Approximately one fifth of the United States population has no religious affiliation and around 13 million of us do not hold any belief in a supreme, supernatural being. That number is only growing as people become better informed, science education improves, more people speak out about their atheism and with time we grow further away from our traditions of ignorance.
Last night, in the Presidential Town Hall debate, when answering a question concerning misconceptions of themselves, Romney stated, "My passion probably flows from the fact that I believe in god and I believe we're all children of the same god," which isn't something any non-believer agrees with, leading me to want to ask Romney, what about the rest of us? How will a Romney presidency reflect respect for non-believers?
In the Vice Presidential debate Ryan said, "I don't see how a person can separate their public life from their private life or from their faith," showing us that he cannot separate church and state in his life and work, as we should be able to expect from our publicly elected officials.
When responding to a question about pay equality for women, Obama, who is a Christian, said in last night's debate, "we've got to enforce the laws and we've also got to make sure that in every walk of life we do not tolerate discrimination," which also applies to atheists. He has stated previously that religious discrimination should not be allowed in the work place and though I don't think he has given enough attention to religious discrimination, I do appreciate what he has done for all of us, religious or not, regarding this issue.
Discussing women's health care in the VP debate, Biden, a Catholic, said, "My religion defines who I am...but I refuse to impose it on equally devout Christians, and Muslims, and Jews. I just refuse to impose that on others," and for that I am very appreciative of as well.
It is important to me, as a person and an American, that basic human rights and equality is a core focus in our government and that the beliefs of someone else doesn't override my rights and equality. We are not all children of the same god, or any god, and elected officials should keep their faith out of their policies as a basic principle of separating church and state and showing respect for all Americans - not just those who share their personal beliefs.