Gene Expression

Atheist racialism

Ed Brayton says:

To see an atheist taking a position that is usually held by those who claim to be Christian, typically southern nationalists, is quite disconcerting.

This is interesting. Here is what some might not know about: the racialist far Right tends to be populated by many individuals who have left Christianity. A substantial subset of these are atheists. Here is a quote from American Renaissance, the most highbrow of racialist publications, in regards to their subscriber base:

Two thirds of respondents believe in God, a figure lower than the national average of well over 90 percent. Fewer than half practice a religion, however. Of those who practice religion, the great majority are Christian, but among the respondents were two Odinists, a Buddhist, a mystic, a Nature-worshiper and a Swedenborgian….

The white nationalist mega-site Stormfront has a subcategory for “atheist/agnosticism” in its “Theology” section. Can you imagine any other right-wing movement setting apart a separate space for this group (there is also a section for Neo-Pagans)?

My point is about framing the conditional probabilities here. The vast majority of atheists & agnostics in the USA are on the political Left (and if on the Right they are libertarians, like myself). Their views on race are generally rather liberal. It is probably true that the vast majority of milk-toast racists are Christian in the United States (in large part because the vast majority of Americans are Christian), but, once you move to the marginal fringes you start encountering other types. One natural implication of the Jewish origins of Christianity for many white nationalists who worship their race first and foremost is the rejection of Christian religion. Sometimes this takes the form of Neo-Paganism (see Gods of the Blood: The Pagan Revival and White Separatism). But often atheism is the default state once they have rejected their traditional religious beliefs.

In short, atheist Americans are probably less likely to be avowedly racist than most Americans. But, the hard-core racists are much more likely to be atheists than most Americans. The conditional probabilities do no invert symmetrically. That is, the probability of someone being non-racist conditional upon their being atheist may be lower than the percentage of non-racists in the general population. Nevertheless, the probability of someone being an atheist if they are a hard-core white nationalist is far higher than the general population.

Addendum: There are many fringe religious views on the racialist Right, Cosmotheism Creativity are both New Religions which have rather weird beliefs (Cosmotheism is pantheistic, while Creativity is atheistic).