Ted Cruz

Belief in a Sky God Does Not Qualify Ted Cruz to Hold the Office of President

Constitution: No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States

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TedCruz
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Republican presidential hopeful Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) claims that he is "dedicated to upholding the rule of law and preserving the Constitution." He sure has funny way of showing it. At a National Religious Liberties Conference in Iowa last Friday, Cruz basically declared that atheists are not fit to become president. Specifically, as OutsidetheBeltway.com reports at the conference…

…right-wing pastor Kevin Swanson introduced Cruz to the stage to ask him how important it was for candidates to submit to Jesus Christ as "the king of the President of the United States."

"Any president who doesn't begin every day on his knees isn't fit to be commander-in-chief of this country," responded Cruz.

I know atheists aren't all that popular with voters; only 58 percent said that they would consider voting for one in a recent Gallup poll. But I would like to remind the senator of what Article 6 of the Constitution he is supposedly so dedicated to preserving says with respect to political office and relgion:

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several states, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States. (emphasis added)

Ted Cruz is entitled to his opinion (as stupid as it is), but our nation's founders clearly thought that the belief or non-belief in a Cosmic Big Brother was a matter of private conscience and is not be a bar to public office. They are right and Ted Cruz is wrong.

Disclosure: I have been an out-atheist since my early teens.

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212 responses to “Belief in a Sky God Does Not Qualify Ted Cruz to Hold the Office of President

  1. Once again, a belief on the part of an individual that people who are members of certain religions, or who hold certain positions on questions of theology shouldn’t hold office in no way establishes a religious test for office where the state prevents people who are members of certain religions, or who hold certain positions on questions of theology from holding office.

    The Constitution is silent on the question of whether a midget can hold office. An individual declaring that “No midget should be President” in no way means that a midget test for higher office is being imposed.

    1. t: Ted Cruz is entitled to his opinion (as stupid as it is) ….

      1. Ah, so this is an argument from authority; James Madison said there should be no religious test, and so nobody should consider a candidates religious views when deciding who to vote for. Kind of like my aunt who keeps posting shit about Attaturk’s pronouncements on my facebook feed to tell people what they should think.

        I’m sure you’ll stop questioning whether Ben Carson for his religion’s whacky views and question how someone who believes things that are falsified by archeological and geological evidence could be president. Wouldn’t want a religious test for office, would we?

        1. Ted Cruz constantly holds up the Constitution as a sort of biblical document that tells us all we need to know about setting up the country. The point is that he is a stupid hypocrit, and your point about Ben Carson is also quite stupid, considering that disapproving of a candidate because they deny falsifiable facts has nothing to do with disapproving of them because of their religion. I know you were trying to add a clever closing line to your comment, but it isn’t clever. It is stupid.

      2. That could have been your entire article and saved time.

      3. Which means Article 6 of the Constitution is not relevant to what Cruz said, so what was the purpose of bringing it up?

        1. It’s a twofer: atheist butthurt and a swat at Team Red.

        2. It is relevant when you hear how Ted Cruz idolizes the Constitution, when in reality he is just promoting the specific portions that benefit his constituency. This means he’s fk’ing fraud and a grifter, as anyone with any sort of analytical capacity should know by now. That is why it is relevant.

    2. Ron, you usually do better than this.

      A Constitutional ban on the government imposing a religious requirement is utterly irrelevant to whether individuals may choose to apply their own religious requirement.

      There is nothing contradictory about somebody saying they are a strict Constitutionalist, and that they would never vote for an atheist (or a Muslim, or a Christian, or whatever).

  2. I know atheists aren’t all that popular with voters…

    With anybody. Worse than Jehovah’s Witnesses!

      1. Just above PUA’s and slightly below “I don’t even own a TV guy”.

          1. he whines about the fact that his mom won’t buy him a TV to pick up chicks

      2. Rank in bodily odor from worst to worster: atheists, openly devout Christian, PUA, vegan, your average libertarian.

        1. No way are vegans not on the bottom of any “worst body odor” list. Their hippies Crusty. Hippies!! That is like the NBA or bad BO.

        2. Yeah, i don’t buy that libertarians are on the bottom. We got like 23 different types of deodorant, after all.

          1. But you would perspire if it wasn’t for gov’t, cause axe didn’t built that! On top of that, they put the men in Mennen.

  3. Lighten up, Francis. Cruz was just playing to the crowd.

    Anyway, although the government is forbidden by the Constitution from imposing a religious test for public office, the voters, of course, can impose any test they want. For the time being, an open atheist is not getting elected president.

    1. Even though Cruz was (hopefully) just playing to his audience, I am glad Ron shined a spotlight on his statement.

      An open atheist, or an agnostic, could certainly be elected president as long as they were not disrespectful of religion.

      1. An open atheist, or an agnostic, could certainly be elected president as long as they were not disrespectful of religion.

        I think you are right about that. If such a creature ever appears, however, is a different question.

