Understanding the Power of the Nonreligious
This week we launched the Secular Voices Panel an ambitious project to understand the political opinions of nonreligious Americans. In this post, we explain why we are doing this project and the ways you can help make it a reality: (1) registering or (2) contributing.
We aim to recruit 5,000 nonreligious and nontheistic Americans from now through December 2019. Then, in 2020, we will ask a short questionnaire about critical political issues of the day, political figures, or about cultural and societal issues.
While we know that a quarter of the adult population in the United States is not religious, there is not enough research about their political views and attitudes. If the “nones,” as they’re colloquially known, are to become a powerhouse in politics in proportion to their numbers we need to understand the areas of agreement, disagreement, mobilization, and participation of the nones.
We are recruiting people who identify as atheists, agnostics, or who identify with no religion in particular. We are also looking for people who have a religious or congregational affiliation, such as members of Ethical Culture congregations and Unitarian Universalists who have atheist or agnostic views about the existence of God. People who belong to traditional religions and have non-theistic views can also participate.
When you go to our recruitment website, you will read some necessary information about the project and submit a consent form. After that initial screen, you will be asked a few questions about the following subjects:
- Religious identity, beliefs, and practice
- Demographic information: gender identity, age, education
- Political information: party identification, ideology, 2020 preferences
- Contact information: we need to get the surveys to you.
Your information is confidential
Though we ask for contact information, we will never release your data or share your information with third parties. This is why we call it confidential. In reports, no individual answers will be reported. Only aggregate responses for the whole panel, or for large subgroups that won’t compromise the identity of respondents (such as a comparison of atheists vs. agnostics). The panel is not anonymous because we need to contact you.
To make this project a reality, we are conducting an Indiegogo fundraiser. We aim to raise $20,000 to cover the technology costs, the cost of incentives, and the labor costs of contractors such as graphic designers and editors.
We are offering five levels of perks. Depending on your contribution, your level of access to the production side of things increases. We want contributors to feel engaged with the research project and not just passive backers.
Dean’s List ($10) With a Dean’s List contribution, you will be listed in the Secular Voices Panel patron page as one of the people who made the project become a reality.
Library Card ($25) Includes a subscription to the Secular Voices Panel newsletter, featuring content that is not included in reports, plus early access to blog posts and analyses from the project.
Associate ($75) We can’t ask all the questions we would like to, time and space constraints limit what we can ask. But at this level, you will receive the opportunity to vote on selecting between questions on the chopping board.
Analyst ($150) Is great for bloggers and vloggers. Get access to tables and charts of every survey, and you can discuss your analysis, produce your interpretations, and continue the discussion of the role of the nones in American politics and society.
Discussant ($250) Join a pre-release live presentation of results where you can ask questions to the researchers about the survey and the report. If you’re a writer, will give you an extra level of insight into what’s going on as we get information and get it out.