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Atheist Brunch:  SLC Mayor Anderson
December 7 2003, Salt Lake City Utah

Richard Andrews

Mayor Anderson and aide

Monthly Atheist Brunch SLC

          Rocky Anderson's Patriotic Speech  criticizing Bush  Video  Link 2



Rocky Anderson speaks at Ralph Nader's convention in SLC, UT. Jul 31 2008.    Photo @Com







Gay marriage ban backlash against the LDS Church

Ralph Nader's speaks in SLC, UT. Jul 31 2008.        Photo @Com

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Rocky Anderson forms Justice Party, plans to run for president

Rocky Anderson forms Justice Party, plans to run for president
Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2011           By D e n n i s   R o m b o y,   D e s e r e t   N e w s

SALT LAKE CITY Former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson has formed a new political party and plans to run for president.

To be known as the Justice Party, Anderson sees it as a grassroots movement that over the long term will bring about the shift in American politics that he says citizens crave.

"The people are the ones who always bring about major change in this country, and we need to provide that power to people throughout the country," he said Wednesday on KSL Radio's Doug Wright Show.

"They want to see an alternative party. They recognize that these two militarist, corporatist parties have brought us to this disastrous place to where we are today."

One of Utah's most liberal politicians, Anderson renounced his affiliation with the Democratic Party in August, saying he was fed up with it along with Congress, the Obama administration and Republicans. He reiterated that disgust during the interview.

"We've been voting as a nation against our own interests year after year," he said. "Most Americans whether they consider themselves on the right, left, center, whatever understand that their interests have been undermined by these folks in Washington, both in the White House and in Congress, who are acting as if they're on retainer with their largest campaign contributors rather than doing what's in the public's interest."

Anderson, executive director of High Road for Humans Rights, threw out the idea of a new political party in the summer, but said he had no plans to run for office.

Since organizing the Justice Party, he has filled out paperwork for a presidential exploratory committee. The party must also go about the arduous task of getting on election ballots nationwide. Criteria varies state to state but may include past electoral performance or a petition process.

University of Utah political science professor Matthew Burbank said establishing a new party is a "very, very difficult endeavor" that requires lots of time and money.

"I think he has kind of a long-term issues agenda, but that is separate from what it takes to get a third party up and running," Burbank said.

There is a certain level of discontent with U.S. politics and Anderson's message may resonate with some such as the Occupy Wall Street crowd, Burbank said. The party, he said, could carve out a fraction of those who otherwise vote Democrat and some independents, but not a significant number of Republicans.

"I can't see this as anything other than a very long shot," he said.

Anderson said he expects to attract disenchanted members of both parties and independents.

Source: deseretnews.com


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Atheists and Non-believers on the Rise
May 14 2009, Salt Lake City Utah

Atheists and Non-believers on the Rise
B y F i e l d s M o s e l e y

We often hear this country was built on a belief in God, but others say it is really built on the freedom to choose. More and more people in the United States are choosing no religion, and that is true here in Utah. Atheists meet weekly and hold more formal meetings on a monthly basis.

Belief in a higher power is older than written history. Over time, religious dogma has taken those beliefs in many directions. Even now, religion in the United States continues to evolve, with more churches forming, while others disappear.

"The social diversity in terms of beliefs and belief systems is much broader in the United States right now," said Dr. Muriel Schmid, Director of Religious Studies at the University of Utah.

But amongst the organizations of believers, there are non-believers and they are organized too.

"I don't believe there is a God," said Joel Layton, president of Atheists of Utah.

"Having the opportunity to get out there and talk to people and not worry about what you say," explained Lily Wilder as she sat with a group that represents a handful of Utah atheists who get together at Mestizo Coffeehouse in Salt Lake City every Thursday. The conversations vary but religion is a consistent topic and there is some religion bashing.

"I do believe the world would be better off if we never had religion," said Layton. He started these gatherings and wants them to be relaxed to counter the formal atheist meetings that have been taking place monthly for decades.

"We don't only discuss religion," said long time atheist, Stephen Clark. "We discuss politics just as much."

"Atheists are a very diverse group and they have lots of points of view within the atheist organization," said John Cooper.

"The growing number of atheists is only because a lot more are willing to step up and say yeah, I don't believe it," said Layton.

He is right. The numbers are growing, according to the on-going American Religious Identification Survey. It says in Utah from 1990 to 2008, the number of people declaring no religion jumped from 9% to 14%. While the number saying they were Christians other than Catholics dropped by 10%. The survey says the total Christian population nationwide also dropped by 10 percent.

"Up to mid 16th to early 17th century, you still risked death if you declared atheism," said Dr. Schmid. She says atheism in the United States is still widely misunderstood because it has been defined by dominant religious forces. But in Japan, more than half the population describes itself as non-believing. The same is true in Russia and Sweden. The U-S is by no means a secular country, but atheists and non-believers in general have found their place.

"Clearly, we have reached a comfort for this kind of discourse and this kind of spiritual life," said Schmid. "I think that may be the trend in the United States socially. That people will feel less compelled to identify themselves within a religious affiliation."

In recent years, political leaders like President George Bush, whose religion was front and center, led many atheists to seek out like-minded groups.

"When the religion gets organized to the point when they're forcing their point of view down our throat, then we need to do something about it," said Cooper. "We need to stand up for ourselves."

In Utah, the boundary between church and state often seems blurred to non-believers. Right now, a law-suit concerning crosses honoring fallen highway patrol troopers is winding it's way through the justice system. Stephen Clark is a plaintiff.

"We are not opposed to having the state troopers honored for the sacrifices they've made, but we are opposed to having a religious symbol on government property," said Clark.

Clark and other atheists generally see themselves as watchdogs. They bristle at being compared to religious groups just because they meet regularly. They say they aren't looking for converts and they don't want to be converted.

"People are afraid to call themselves atheists, and they shouldn't have to be," said Layton.

Does this mean atheists will find political common ground? On issues of separation of church and state they seem to come together. But just like religion, there are many types of atheists, with many different views.

Source: kutv.com

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