        1. John proves my point.

          1. I know. Atheists have done nothing to earn my skepticism. Nothing at all.

            1. Only because you’re a prejudiced bigot who will never allow that to happen. Ever. No matter what any atheist says or does.

      2. An open atheist, or an agnostic, could certainly be elected president as long as they were not disrespectful of religion.

        Doubt it. It is generally assumed that someone who is an atheist is disrespectful of religion. The burden of proof is on the atheist to prove they’re not hostile to religion, and it is impossible to prove a negative like that.

        1. And religions are uniformly respectful of other religions, and of atheists. TFIBHAW

        2. it is impossible to prove a negative like that.

          Sure it is. You are respectful of the beliefs of others. It is not that difficult. “Fuck you and your sky daddy!!!” doesn’t work.

          1. Doesn’t matter. Bigots like John will forever be asking “When did you stop beating your wife?” no matter what the atheist says or does.

            1. Let’s be fair, the 4 horsemen of atheism (Dawkins, Harris, Dennet and Hitchens) basically started a trend that wasn’t just “I don’t believe in God”, but was outwardly hostile to all religion and belief in a higher power. Of course not all atheists are like that, but there is a pretty vocal group that follows in their footsteps.

              1. You could say that about Christians as well.

                  1. Ron, it’s a pity you won’t be at the PDX meetup Thursday night (Bit House Saloon). You’d be among your own people, at least in regards to theology here in Oregon.Just have to ignore the crunchy granola anti-science types, which are a much over-hyped aspect of Portland. 🙂

        3. The question is: can an openly atheist person avoid the temptation of proving the positive?

          1. Also, is an Atheist stupid enough to run for office? I would have to disagree with the notion that an Atheist could get elected President today. I would at least say the odds were not very good. God is dying though so maybe still in my lifetime.

            1. I do not think Obama’s supporters or Hillary’s supporters consider those two to be religious, which is why I think that if a candidate was like “I am not going to bullshit you any of you, I do not believe in God, but I do not care if you do,” the candidate would have a good chance to win an election.

              If an atheist was running for the Republican nomination this year and he* had good, libertarian-infludenced economic positions, the vast majority of the people in this chatroom would vote for him.

              *Everyone knows girls don’t do math good.

              1. I would but I’m not a typical voter nor are most people who come here. I would like to see that though.

              2. And I agree their root supporters wouldn’t care but those alone do not win an election.

        4. A respectful atheist calls himself an agnostic.

          No such thing as a self-described atheist who is respectful of religion.

          1. No such thing as a self-described atheist who is respectful of religion.

            I know several atheists who are very respectful of other people’s views while disagreeing with them. Self described atheists.

            I think you should get out more.

            1. Bubba got fooled by Mommy and is now in a desperate corner to justify his belief in magic.

              1. “justify his belief in magic”

                This must be that “respectful” part, right?

                *ducks and runs from room*

            2. I’m guessing he means respect in the strong sense of consider it legitimate, and not the common use of “respectful” as mere politeness.

  4. I disagree STRONGLY with Ted Cruz that an athiest “isn’t fit to be commander-in-chief”. Although I am in no way an athiest. However, it is a bit of a non-sequitur stating that the Consitution doesn’t allow any religious tests. Ted, nor his pastor, are in any way arguing for a LEGAL requirement to be President.

    Many of us argued that Obama wasn’t fit to be commander-in-chief due to his lack of qualifications (never mind his ideology). Hillary is completely unfit due to her lack of ethics (and her ideology). We can argue that anyone “isn’t fit to be commander-in-chief” for whatever reason we want. It in no way means that we are asking for a legal requirement.

    I think Ron is whining a little bit.

    1. You beat me to it Bear. Ron is totally whining here. The Constitution has nothing to do with the validity of Cruz’s statement.

    2. You are an atheist in regards to Scientology; Hinduism; Elf-worship; etc. etc. Why are you a believer in the Abrahamic god?

      1. What Abrahamic god? Don’t you see my handle?????

        1. +3rd season of “VIkings”

        2. Mongo in rush to call bad names!

  5. Nothing in the Constitution says a communist can’t be President. Yet, in my opinion at least, no communist is fit to be so. Whatever one thinks about the fitness of any communist to be president, the constitution has nothing to do with it.

    The same rule applies here. Cruz thinks no atheist could ever be fit to be President. His opinion in no way implicates the Constitution. The Constitution just means we can’t have a law that proscribes a religious test. It doesn’t mean the voters can’t decide on their own to have one.

    If Bailey thinks Cruz is wrong in thinking an atheist can never be fit to be President, he should explain why. “The Constitution says no religious tests” is not, however, a sensible response to the question.

