The PAC will back humanist, atheist and agnostic candidates at all levels of government. Freethought's coordinator, Bishop McNeill, told The Huffington Post that it would also be open to supporting candidates who identify with a religion if they are committed to protecting the separation of church and state and defending the civil liberties of secular Americans.
Nonbelievers have expressed concerns about religious lawmakers who are hostile to legislation based on scientific research because it conflicts with their faith.According to the latest findings from the Pew Forum, about one-in-five adults affiliate themselves as atheist, agnostic, or non-believers ("nones" for short). That number rises to one-in-three for those of us under the age of 30.
Comparatively, a recent Gallup poll that indicated Americans who identified themselves as Republicans dropped to 25%. With a five percent difference between Republicans and nones, it would seem that the demographic field between religious conservatives and nones is beginning to even out. Unfortunately, an earlier Gallup study demonstrated only 54% of voters would be willing vote for an atheist for President.
What can we draw from these numbers? If the polls are correct, it shows that despite a continuing growth in the non-religious population of this country since the 1980s, nones are still distrusted by a large segment of the American public. Large enough that the ambition of fielding a candidate for a national office like the presidency is still a premature dream.
However, PACs representing nones like the Freethought Equality Fund could still prove to be useful in other electoral venues. Many of the issues that concern nones, like science education, government sponsored prayer, and equal access to public forums stem from local elections. If the FEF and other nones-aligned PACs helped to promote candidates - who were either non-religious or religious but respected a strong separation of church and state - in strategic local races where religious encroachment into politics was a problem, then these PACs could be a start of a larger effort for better political representation for atheists, agnostics, and other non-believers.
(Hat Tip Roy Speckhardt)