Earlier today I found myself (as I often do) posting my thoughts on a message board. The topic was religion, and I was pointing out that while the religious might feel a bit harped on, they possess a definitive majority in the United Sates and really have no excuse for acting all butthurt.
To illustrate my point, I pulled up a Gallup poll from 2007 which showed that the majority of Americans would be unwilling to vote for an atheist presidential candidate based on that quality alone. In reading the article, I noticed something very peculiar. It seems that this poll has been conducted every few years, and they had posted the results over time. What struck me was that while society has generally gotten more progressive in terms of what minority group members they'd be willing to elect, they've taken a step backwards in a few key areas since 1999.
In 1999, 49% were willing to vote for an atheist candidate where 48% were not. (3% no opinion)
In 2007, 45% were willing to vote for an atheist candidate where 53% were not. (3% no opinion)
In 1999, 59% were willing to vote for a homosexual candidate where 37% were not. (4% no opinion)
In 2007, 55% were willing to vote for a homosexual candidate where 43% were not. (2% no opinion)
What the fucking fuck? What the hell happened?
The easy out is to blame it on eight years of Bush and the Republicans controlling the executive branch of the government. I just have a hard time believing things are that simple. Certainly Bush's open support of an amendment banning gay marriage, and a number of states passing legislation to outlaw same sex unions contibute to that line of thinking, but I see these more as effects of a changing process of thought, not the cause.
I'm curious as to why things were progressing in a certain direction and then began moving backwards, and honestly, I have no answers.