  6. Ted Cruz is trying to catch up to Trump in the “most disturbing face” part of the race.

    1. You need to get your visor recalibrated, dude. He won that contest long ago.

      1. Yeah, under the heatlamps Cruz’s face looks like it’s sliding off.

    2. Alternate alt text: Vinegar Strokes.

      1. Damn you.

    3. I think his collar is cutting off his brain’s oxygen supply.

  7. Well I see we all piled on at about the same time!

  8. A true believer is an irrational person (see Ben Carson or Dubya) and therefore is not fit to be President.

    1. When you consider that Obama attended church every Sunday for 20 years and has on repeated occasions professed his faith, you might be onto something there shreek. Correlation does not necessitate causation but it doesn’t prohibit it either.

      1. Obama attended church every Sunday for 20 years

        Of course he did. Obama has been planning to be president for at least that long.

    2. rational presidents only believe in the power of good intentions

    3. A true believer is an irrational person (see Ben Carson or Dubya) and therefore is not fit to be President.

      See also, Obama, Clinton and Sanders.

      1. Perhaps.

        Since they all have to say they are Christians only the real whackjobs (Carson) stand out.

        1. Yeah, but they’re all socialists which is worse.

          1. Every Republican is a socialist too. They all support SS, Medicaid, and Medicare.

        2. Stand out as at least having the ethically justifiable position.

          “The real whackjobs” at least have the honest belief in their position. You may think it’s foolish. Or silly. Or even insane. But, its a sincerely held error and not one you can say, rationally, that they have any moral failing for holding.

          On the other hand, if you’re someone who doesn’t believe in God, who thinks the entire concept is a lie and a fraud, and you’re willing to participate in the deluding of people that that fraud is the truth because it will get you what you want, the very best that can be said of you is that you’re a moral coward.

      2. The way to cull out the real idiots is to ask them about Creationism.

  9. You guys whining about how Ron is whining seem to have missed the part where Ted Cruz specifically claims to want to support and uphold the Constitution.

    But like almost all other politicians, he only actually wants to uphold the parts he likes.

    1. The Constitution doesn’t say I can’t as a voter have a religious test. It just says we can’t have a legal prohibition. The Constitution restricts what government can do. It doesn’t restrict what I or Ted Cruz or you can do.

      You would never vote for an Evangelical Christian. By your logic, you are ignoring the Constitution. It does no “no religious tests” right? No Nikki, the Constitution is not a guide for voting.

      1. I don’t believe in the Constitution, though, John. Cruz does. Cruz thinks it’s great.

        1. So what? That doesn’t change the fact that Cruz’s opinion in no way means he doesn’t believe in the Constitution. Ron is just whining and arguing by authority here.

          1. The Constitution says anyone over the age of 45 can be President. If you say “A 90 year old is too old to be President” it means you don’t respect the Constitution.

            1. How do you think amendments start?

            2. That is right. See my point above about Communists.

          2. If a presidential candidate went around saying he was a huge, full-throated supporter of the Constitution, but spent time campaigning among SJWs talking about how he would personally participate in no-platforming protests against transmisogynists, would you buy that they were just making an appropriate distinction between their actions as a private person and government suppression of speech? Or would you think they were an asshole who didn’t believe in freedom of speech, and therefore didn’t really support the whole Constitution?

            1. I would think that person is an asshole.

              Further unpacking of their bullshit is unnecessary.

            2. I would think he was an idiot but I would just say that. I wouldn’t claim they were ignoring the Constitution.

              1. Would you say they are a hypocrite for claiming to support the Constitution?

                1. Depends. What does “no-platforming protest” mean? If it simply means that private entities ought not provide platforms for transmisogynists, then I might think that they didn’t have much respect for the marketplace of ideas, but I wouldn’t necessarily think that they didn’t support the constitution (which gives them to right to deny platforms for transmisogynists).

        2. It’s about time some religious Christian call out the inherent idolatry of the constitution worshipers.

        3. WOOOSH!

          Did you even read his point? Cruz says he believes in the Constitution and is NOT advocating violating it or even amending it. He is simply pointing to a criterion he would use, and advocates others use, to decide for whom to vote.

          And btw: it doesn’t matter if you “believe” in the Constitution. Does the Constitution not exist?

          1. It exists; I don’t think it’s worth supporting.

            He’s advocating publicly against one of its central tenets. Funny way to support something.

            1. No he is not. The central tenant is we can have no law that imposes a religious test. The document says nothing about the voters having one of their own.

              1. Anyway, how does taking advantage of the first amendment amount to not supporting the constitution? If we couldn’t have opinions, it would not be worth supporting

              2. Is Ted Cruz getting up there saying, “Now, folks, the government can’t impose any religious tests, but I personally have one”? Or is he going, as a sitting senator running for president, and firing up a bunch of religious people against the outgroup?

                I would say doing the latter at all goes against the spirit of the Constitution, which was meant to be inclusive and tolerant.

                1. Now you have hit rock bottom. “Inclusive and tolerant”?? I must have missed that in the Federalist papers.

                  The spirit of the Constitution was to preserve individual liberty by using just as much federal government as is needed. (I am not getting into the arguments about how much govt that is).

