Would You Ever Vote for a Nudist or an Atheist?
Are people more open to voting for a nudist or an atheist political candidate?
Would You Vote for a Nudist – Leading up the elections in America every couple of years, a poll is often taken that shows how atheists are the least-trusted people in the eyes of the voting public. As shown in the following graph of results from a 2007 Gallup poll, Americans are way more likely to vote for a presidential candidate who is black, Jewish or female than an atheist.
By the time I was in my early teens, I had figured out two things about myself – first, that I’m a nudist, and second, that I’m an atheist. From a time when many of the things we think we “know” about ourselves turn out to be passing phases, these two belief systems have stuck with me for over 20 years now and continue to inform my views on just about everything.
So it disappoints me that atheists are held in such low regard – at least in America. And for no real reason other than unfounded preconceptions. And it struck me for the first time this year how similar nudism and atheism are in terms of perception by outsiders.
Fatal Flaws of Nudists and Atheists
Both atheism and nudism are viewed as having one major fatal flaw. For atheism, it is the assumption that without religion a person does not have a “moral compass” to help tell the difference between what is right and what is wrong. For nudism, it is that nudity is equivalent to sex, and therefore any nudist activity leads inevitably to sex.
We know, of course, that this is not true for nudism. If it were, there would be a lot more sexual activity going on at nudist clubs, resorts, nudist parties and nude beaches. It is difficult to explain to non-nudists exactly why nudism does not equal sex. We just know by experience that it doesn’t.
The same applies to atheism – if all atheists lacked the moral compass supposedly provided by religion, it follows that a lot more of us would probably be in trouble with the law.
Different Strokes for Different Folks
While the basic concept of nudism seems quite straightforward, differences of opinion do exist among nudists as to how nudism should be practiced (“nudism” vs. “naturism“, etc.) and promoted. Atheists are similarly divided under a shared lack of belief in a god or gods.
Some of the division relates to what we should call ourselves. Many believe that the term “atheist” is either too vague or carries too much of a negative perception. There are several substitute terms that atheists use, including “humanist”, “secularist”, “naturalist”, “non-believer”, “skeptic” or even “agnostic” for those who prefer to classify themselves as doubters, but aren’t ready to fully declare their complete lack of belief.
Still others are divided over the degree to which it is acceptable to fight back against opposing viewpoints. Like any movement, atheism has both moderates and extremists.
In or Out of the Closet
Perhaps the strongest similarity between nudism and atheism – speaking for myself, anyway – is the willingness (or lack thereof) of people to be open about their beliefs and practices.
A significant portion of the atheist population fears being “outed” as non-believers – either they live in areas that a more religious and conservative, or have family and friends that are religious. They feel that any revelation of their atheism would cause irreparable damage to their relationships or careers – or both.
This dichotomy also exists in the nudist community. There are those who feel that all nudists should be out of the closet and proud, while others are mortified at the thought of anyone they know discovering that they’re a nudist.
Being both a nudist and an atheist has given me something of a unique perspective on this matter. I am very much out as an atheist – however, I am the exact opposite when it comes to my practice of nudism. I’ve never perceived any danger in being an open atheist. For the most part, my friends and family are either atheists or very liberal despite being religious.
But there is something about the display of the naked human body that seems to be one of the last great taboos in American society. And the association of nudity with sex is extremely strong. We know that not all nudists are atheists, and by the same token not all atheists are nudists.
While I’m certain that many of my friends, family or coworkers wouldn’t think any less of me if they found out I’m a nudist, I can’t guarantee that everyone I know would be as accepting. As someone who is openly atheist, I may wish that ALL atheists would be out and vocal, but my experience as a nudist helps me understand and respect why they aren’t.
So, while there doesn’t seem to be any official poll out there regarding how the electorate would feel about voting for a nudist, don’t think for a minute that nudists (or atheists) can’t impact the electoral process.
Given how America’s nudity taboo is often attributed to the religiousness of its population, we were curious to find out how religious nudists are in general. So take this (anonymous) poll!
This guest blog post that asks the questions of would you ever vote for a nudist was published by – Young Naturists and Young Nudists America – YNA