(.pdf) — The American religious landscape is changing rapidly. Among the biggest changes is the retreat from identification with organized religions. Once a central identity for adults, this kind of identification is far less prevalent than it was twenty or twenty-five years ago. The General Social Survey(GSS) has been tracking trends in religious preference since 1972. Everyone in a sample represen-tative of the adult population of the United States is asked “What is your religious preference? Is it Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, some other religion, or no religion?” In 1972, just 5 percent answered“no religion”; by 1990, 8 percent did. The percentage preferring no religion has risen sharply since1990. In the 2012 data (released March 7, 2013), 20 percent of Americans answered “no religion” — that is an increase of 12 percentage points in 22 years. We find no evidence of a slowdown. The change from 2010 to 2012 was 2 percentage points, within the margin of error of what we would expect based on the overall rate of increase from 1990 to 2008…
We are going to prevail my friends, just like marriage equality, it is inevitable. It’s no wonder atheists stand shoulder to shoulder with those fighting for marriage equality, it’s no surprise we feel hurt, at times angry, even occasionally furious, when men and women are demonized simply for daring to express feel the most precious gift life can offer, falling in with a fellow human being and committing to spending the rest of our lives with that special person.
Yes, we have much in common with our fellow gay and lesbian Americans regardless if they are counted among the faithful or the godless. In the past we were tortured, slowly torn to bloody pieces and burned alive in front of cheering mobs. We have historically been an easy target for bullies and gangs and worse.
Even today we are subject to childhood torment, we have withstood the jabs — both metaphorical and the kind that draw blood and break bones — we have been viciously insulted, we have too often suffered raw discrimination, simply for being honest about what we feel in our hearts. Feelings that injure no one, that are guaranteed by our inalienable rights, and which condemn millions of us to spend an entire life hiding in the shadows.
I am very, very proud to count the LGBT community as among our closet, most precious allies in the endless fight against religious oppression and this news gives me hope there may be similar progress in store for spiritual equality.