                  1. What do you think the point of the “no religious test” clause is if not inclusiveness and toleration?

            2. I know we don’t agree on that much, but this is unworthy of your intelligence. Whether or not you “believe” in the Constitution, it doesn’t limit the people. It only imposes limits on government. And any of the people, including those running for elected office, can encourage the voters to use any criteria they want to in making their decisions. That is in no way violating the Constitution.

              It is not violating the Constitution if a homeowner doesn’t allow armed neighbors into their home. It is a violation of the Constitution for the government to infringe upone the right to keep and bear arms.

              1. Did I ever say he was “violating the Constitution”? No. I said he was advocating against one of its central tenets and against the spirit of it. If a homeowner did not allow armed neighbors into his home, and publicly advocated for other people to bar armed neighbors into their homes, but also claimed to be a supporter of the Second Amendment, how would you feel about that person?

                1. I certainly wouldn’t argue that they were in any way violating the Constitution.

                  “He’s advocating publicly against one of its central tenets” Your words.

                  Once again, the Constitution was never intended to restrict individuals. ONLY government. If Ted Cruz was even approaching saying that “we should pass a law against those crummy atheists running for office” then you would have a point.

                  I think we are going in circles. At this point I will agree to disagree.

                2. You are attributing to Cruz the notion that something unwise should also be illegal, which does not seem to be near what he intended with that statement. He was not advocating violating any tenet of the Constitution.

                  1. No, I’m not. I’m calling him a bigot.

                3. If a homeowner did not allow armed neighbors into his home, and publicly advocated for other people to bar armed neighbors into their homes, but also claimed to be a supporter of the Second Amendment, how would you feel about that person?

                  I’d feel that he had a good grasp of the distinction between private and state action.

  10. This was the same conference where one of the speakers, a Pastor Swanson, reminded the audience how the bible calls for homosexuals to be put to death. Twice. And Swanson has a history of that sort of thing. Granted, the candidates are not responsible for what comes out of Swanson’s pie hole, but it’s disturbing that they agreed to share the podium with someone with his track record.

    1. You know, if the Electoral College worked as it should, we would be much less likely to be stuck in this situation where only monsters who feed the most monstrous passions of the vulgar masses rise to the top.

  11. “Any president who doesn’t begin every day on his knees isn’t fit to be commander-in-chief of this country,” responded Cruz.

    Giggity.

    1. Cruz is a Faith + 1 fan.

      “”I wanna get down on my knees and start pleasing Jesus, I wanna feel his salvation all over my face.”

      1. I can think of someone on God’s green Earth who could use more pleasing than Jesus. Just sayin’. But not from Cruz.

        1. Me? You are thinking of me, right? Thanks!

          1. Always thinking of others–it’s the Christian thing to do.

            1. *platonic, ass-out huggles*

              1. “platonic” That means in the butt, right?

      2. Is that where the wine came from?

    2. It took way to long to get to this comment. Shame on all of you…except Riven.

    3. That was my reaction too. And it is pretty solid advice, though I question the mechanics of it. Do you have to fall out of bed onto your knees? Or is a second or two on your feet acceptable? Are you kneeling on the bed?

  12. I think Mr. Haney should be disqualified on account of all those bad products he tried to sell Mr. Douglas.

    1. Useless trivia: Douglas purchased his farm from Mr. Haney.

      1. Did not know that! Thanks.

      2. Which included the tractor…a Hoyt-Clagwell.

        (why do I remember shit like that?)

  13. “Any president who doesn’t begin every day on his knees isn’t fit to be commander-in-chief of this country,” responded Cruz.

    Veiled shout-out to Lindsey Graham?

    1. No. Graham ends every day on his knees.

  14. No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States

    Except for Carbontology and the Marxist dialectic.

    Belief in both is compulsory for presidential candidates.

  15. K There, tiger. Just because you don’t agree doesn’t mean you should be a smug asshole about it. I don’t agree with Cruz either, but if I take to smarmy insults in what’s supposed to pass for “journalism”, I’m no better than the SocJus cancer spreading across the country. And that would be a sad, sad place to be, wouldn’t it?

    1. smug asshole

      K There, tiger

      Uh huh…

      1. Just hold on there slick and listen to what the man is saying. 😉

  16. I’d like to reiterate that separation of church and state in the First Amendment is a Protestant thing. It’s source is Protestant religious doctrine.

    “[Your address] is a pleasing and persuasive example of pious zeal, united with pure benevolence, and of cordial attachment to a particular creed, untinctured with sectarian illiberality. It illustrates the excellence of a system which, by a due distinction, to which the genius and courage of Luther led the way, between what is due to Caesar and what is due to God, best promotes the discharge of both obligations. The experience of the United States is a happy disproof of the error so long rooted in the unenlightened minds of well-meaning Christians, as well as in the hearts of persecuting usurpers, that without a legal incorporation of religious and civil polity, neither could be supported. A mutual independence is found most friendly to practical Religion, to social harmony, and to political prosperity.”

