Monday, December 31, 2007

Would you vote for an Atheist?

One of my Christmas gifts was the book, "The God Delusion", by one of my favorite authors Richard Dawkins. His book, "The Ancestors Tale" is admittedly one of my favorite books. A theme in his book(The God Delusion)is the degree to which people give respect for religious belief and make it unaccountable to evidence and the degree to which atheism is disregarded by Americans.

We as Americans have elected someone who has professed strong beliefs in God. Those beliefs have led him to engage in actions that have been counterproductive to our Republic on many levels. The fit some have over Romney's candidacy as a Mormon is interesting on many levels. I've tried unsuccessfully to tie down Mormons who cry persecution at every corner, whether they would vote for an atheist. Is it we atheists who should cry discrimination? Are we the ones who should worry about others judging us unfairly? Admittedly, a rhetorical question. Even so, how do you perceive an openly atheist candidate would fare, even if his platform conformed to yours?

If you wouldn't vote for a well qualified atheist, ask yourself why you are any better than someone who wouldn't vote for a well qualified Mormon?

9 comments:

David said...

Your question forced me to ask myself if I could honestly say that I would vote for an Atheist. By default I would like to say that I would apply the same test any candidate when choosing who to vote for.

My criteria calls for a candidate with personal integrity first, then I look to see if I believe their primary agenda is to serve the country over any predetermined agenda.

An example is Rudy Giuliani. I am surprised at how many positions we agree on, but a private life as messy as his does not indicate a person of integrity so he fails the first test and can't get my vote.

Thankfully I concluded that, yes, I would vote for an atheist who could qualify on those criteria. The question is, will we ever see such an atheist who would run for public office?

JM Bell said...

My answer is kind of like David's, without all the admitting to agree with Guiliani.

I think that an atheist, if he/she weren't one of those "destroy all religion" types, would actually make America a much healthier place for members OF any religion.

No special interest pressure from the hard, whacko right; no preferential treatment to one belief over another; just a nice, level playing field for all.

rmwarnick said...

A better question would be, do you want someone who sincerely believes in God and an afterlife in control of nuclear weapons? Unfortunately, Bush is the first president of my lifetime who might actually believe in God. By some accounts, he even thinks he holds office by the will of God and not by consent of the governed.

Misty Fowler said...

You said:

"We as Americans have elected someone who has professed strong beliefs in God. Those beliefs have led him to engage in actions that have been counterproductive to our Republic on many levels."

I have to disagree. He engaged in those actions, and then (unsuccessfully) tried to use God as an excuse for them.

I could vote for an athiest, much along the same line of reasoning from Mr. Bell.

I could vote for anyone who was able to separate religion and politics successfully, and who still managed to be true to the set of beliefs they profess to believe in. And we've found that professing religious belief does not translate to a moral person with moral actions. So, what it comes down to is that I think non-religious people have morals, too.

Jesse Harris said...

I'm with David. So long as said atheist keeps a clean personal life and meets your generic good candidate qualifications, it doesn't matter to me. My personal experience, however, is that most atheists hold political views highly contrary to my own and probably wouldn't earn my vote on that criterion alone.

JM Bell said...

Yeah, Jesse, that's cause you Utah Republicans think that your politics ARE religion.

Hee hee

JM Bell said...

Yeah, Jesse, that's cause you Utah Republicans think that your politics ARE religion.

Hee hee

Obi wan liberali said...

In the book, Dawkins cites a figure of only 49% of Americans who would vote for an atheist for President, whereas, 79% would vote for a Mormon. If I recall right, atheists did even worse than those claiming Islam as their religion.

I feel so persecuted. I think I need a hug.

WP said...

I would take a WQA over Mitt. Is that a big admission or a small one?