Can an atheist be a conservative republican
Are there atheist politicians in the Republican Party (GOP)?
First is it not really a "Republican" phenomenon . It is a common fact of American politics.
There are also few atheist Democrats (Pete Stark is the only federal atheist politician I can easily name, and he's not technically a self-known atheist, he's a Unitarian). The wiki page linked above has just 5 more examples of past or present democratic politicians at the national level who are atheist. plus the always flawed Jesse Ventura who is an independent.
This is influenced by:
Love of atheists in the usa. Depending on which survey, data point and question formulation you use (ex1, ex2, ex3), pure atheists (as opposed to agnostics or people without a declared religion) make up between 1% and 3% of the population in the US and even far broader category "no declared belief" i only ~ 10%.
This, of course, makes the potential pool of atheist candidates rather thin at first.
53% of people are not inclined to vote atheists in office (and only 5% are more inclined - src).
Republicans specifically have a large contingent of highly religious voters.
This happened partly in the context of "movement conservatism" in the 1980s.
This led many of the most active voters and grassroots members to believe that religious beliefs in general are important.
There is a perception (the fact whether it is right or wrong is irrelevant - just the fact that perception exists and is common) that atheism is with moral is incompatible.
This perception consists of two components:
Theoretical ("If someone is not afraid of God or is judged in the hereafter, he has no incentive to be moral")
Empirical ("If we look at examples of openly atheist countries, we see the terrible USSR with all its atrocities, Red China with all the miracles Mao did to his people, and North Korea").
This perception is stronger among Conservatives / Republicans.
The rise of libertarianism .
People who are conservative but atheist tend to lean on fiscal conservatism and social non-conservatism. Lately, they've basically been leaning towards libertarians.
And the rise of libertarianism (lowercase "l") as a political force gave such people the opportunity to run for office and vote as libertarians (uppercase "L") instead of Republicans if they found the Republican Party to be too is very tied to them The socially conservative agenda of religious law.
As a famous example, Jesse Ventura openly supported the libertarian candidate in 2012 after Romney won the nomination for the Republican presidency.
I can't find it right now, but I've seen polls that showed the potential of a lot of libertarian support for Ron Paul if he ran off the "R" ticket. Although he is not an atheist, he clearly fits into the political form (fiscal conservatism, largely non-religiously based social views).
According to Pew,
About two-thirds of atheists (69%) identify (or lean in that direction) as democrats, and a majority (56%) call themselves political liberals (compared to just one-tenth who say they are conservatives).
Historically, atheism has been dominated by progressives / leftists; and they ran an extremely effective campaign to associate Republicans / Conservatives / "right wing" with anti-science / anti-intellectualism and as incompatible with atheism.
For an example, see CJ Werleman's book "Atheists Cannot Be Republicans: When Facts and Evidence Matters"; or in the salon; or almost every single political blog entry on Patheos' atheism channel.
How do we know this is indoctrination and not a feature of atheism? Because we have a control group. People who grew up outside the influence of Western universities but in an atheistic environment make up a large and well-interviewed population group - immigrants from the former USSR. They are strongly non-religious and almost overwhelmingly vote for Republicans.
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