Most people who read this blog are probably aware that being an atheist is considered disadvantageous when running for office in the U.S.
Asked about a list of traits and how each would impact their likelihood of supporting a presidential candidate, about half (53%) of Americans said they would be less likely to support an atheist.
No other trait, including being gay or having never held elected office, garnered a larger share of people saying they’d be less likely to support the potential candidate. (Source: Pew Research)
A number of years ago, I attended a meetup that was connected to American Atheists. One man who appeared to be in his mid-twenties told us about a friend of his from college. When the friend decided to go into politics he took several of his close friends aside and asked them not to tell anyone that he was, in fact, an atheist. In the interest of his career, he was going to pretend that he was a Christian.
Today, I saw an article in The New York Observer that speculated that Mark Zuckerberg is getting ready to run for public office. One of the indications – he’s declared that he’s no longer an atheist.
And all this comes after some other obvious politically motivated moves. As we’ve previously reported, Zuckerberg recently: revealed that he is no longer an atheist; appointed Obama administration alum David Plouffe as head of policy and advocacy for his charitable initiative; wrote a 5,700-word mission statement that reads like a State of the Union address; and even rewrote Facebook’s proxy statement so that he could retain control of the company while serving in elected office. (Source)