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Sand Does Not Muddy the Waters


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): Medium (Personal)

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2019/02/01

The Progressive Secular Humanist reported, a couple years ago and as an important note, on the position of Bernie Sanders, who is a long-time politician and, thus, an important figure to pay attention to if, indeed, there exist non-theist political types.

We can find this as an intriguing notion in the political landscape of America. A longstanding fact, not conjecture, as to the near impossibility of an openly atheist or simply non-theist politician existing within the United States of America.

In the case of Bernie Sanders, the article argues for a humanist value orientation, where this implies a lack of commitment, professional or personal, to the organized religion on offer around the world.

The other is the set of values affirmed as a set in humanism. As he describes, he does not harbor a specific religious commitment, especially to organized religion. He stated, “I am not actively involved with organized religion… I think everyone believes in God in their own ways. To me, it means that all of us are connected, all of life is connected, and that we are all tied together.”

In the context of a people who will vilify and destroy the lives of any outward atheist in their midst, the pragmatic solution for atheists or non-theists is simply to denude the definition of God from some legitimate context in previous centuries’ definitions and meanings, with real-world implications mind you, and then to simply move these goal posts to some vague interpersonal connectivity.

No superreality connecting every human being to every other human being; no means by which to transcend this mortal coil; no manner by which to leave the cages of flesh in which we inhabit because the flesh’s structure and dynamics produces us, thus the notion of a self apart from bone and sinew becomes moot akin to this redefinition of God to simply: you and me, not even for eternity.

Sanders, as a pragmatic person with tendencies towards the idealistic within the United States, considers the intrusion of faith-based life stances into politics a dangerous combination. One reason to, potentially, surmise is the ways in which the world of politics is a world of argument and compromise while having some assumption of a connection to the real world; where with the world of the faithful, we find the continual orientation towards a life sitting on the otherworldly, when the needs of others do not fit into this framework then the assertion is the work of Dark Lord Down Under (Not Australia, or New Zealand).

This can make and has made American political life fraught with fraudulent claimants and charlatans, lunatics and fringe-crazies who have gone mainstream, and opportunists and corrupt bigots.

Sanders said, “Religious freedom in this country is part of our Constitution, and all of us agree with that. And you have many different religions, and people have the right, in this country, to practice the religion that they believe in. But we also have a separation between religion and state. We know how dangerous it is, historically, for governments to get deeply involved with religion… Let’s not confuse and merge religion and state. That is not what our Founding Fathers wanted, and they were right.”

In that, Americans harbor the right to religion, but this “to religion” also implies its complement of “from religion.” This second, not secondary, part or complement provides the basis for the non-theists, the a-religious, to simply live their lives in peace and security as the religious live much of their lives in safety and freedom; ironically, though, it is the religious who feel afraid of the non-religious but then are the ones who impose their own faith-based worldview and life on the non-religious: life backward.

Sanders stated, in an interview with Jimmy Kimmel, a lack of belief in a God inasmuch as Kimmel may believe in it. As he explained, “I am who I am, and what I believe in and what my spirituality is about is that we’re all in this together. I think it is not a good thing to believe as human beings we can turn our backs on the suffering of other people.”

As he said in the presidential campaign, the problems do not come from the heavens or He on High but, rather, from the decisions — good or bad — made by individual human beings en masse.


In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at


© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-Present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

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