According to Pew Research, 12% of Floridians are either not certain there is a god (3%), do not believe in god (6%), or don’t know/refused/other about god (3%). (The poll lists a ±3% margin of error.) The population of Florida is 19,552,860. If we take the most conservative figure of 6%, those that do not believe in god, that gives Florida a population of 1,173,171 atheists. For a little perspective, this is larger than the 2011 population of the city of Jacksonville (827,908), and slightly larger than the 2011 population of Orange county (1,169,107) (numbers from the State of Florida). And interestingly enough, the “Official Florida Tea Party” public group on FaceBook has only 2,572 members. In fact, as of December 2013, the totals for number of members in all the National Tea Party groups was 513,702. The impact that group has had on policy and elections is tremendous. While Atheists do not have a common political view, we do have at least one common interest, the separation of state and church.
What is meant by separation of state and church? Atheists of Florida Inc. considers any item for which opposition to the issue is based in religion or any item which promotes a specific religion. These would include the following issues:
- Civil liberties of all viewpoints are protected
- Prayer at government functions
- Religious Displays on government property
- Womens’ reproductive health
- Stem Cell research
- Marriage equality
- Intrusion of religion into public schools (creationism in science classes, distribution of religious material, etc.)
- Government subsidies of religious institutions, including tax credits for religious schools
- End of life choices
While Florida is a large state, and we are scattered throughout, our voting power can be united to protect the separation of state and church and stop the incursion of religion into the daily life of the people of Florida. In order to encourage this, the Atheists of Florida Inc. is producing a voter’s guide to the upcoming election. We will rate candidates in Florida on their adherence to the separation of state and church as described above. While we will not endorse a specific candidate, or candidates, this will allow each individual to determine for themselves for whom they vote.
What you can do:
- VOTE, first and foremost, use the information provided to determine candidates you wish to support and vote. You must be registered by October 6th in order to vote in the 2014 general election scheduled for Nov 4. For information about voting in Florida and to determine your status you can go to Your Vote Florida. If you have not registered to vote, get the Florida Voter Registration Application, instructions are listed at the top of the application. For answers to common questions, you can read the 2014 Florida Voter Registration and Voting Guide. Find your Supervisor of Elections if you want/need to visit the local office.
- Assist with developing the guide. Assistance is needed for the following tasks:
- Researching Candidates stands on our issues
- Designing the guide. We want to ensure the guide is easy to use and understand but also visually interesting, so graphic artists and User interface design skills are needed.
Share the information with friends and family.