Massachusetts Recognizes Growing Population of Nontheist Voters
On Wednesday, November 14, 2018, the Democratic Party of Massachusetts passed a resolution recognizing the religiously unaffiliated, the ‘Nones’, as an important and growing demographic group worthy of respect, and aligned to values the Democratic Party supports.
The Non-Theist Recognition Resolution was introduced by Stephen Driscoll, longtime Co-Chair of the LGBT Sub-Committee and a member of the Executive Committee of the Massachusetts Democratic State Committee. Driscoll is an American Humanist Association (AHA) supporter who also serves on the Resolutions Committee of the Massachusetts Democratic Party. The resolution was drafted by David Niose, AHA Legal Center Director and former AHA President, a resident of Massachusetts, and Stuart Wamsley of the Greater Boston Humanists. Niose and Wamsley testified in support of the resolution at a committee hearing in April 2018. The resolution came to the floor at the party’s full state committee meeting on November 14. It passed on a voice vote with no objections.
In June 2018, Niose and Wamsley represented the American Humanist Association at the Massachusetts Democratic State Convention, promoting humanist activities and views. They also promoted this resolution to delegates at that annual full Party Convention. Stephen Driscoll served as a delegate at that convention.
One challenge as local leaders attempt to accomplish the same recognition is that officials must be the needed ‘in’. It was only through Stephen Driscoll’s sponsorship from within the Democratic Party that the resolutions were introduced and AHA members were able to table at the Democratic Party convention. These avenues are not open to the general public, but it is not uncommon to find nontheistic delegates and members of these leadership groups.
The resolution supports the importance of this growing demographic in political outreach and fights back against the prejudice that atheists and the non-religious have no moral values. Nearly a quarter of the American population is now religiously unaffiliated, and most U.S. adults say that it is not necessary to believe in God to be moral and have good values.
As it states, the Democratic Party of Massachusetts asserts:
- The value, ethical soundness, and importance of the religiously unaffiliated demographic, a group of Americans who contribute in innumerable ways to the arts, sciences, medicine, business, law, and the success of the Party and prosperity of the Nation; and
- That the “Nones” are a group that, as much as any other, advocates for rational public policy based on sound science and universal humanistic values.
This is an important step in outreach and raising awareness of humanists and non-religious people, thanks to the work of dedicated humanist activists.
View the November 14, 2018 resolution here.
The American Humanist Association (AHA) works to protect the rights of humanists, atheists, and other nontheistic Americans. The AHA advances the ethical and life-affirming worldview of humanism, which—without beliefs in gods or other supernatural forces—encourages individuals to live informed and meaningful lives that aspire to the greater good of humanity.