Wednesday, July 01, 2015


I recently heard a radio guy discussing a Gallup poll regarding what might stop the public from voting someone into the White House. For some things, such as the candidate being female, black or Jewish, less than 10% say they couldn't do it.  Still too high, but it's progress.

But for a few items, there are very high levels of resistance--38% wouldn't vote for a Muslim, 40% for an atheist, 50% for a socialist (or so they say).

The radio guy turned out to be right-wing pundit Michael Medved, and I was surprised that he agreed an atheist essentially shouldn't be President because such a person couldn't properly represent the public, the vast majority of whom believe in a Supreme Being.  (It also turned out that this is a view Medved has held for a while.)

This is hateful nonsense. Even if the Presidency is partly a symbolic position, it's not the President's job to believe everything the public believes, even the majority.  Indeed, America is about freedom of religion, where all can believe as they choose--an officer holder's religion is his own business (even though many politicians choose to exploit their religiosity).

And for someone who claims to care about the Founders, he seems to be ignoring the original Constitution, which doesn't mention religion much, but does go out of its way to state "no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust..."  And yet here's Medved saying we basically should have our own religious test for the White House.  Shame.

I might add that Medved is Jewish. There are more atheists and agnostics than Jews in America, so I'm not sure why he thinks his exclusionary rule shouldn't apply to his own people. He chooses a level of abstraction he feels good about (belief in a higher power), but why?  As long as we're going to be bigots, demanding we be represented by someone with consonant religious views, why not keep Jews out of an office that represents a majority Christian nation?


Blogger ColumbusGuy said...

Levels of abstraction? Jiggery pokery if ever I've seen it. Apparently this blog is about nothing more than LAGuy's diseased root.

2:24 AM, July 01, 2015  
Anonymous Denver Guy said...

I haven't read anything about this poll, and I haven't listened to Medved for years. I used to like his reviews, better than Leonard Maltin's when they were teamed up.

But I have heard the argument that people of faith (any faith) would resist voting for a sefl-proclaiming atheist. I think this reaction relates to the sense that a true,hard atheist doesnot have any concern over a higher power holding him or her to account. It's not that atheists can't be good people, it's that amongthose holding to there being a higher purpose, lack of such accountability would let a high political officer figure it just doesn't matter that much, that ends can justify the means, and that in the end, we're all dead, so who cares if I make a mistake. Good and evil are only social constructs anyway.

That all said, I wouldn't hesitate to cvote for an avowed atheisit. Politics is hardly a matter of "true belief" for the vast majority of politicians. I vote for people who assert support for policies that I agree with. And I vote for people who I think are intelligent (i.e. have the capacity to carry out those policies). I penalize politicians who change their policy positions after winning elections, as I believe "evolving" in your beliefs while in office is a betrayly of the voters who supported you (barring significant change in circumstances, of course).

The only reason I might not vote for a self-proclaiming atheist is that most of the ones I have known have been annoying, self-righteous, pompous asses.

9:42 AM, July 01, 2015  
Blogger LAGuy said...

That is the argument some make against atheists in high office. It's a bad argument that I'm surprised anyone accepts. It doesn't work in both directions--atheists can and do act from high moral ground (good or bad) as easily as any religious person, and religious people can not only be horrible, morally speaking, but can even use ideas from their religion to do dangerous things (e.g., you believe in an imminent apocalypse and see yourself as a tool that helps it along).

Medved was teamed up with Jeffrey Lyons, not Leonard Maltin.

10:35 AM, July 01, 2015  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Medved was wrong about Ted Neely in Jesus Christ Superstar and he has been wrong about everything else since. He's been pandering to the base who buy his line(OK who in that line of doesn't?) and sounds very tired these days

6:42 PM, July 01, 2015  
Anonymous Denver Guy said...

Oops, Lyons - that's who I meant. Come to think of it, I have a movie review book by Maltin.

8:55 AM, July 02, 2015  
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