran for governor of South Carolina where an old law banned atheists like him from holding public office. Silverman lost — by a landslide — though his candidacy did lead to the repeal of the law by the state’s supreme court.
Silverman, who tells the story of his run for office in his book “Candidate Without a Prayer,” says that to push their approval numbers higher, more atheists need to “come out,” just as gays and lesbians have done.
“I think prejudices will always be with us, so I am not optimistic enough to think (atheists’ approval rating) will be near unanimous,” he said. “But I think the more role models we have the better things will be.”
To read the rest of this USA Today story, click here.
The book, Candidate Without a Prayer, is available here.