CN: Donald Trump, Michael Shermer
Skeptics, come get your boy Michael Shermer! For the last couple of weeks, he’s been on a Twitter rant about how the March for Science is supposedly playing identity politics (topping it all off with this lovely gem). Now he’s shifting his focus on Trump’s supposed secularism in this Politico article. Although Shermer doesn’t claim Trump is one of us (he suspects Trump practices “Cafeteria Christianity, where one orders only the most appealing items on the menu”), nor does he praise Trump as a president, he does find Trump’s lack of religiosity as “hugely refreshing.” Shermer writes:
It looks like the U.S. religious reawakening from the 1950s through the 2000s, then, might have been an anomaly. The long-term trend is certainly toward secularization.
The Evangelicals who helped put Trump in the White House would probably dispute that. But they are missing the bigger picture: Trump was elected president despite being the least religious major candidate in the 2016 field. Looked at this way, Trump isn’t the evangelicals’ savior. He’s just another data point in America’s long march away from religion.
Now look, I’m as happy as the next atheist that society is gradually moving away from religion. I long for the day religion becomes either a historical artifact or at least just a social thing people did on Sunday and nothing else. But Trump’s lack of religiosity doesn’t mean a damn thing to me because his secular values are not humanist values.
Look at the Muslim ban. Look at his transphobic policies. Look at his climate change denial. Does this guy look like he cares deeply about science, reason, and human rights? I think not. Also, if Trump’s such a secularist, why does he pick a far-right anti-abortion anti-LGBTQ conservative Christian like Mike Pence as his running mate? I know secularism doesn’t automatically make you either pro-choice or pro-LGBTQ, but if Trump’s lack of religiosity is such a huge leap forward towards secularism, why do his politics look like the same old Religious Right song and dance?
I also find it interesting that Shermer didn’t mention another largely secular presidential candidate, Bernie Sanders, in his article. Throughout his campaign, Sanders exemplified progressive humanist values that emphasized human action over divine intervention. Where’s the article saying his campaign marked a shift in our religious landscape? Where’s the article praising Sander’s humanism, whether it’s religious or secular?
Besides, Trump doesn’t give a shit about us atheists. During his weekly address last Friday, he said, “America is a nation of believers . . . And we pray for the strength and wisdom to achieve a better tomorrow—one where good people of all faiths, Christians and Muslims and Jewish and Hindu, can follow their hearts and worship according to their conscience.” It’s great he gave a shout-out to Muslims, Jews, and Hindus, but what about us atheists? What about us who don’t pray to any god?
If Trump’s lack of religiosity is a sign of our increasingly secular nation, I’ll gladly take our previous liberal Christian president any day of the week.