How Much of an Atheist is Karl Rove? May 12, 2007

How Much of an Atheist is Karl Rove?

There was much written last week about Karl Rove’s supposed atheism, following an interview that Christopher Hitchens did with New York Magazine to promote his new book God is Not Great.

Has anyone in the Bush administration confided in you about being an atheist?

Well, I don’t talk that much to them—maybe people think I do. I know something which is known to few but is not a secret. Karl Rove is not a believer, and he doesn’t shout it from the rooftops, but when asked, he answers quite honestly. I think the way he puts it is, “I’m not fortunate enough to be a person of faith.”

Last night, Hitchens appeared on Real Time with Bill Maher, and seemed much less sure of himself… here’s the transcript:

Maher: And I understand that, in an interview recently, you revealed to us that Karl Rove, George Bush’s consiglieri, of all the people on the world, is an atheist… [Hitchens has a blank look on his face] and that he says, “I’m not fortunate enough to be a person of faith.”

Hitchens: It’s not a revelation from me. It’s something that Dr. Rove has said quite often. And I don’t think he’s an atheist. He simply doesn’t say that he is… well, actually, you quote him there, as far as I know, correctly.

Maher: But, I mean, Bush seems to fill every job in his cabinet with some incompetent Jesus Freak [laughter from audience]. And then it seems to me tremendously hypocritical to fill the one job that he really cares about, the guy who gets him elected, with an atheist.

Hitchens: Well, as I say, I can’t… I certainly can’t speak any further about what Dr. Rove does or doesn’t believe. I know that he did once make that remark, because I think he and actually quite a few other Republicans are quite careful not to appear to be too pious. I mean, the president may say that he, uh, got help from Jesus to get off the booze…

The rest of the conversation dives into Bush’s religiosity and how it was Laura Bush that got him to stop drinking, not God.

So if Rove’s quotation is true, he may yet be an atheist. But it’s inconclusive. However, it seems that Hitchens has no more insight on that than anyone else.

[tags]atheist, atheism, Karl Rove, Christopher Hitchens, New York Magazine, God is Not Great, Real Time with Bill Maher, George Bush, Jesus, Republican, Laura Bush, God[/tags]

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  • Mriana

    The rest of the conversation dives into Bush’s religiosity and how it was Laura Bush that got him to stop drinking, not God.

    There it is. It was a human that helped another person, not divine providence. Why don’t people ever give credit where credit is due for the good things people do? They blame both the good and the bad on a supernatural deity. It makes no sense.

  • Steelman

    I suppose Karl Rove’s government post isn’t high enough to qualify him for the the anti-atheist augmenter’s list of of evil leaders, along with Stalin and Mao. Don’t we need a capitalist or two on there to balance out the communists? [joking]

  • Darryl

    I knew I despised Rove before I heard about this, and now I despise him all the more because he can’t even fall back on sincere ignorance or gullibility to rationalize his crimes against the nation.

  • I have to say that I’ve lost a little more respect for Hitchens each time I’ve seen him interviewed. I do plan to read his book, but I don’t think I can bear to watch any more of his interviews.

  • vjack, you can save yourself the trouble, Hitchens is a two-bit huckster. There’s not much more to him than spleen and self-service. I suspect his book is an attempt to wrest some of the territory he staked out in his Mother Teresa book back. I suspect he sees the Dawkins-Harris, etc. books as claim jumping.

    Interesting site. I’ve been looking into the blog atheist community and am finding it isn’t all highschool snark and dishonest pseudo-skepticism.

  • Darryl


    Respect is not an issue for me. I can appreciate the caliber of someone’s thinking and work without considering whether they ought to be respected. A good example is the composer Richard Wagner. Look into his biography and you will have a hard time respecting him; but his work is incomparable. How many Democrats really respect Bill Clinton?

    olvlzl, no ism, no ist,

    “Two-bit huckster?” How so? Anyone that was once a Marxist and has committed himself in writing has two hurdles to overcome: he will have to guard against the temptation of other ideologies, and spend some amount of time recanting. The up side of this is that he has an insight into the religious mind, and knows how it feels to endure the criticism of back-shooters like you.

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