    —-James Madison, author of the First Amendment.

    http://tinyurl.com/npum5tj

    1. Luther, of course, was the author of the Two Kingdoms doctrine.

      That faith shouldn’t be a prerequisite for office is true, but we should also take note that faith in this point of Protestant theology probably should be a prerequisite for getting yours or anyone else’s vote.

      It’s probably not controversial to suggest that no libertarian should vote for a candidate who doesn’t believe in the First Amendment separation of church and state. I’d just like to add that the separation of church and state as we have it in the First Amendment owes itself directly to Martin Luther and Protestant theology–according to the author of the First Amendment. Yes, before you get my vote, I’m going to hold you to a point of Protestant theology; it’s just that you don’t have to be a Protestant to believe in it.

      1. And that is why people didn’t trust Catholics to hold high office for so long.

      2. This is where lefty atheists go off the rails. They seem pretty pissed off about “tax breaks” for religion, because they don’t buy in to the concept of separate spheres.

        1. It never occurs to them that the tax exemption is nothing but a trade given in return for churches agreeing to give up their 1st Amendment Right to participate in the political process. I don’t think they would like the results of ending the tax exemption.

          1. Ah. I hadn’t considered that.

            Mostly they just think that the compromise has outlived its usefulness to them.

          2. in return for churches agreeing to give up their 1st Amendment Right to participate in the political process

            Maybe because this is utter nonsense; churches spend all their time spreading their philosophies. The idea they don’t participate is literally insane.

            1. They can lose their tax exemption for advocating for any particular candidate.

            2. I don’t think either one of us would like the result of turning the Southern Baptist Convention into a Super PAC.

        2. They seem pretty pissed off about “tax breaks” for religion, because they don’t buy in to the concept of separate spheres.

          That’s an interesting way to look at it.

    2. I disagree. In the 1600’s in Virginia, they were jailing people for following the wrong religion. Hell, in MA, being a Quaker was a capital crime!

      When the Constitution was being ratified, several states had official state religions. And they weren’t all the same religion!!!!

      The prohibition of the federal government involving itself on religious matters was an attempt to remove an obstacle to the ratification of the Constitution by eliminating a major source of conflict between the states.

      The doctrinal stuff was post-facto rationalization.

      1. The English were not Lutherans.

      2. There are other examples of points of theology becoming so important that they influence the wider culture.

        Atheistic homosexuals complaining that Christians aren’t doing unto others [with gay marriage] as they would have done unto them is one example. The Golden Rule became part of the wider culture to the point that it influences the thinking of Western people who are not Christians–but let’s not ignore the source of that influence.

        We also probably owe capitalism itself to Protestant theology. It’s an outgrowth of the Protestant Work Ethic.

        http://tinyurl.com/oe23hwt

        1. That wasn’t supposed to be a response!

          It was supposed to be a stand alone post.

      3. “In the 1600’s in Virginia, they were jailing people for following the wrong religion. Hell, in MA, being a Quaker was a capital crime!”

        The Puritan theology surely contributed more to the freedom from establishment side of our First Amendment rights–they left England because they didn’t want to have to pay taxes to support the Anglican church.

        Any particular hypocrisy at any particular point in history doesn’t change the underlying theology either. Christians sometimes murder. That doesn’t mean they don’t think that murdering people is wrong.

        1. Gosh! I wonder why the fled the religious freedom of Holland for the New World!

          Oh yes, I remember! Kids were abandoning the religion of their parents! So they decided to form a society of only Puritans!

          1. Again, we’re talking about the evolution of our current concept of religious freedom as enshrined in the First Amendment.

            James Madison attributed Martin Luther with leading the way to the separation of church and state, and James Madison wrote the First Amendment.

            Yes, there were fits and starts and diversions along the way between Luther and Madison. That doesn’t mean we didn’t somehow get to Madison from Luther.

        2. I’d argue that William Penn and the Quakers of Pennsylvania had more to do with the formulation of true religious freedom than the Puritans in New England. The Puritans didn’t have much of an issue with religious discrimination, as long as that discrimination was against people who weren’t Puritans. The Quakers were fine as long as you were Christian. Not perfect, but a lot better than anywhere else at the time.

      4. Too exclamationy.

    3. The conversion of the Church of England to Protestantism eliminated what separation there was between spiritual and temporal authority. The English experience gave the the State control of the church which led to the founding of several of the American colonies. It was not the Pope who was persecuting the Pilgrims and the Quakers..

  17. Pretty much every *atheist* I know is an asshole. I wouldn’t vote for any of them. They lack any pretense of humility.

    I am cool with agnostics.

    Cruz’s point is that we want a President who holds himself accountable to a higher authority. Atheists tend to fall into the “no higher controlling authority” mindset of Al Gore and Hillary Clinton. I seriously doubt there is a counter-example who also has the ego to run for President.

    I agree we don’t want a President who is trying to bring about Armageddon or convert people by the sword, but I would prefer one who has some sort of external moral compass.

