Political Ideology as a Litmus Test



On social media, specifically Twitter, I’m always looking for other atheists to follow. I don’t just follow all that I see in other tweets or in recommendations, I actually  look at the persons profile, as well as take a quick scan of some of their recent tweets, before I decide whether I want to follow this atheist or not. I look at the tweets mainly of course to determine what they are discussing on Twitter.  Would I be interested in being part of any of those discussions? If so, then yes, I will follow that individual. If not, maybe I’ll look another time.

I never really judge any of those that I follow, or choose not to follow, by their political leanings. I know that as a conservative, I’m a minority among atheists and what I’m more interested in is less someone’s political ideology than what is being said about atheism or religion. That seems right, doesn’t it?  I don’t judge other atheists on their political views, and even though I’m a self described conservative, I don’t think other atheists should decide to follow me, or not, based on mine.

Recently, I followed an atheist who, by my not-so-rigorous standards fit those I thought I may want to follow on Twitter. Let me be clear, I don’t expect everyone I follow to follow me back. In fact, I have no expectations there at all. I’m just interested in what a particular atheist has to say. If at some point, I find that they are not who I thought they were, based on my cursory look, I unfollow. I think a lot of us do the same. To be plain, I won’t follow those atheists whose entire timeline is political in any way. I unfollow those I find that after a time, have fooled me because they are, in fact more about politics than anything else. I don’t care. I’m uninterested.

I have political and social  views, as do everyone reading here. Sometimes, I will actually write about what I believe on them. As I already said, I’m a conservative and sometimes, I can’t write a piece without those views being a part of what I write. My readers can like what I say or not. They’re welcome to comment on anything I say as I don’t moderate comments as many other do. Everyone’s view is welcome here whether they agree with me or not.

What was interesting to me about this one atheist I followed is that no where in their profile is there an indication of their political leaning, In the last couple of years, I’ve found that rarely and also refreshing, I received a response from this person, who included a screenshot of my home page on Twitter that stated the following:

I have to ask @jeh7041 because you have followed me – as a conservative atheist…are you a Trump supporter as well?

That took me aback. What does one thing have to do with the other? Is there now some litmus test as to whether another atheist will return the follow? Should I unfollow all of those Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren supporters that are atheists as well? Should an atheist say something positive about a politician I don’t care for be the line in the sand as to if I follow them or not?

I’m neither Republican or Democrat. I don’t care for those badges being applied. Those that are proud one way or the other? Good for you, but please don’t assume that somone else is based on nothing other than being a liberal or conservative. Life is much more complicated than that and anyone that chooses their associations based on political ideology? Bye-bye.  I know a few liberals that would say the same. Strange huh? Not so much. But in the world of atheism? Not common at all.  Most atheists I see online have drawn that line in the sand, that red line, where if someone isn’t with them, then , even  though the other may be an atheist, is an enemy.

We’ve allowed politics to infect atheism to the point where we’re viewed as nothing more than an arm of a particular political ideology.  That needs to end because a non-belief in god(s) isn’t political at all. It’s a conclusion every one of us has come to over time, no matter what our political ideology may be and that’s how we should view it today.. Every atheist is welcome to their own political mythology, but to judge another based on the same? Is that applying reason or is it just an emotional response? I consider it the later.

Curious as to my response to the above? Here it is:

Not really.  Trump’s not a conservative.

And that’s what I believe. It’s not that I reject all of his policies, I just, mostly don’t see what I define as conservatism in some. That was response was good enough to earn me a follow. Gee thanks. Think about how many fewer followers some of us might have as atheists if there was a political test before we either followed or were followed by someone. In my case, there’d be very few atheists that I follow because of their politics.

There are too few of us overall for anyone to be placing any kind of litmus test on one another.


2 thoughts on “Political Ideology as a Litmus Test

  1. We live in an age where those who hold different political ideologies are judged as being evil. Initially, they were just different. Then they became wrong. Then they became “part of the problem,” and now they are pure evil. Why would anyone choose to associate with someone who was pure evil? We might catch something that they have, or, more likely, we might fall to the very “guilt by association” we have embraced.


  2. Yes, Jack, but in addition, many of our citizens must tune in to the media each night to find out what it is that their side is now supporting or is now against and then try to act accordingly the next day in their social undertakings. What are we doing?

    This is not Trump’s fault, but is a condition that has been brewing for some time over a few presidencies. Not that his tweets, etc. don’t add to the chaos… And, speaking of chaos, who wins when chaos rules? Who wins when formerly half-way intelligent and respectable people yield to their basic tribal instincts to define the other and then destroy them?

    I am towards the end of Glenn Beck’s last book, entitled “Addicted to Outrage” and it is a really good and thoughtful overview of the past year or so of the pulling apart of our country, but is written to help us think and act in ways that we might get beyond this mess we are wallowing in. Ben Sasse has a new book out, too, in a similar vein; “Them” I think is the title.

    Don’t know if anybody reading here has followed Beck over the course of his talk-radio/TV/book life…and I know that media has tainted him well from the beginning, with some of it his own fault…but the evolution of his life and his work has made him over the last decade the man who has been asking questions and seeking answers and being a most important voice for our century, I believe. His audience, of which I am one, that have stuck with him, have thoughtfully moved along with him by stepping back from the chaos and learning to understand what is happening and what is coming and how we can prepare for it, even if we are just the person who doesn’t panic and can help others. I always catch flack when I mention Beck, but I keep mentioning him, because I think he is that important.

    It sound’s dire, but whatever “it” is is always coming. The problem is that America is no longer the place or the people that can take “it” in stride, roll with the punches and get by “it” together. Could the people who rely upon tweets and FaceBook handle a devastating economic turndown or an attack on our nation that leads to actual war for our sovereignty? Would they recognize the banner that they should run to for aid as our Constitutional Republic or would they run to the strongman, who would solve all their problems without asking them to do anything? Would we stand as Americans or fall as tribes in the chaos?

    What did Reagan say? Loss of liberty is only one generation away or something similar.


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