    In the US, that typically means Christianity. Or at least a Catholic idol-worshiper.

    1. It’s possible that your perception is the product of sampling bias.

      Do you discuss religion with lots of people? If not, then its likely the only atheists whom you perceive as atheists are the proselytizers.

      The nice lady who sells you coffee could be an atheist and you’d have no idea, since she isn’t discussing the matter with you.

      1. Name one public atheist you would vote for for President? There are no doubt a few but you have to think a bit. Meanwhile, there is an endless stream of them who are the worst sorts of authoritarians and Progs.

        1. You can say the same about religious people. Or people in general.

        2. Being an anarchist who doesn’t vote for people, my answer would be none.

          Meanwhile, there is an endless stream of them who are the worst sorts of authoritarians and Progs.

          As I wrote on another thread:

          I think there is something in the human psyche that needs religion, and if that need is not being fed by an established traditional religion, then someone somewhere will vomit up a new religion that then other unattached people will glom onto.

          I don’t think atheists are immune to the religious impulse. I think many – especially the shallow thinkers – just substitute other stuff for it. For example, the ones who join the green cult are convinced that they are quite rational and completely above superstitions. They are oblivious to being members of a primitive religion that is unusual in that it lacks a god that has sentience or agency.

      2. This is definitely a possibility. However, I think when people self-identify as atheist (at least today) they do tend towards the modern evangelical atheism. Whereas people who aren’t hardcore probably tend towards identifying as agnostic.

      3. The term “atheist” has been coopted by the Richard Dawkins crowd.

        I think the nice lady would call herself an agnostic if she were running for office.

        I completely respect the “I have no need for that hypothesis” flavor of atheism/agnosticism.

        But if you run for office under the “atheist” label you are choosing to lump yourself with the “religion is mental illness” group.

        To me, I see agnosticism as literally “I don’t know.” Atheism requires a faith in the absence of God that lacks internal consistency.

        1. lacks internal consistency

          Can you explain this? I’m curious what you mean.

        2. To me, I see agnosticism as literally “I don’t know.” Atheism requires a faith in the absence of God that lacks internal consistency.

          That is certainly true about some atheists, a lot of whom are specifically rebelling against religions they were brought up in. But for someone such as myself to whom the idea of God and religious faith has never made much sense it’s not a matter of faith any more than believing in the non-existence of the Easter bunny is a matter of faith for Hindus. I don’t go around calling myself an atheist and making that part of my identity, but it’s a fair description of my worldview.

          1. You’re an agnostic.

            1. Do Zeb and I get to decide who the real Christians are?

              1. No, I do.

              2. No, SugarFree, you’ll get into the box that you were assigned to by people who hold you in contempt, and you will stay there!

            2. You’re a communist.

            3. More of a materialist, I think.

        3. The term “atheist” has been coopted by the Richard Dawkins crowd.

          Not among the atheists I know, but carry on.

          I think the nice lady would call herself an agnostic if she were running for office.

          Well, I must say I’m impressed by your omniscience about the public positions of atheists whose existence you were denying a few minutes ago.

          But if you run for office under the “atheist” label you are choosing to lump yourself with the “religion is mental illness” group.

          No. you’re deciding to lump them in that crowd. Your prejudices and thin skin isn’t their problem.

          To me, I see agnosticism as literally “I don’t know.” Atheism requires a faith in the absence of God that lacks internal consistency.

          This is incoherent. I don’t believe fairies exist because I have no evidence that fairies exist. That’s not inconsistent. That’s forming a conclusion based on evidence. We theists have even less justification for our faith that something is out there than atheists do for their conclusions.

          1. Rejecting an axiom is not in of itself an axiom. It’s really not that hard of a concept to grasp, but they have to ignore to keep on being bigots.

            1. There is a difference between “I reject your axiom” and “I accept the negation of your axiom as an axiom of my own”.

          2. Once before I said there is a difference between “I don’t believe in God” and “I believe there is no God”. Someone, I think it was Zeb, said that was nothing more than a semantic quibble. There IS a real difference between those two statements.

            1. I don’t believe in Thor.

              I don’t believe there is a Thor.

              No matter which way you say it, there is no Thor. But very few people are angry and upset because I find their evidence for Thor uncompelling in the extreme.

              1. How dare you!!

              2. But… thunder!

            2. I don’t think I said that. I can’t quite decide what I think about it now. There are a lot of ways to read both of those statements. The important part is what you mean by “believe”, I think.
              If “I don’t believe in God” means that I don’t believe in the existence of a god, I don’t see much difference in the meaning. Yes, the latter is a positive statement about the nature of the universe.

              Of course, either statement is only going to come up because we are surrounded by people who do believe and introduce the concept of God into our lives. There are tons of things that I have never even contemplated that I don’t believe in. If the notion of a God weren’t something that I run into every day, then I would never have occasion to say “I believe there is no God”.

    2. Absolutely. I can even see an agnostic being elected. He may have to provide some lip service to religious tradition, or something along the lines of “I am not sure about the historicity of the Bible, but it seems like the 10 commandments are just a decent way to live your life” kind of stuff.

      But in a country where a very strong majority (I don’t know what the current numbers are) of the people believe in a divine power of some kind, it is probably not a good election strategy to quote Dawkins “The God Delusion”.

    3. I would prefer one who has some sort of external moral compass.

      I am going to guess that what you really mean is you prefer someone who has a specific type of external moral compass and that you wouldn’t prefer, say, a Marxist or Islamist or Liberation Theology Catholic to an atheist.

      1. Obviously. I am not a single issue voter, “Does he have a moral compass?”

        I wouldn’t want someone whose moral compass is leading him in a direction I oppose.

        I wouldn’t want someone who happens to agree with me on current topics, but who lacks a moral compass.

        1. But I have to wonder, why is an external moral compass better than an internal one? I’ll take an atheist committed to the NAP any day.

          1. I personally have a hard time trusting people who are so morally lazy they need to get their beliefs from a book. That being said, if we can agree on things then what does it matter where we reach our conclusions from?

            1. “If we can agree on things then what does it matter where we reach our conclusions from?”

              You’ll never be an Objectivist with an attitude like that!

              1. That’s a relief.

          2. Natural law is external.

              1. Yes, it is.

                It comes from nature and/or nature’s God. To paraphrase a famous “deist” who may have actually been our first atheist president.

                1. I’m not entirely convinced.

    4. You only trust people that have an external moral compass? Wow. Well, more power to ya.

      1. Woe!

        What are you, a moral relativist?

        There should be some kind of external reference point, shouldn’t there?

        1. Why? Just tell me why.

          1. Because even if God is merely an evolutionary social adaptation, like language or law, he’s still an external reference point.

            The law works to the extent that it works because it adapted to certain external realities. Language works to the extent that it works for the same reason. No culture survived into the historical record without some form of religion, and it has continued to evolve through 6,000 years of recorded history–in response to external realities.

            Even If God is merely an evolutionary social adaptation, he has adapted to conform with certain external realities. Our moral and ethical codes, as they adapt, adapt to conform to certain realities. Isn’t this what Adam Smith was talking about when he was talking about the invisible hand guiding the culture in “Theory of Moral Sentiments” in 1759? The economics that came out “Wealth of Nations” in 1776 simply quantified the same idea, but Smith noted what we now call social adaptations long before that in 1759.

            Even if our ethics are simply a product of evolution, they evolve to conform with and reflect some kind of external reality. Different cultures may come up with different conceptions of what constitutes a wrongful killing–but if they all condemn wrongful killing, doesn’t that necessarily mean that there’s some kind of external reality behind that?

            1. external

              You keep using that word…

            2. There are hundreds of different languages, there have been hundreds of different religions, there have been many different legal frameworks. This is your reason for why there should be an external source of morality? Christians, Muslims and Jews can’t even agree on the proper interpretation of God amongst themselves nevermind with each other. Are you trying to tell me that that isn’t moral relativism?

              1. You haven’t noticed that many of those religions, languages, and legal frameworks seem to have certain things in common?

                1. I have. They have -people- in common. Human beings.

    5. BJ: At least nominally speaking Al Gore is a Southern Baptist and Hillary Clinton is a Methodist. Just saying.

      1. Someone should ask Hillary if she believes that Jesus turned water into wine, walked on water, and raised the dead. I’d be interested in hearing her response.

        A belief in miracles would explain a lot about Obama. He seems to believe he can feed a multitude with five loaves and two fishes.

        1. ask Hillary if she believes that Jesus turned water into wine, walked on water, and raised the dead

          Nobody really believes that stuff, do they?

      2. A lot of people make a weird assumption about religion ans politics and seem to assume that leftists are atheists and religious people are right-wingers. There are a lot of religious leftists out there.

  18. I don’t want a president who gets on his knees for anyone or anything. Except perhaps to beg forgiveness of citizens for being an asshole politician.
    Somehow it is the worst thing in the world for a president to bow to a foreign king, but it’s just fine to get on your knees to praise the voices in your head.

    1. I haven’t met anyone who hears voices while they pray.

      1. No? What about those people who claim to have a direct personal experience of God?

        I’m saying it in a flippant and silly way. But think you know what I mean.

    2. Again, the idea that the universe is so enormous and complicated that only a power of infinite intelligence could have created it makes more sense to me than the idea that Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton have the infinite intelligence necessary to direct our economy better than markets.

      If some people believe that the infinite intelligence that created the universe also cares so much about every individual that it listens to what they’re saying in their hearts, I don’t find that scary either.

      1. “If some people believe that the infinite intelligence that created the universe also cares so much about every individual that it listens to what they’re saying in their hearts, I don’t find that scary either.”

        In fact, couldn’t it be well-argued that the idea that Jesus died for each and every one of us is the very foundation of our belief in individual rights?

        If the creator of the universe sacrificed himself or his son–just to save Zeb–then who is the government to say that Zeb’s rights aren’t important?

        If the government is saying that Zeb and Zeb’s rights aren’t important, aren’t they also saying that Jesus’ sacrifice isn’t important? Do you believe that Jesus died so that Zeb would have a choice or don’t you?

        Isn’t that a likely candidate for the cultural source of our belief in individual rights?

        1. Isn’t that a likely candidate for the cultural source of our belief in individual rights?

          I’m sure it’s a big part of it. That doesn’t mean that God is the actual source or that it is the only way to get there. Christianity has certainly provided a number of positive cultural influences. I’m not trying to deny that.

      2. I find both ideas to be quite absurd. But I’m currently more scared by the people who think they can direct the economy or engineer society.

      3. How much memory is required to control a universe?

        1. Some quantity somewhat less than infinite.

      4. Unless the universe is infinite, which is far from certain at this point, you don’t need an infinite intelligence to control it. Just a very large one. Inconceivable to the human mind isn’t the same as infinite. I’m not sure infinite intelligence is even a sensible thing to talk about.

    3. I don’t want a president who gets on his knees for anyone or anything.

      So you’re not voting for Monica Lewinsky?

  19. So I get to judge all Christians by their loudest and most obnoxious adherents?

    1. According to bubba, yes.

      1. Collectivism is his real religion.

  20. Are not fit =/= should be barred from.

    What a fucking waste of time this article was.

    1. Well, it does show Cruz to be a bigoted asshole… but on the other hand, who didn’t already know that?

  21. So far as one can see the de facto religious test for presidents is they show personal and unequivocal belief in the State-as-god and within that standpoint all recent presidents have demonstrated their religious zealotry. The last president who did not share this belief died in January 5th, 1933.

  22. The obnoxious thing about movement atheism (which really must be kept distinct from atheists singular) is the habit of accruing to itself all secular achievements (much like the attitude progressives hold vis-a-vis civil rights) and attributing to theists all the faults and setbacks of human frailty and superstition. It’s part of why I broke with the skeptics community despite being a life-long atheist, because I got a look at a secular social movement and did not like what I saw. Atheism is no less an epistemological statement than theism; we can hedge around that fact with reference to Occam’s razor, but it’s no more defensible than Pascal’s wager. But movement atheists tend to forget that fact when heaping abuse on theists like irreverence is a substitute for reason. It’s obnoxious social signaling and it seems to be ushering in a devotion to secular authority as a counterpoint to spiritual authority.

    1. Did Pascal win his bet?

    2. Short of God incarnate, there has never been spiritual authority, only secular authority clothed in pretense. That is to me the one of the key revelations of the Enlightenment, the other being liberalism. Where the “movement atheists” went off the rails is that they just swapped pretenses; there is no magic in democracy, technocracy, socialism, communism, or in any other system of rule by men, which is what have and have always had for all practical purposes.

  23. I think Cruz’s statement is silly. I really see no reason why an atheist couldn’t make a perfectly able president. And let’s bear in mind Jimmy Carter was a born again.

    That said, I think he’s not talking about a governmental religious test.

  24. I suspect that Ted Cruz also doesn’t believe that failure to loudly proclaim your faith disqualifies you from high office. But he knows what his audience wanted to hear.

  25. Sky God? I want outer space gods.

    1. The Sky God would be Tengri.

      The Blue Heavenly Sky God of the Mongols.

  26. Since it really isn’t up to Ted Cruz who could become a future president regardless of whether he was elected in 2016, I don’t see what difference it makes what he thinks about it.

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  28. The Religious Test Clause prohibits the State from requiring a religious profession [or denial] for holding office; this is of a piece with the First Amendment’s religious language, intended to keep the State out of the Established Church business and playing favorites with religions.

    It has no bearing whatsoever on private opinions as to the necessity [or impermissibility] of holding or not holding one to be properly qualified for office, nor on any individual decision to support or decry a candidate for the same reason.

    This should not be difficult to understand, but somehow my fellow atheists keep finding it difficult, over the years.

    1. +1 million tired of beating this dead horse!

  29. It’s not personal, Bailey; it’s business.

    OT: The Four Turnings

    Fascinating, but is it valid? The page seems to indicate that we are nearing the end of the Third turning, but by its own benchmarks, we would presently be in the Fourth

  30. This thread was everything I feared it would evolve into…. this next year is going to suck ass on H&R.

    I am going to make it my mission to joke more, snark more and be drunk more. That way I might make it through. If not, I will leave a substantial sum in my will to STEVE SMITH to find all of you and give “loving regards” from beyond the grave for me…

    1. Maybe I’m just ignoring the right parts, but I find threads like this to be the best escape from the awful election year shit because of the irrelevant digressions into theology/ontology. Hell of a lot more interesting and fun than electoral politics.

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