What Political Events in 2008 Made Atheists Cringe? November 20, 2008

What Political Events in 2008 Made Atheists Cringe?

Can you help out with a project?

Without going into details, a reader is looking for short snippets from the election season in which candidates/pundits/journalists said things that made atheists cringe.

For example, “we are a nation of believers,” “Faith-based funding is great,” “Creationism belongs in public schools,” etc. Also, any examples of politicians pandering to religious groups would be helpful.

I know we all remember the three Republicans raising their hands and proudly saying they didn’t accept evolution. And everything dealing with Elizabeth Dole and Kay Hagan.

More helpful would be the lesser known remarks — even a quick, throwaway line — that revealed a bias in favor of religion or some sort of intolerance against atheists or rational thinking.

If you can provide links to those statements/words/images, even better.

The deadline is this Friday night!

Thanks in advance for the help 🙂

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  • Miko

    I’m trying not to remember those right now. But since this is likely to be a fairly depressing thread, I’d like to start it off with the most positive statement for atheists I heard during the campaign season:

    Romney is totally wrong [when he said, “Freedom requires religion”]. Vast numbers of Americans are atheists or agnostics. Other Americans honor essentially every faith known around the globe. I reject the demands of some Americans that our government should persecute other faiths and beliefs, for example by barring abortions or regulating which marriages are valid.

    I do not believe, as some of my Republican opponents do, that a particular religious work is ‘inerrant’ and trumps the Constitution.

    –George Phillies, Libertarian primary candidate, Phillies Will Swear Oath on Constitution, Not Bible

  • Miko

    Okay, now the negative:

    Romney: “When I place my hand on the Bible and take the oath of office, that oath becomes my highest promise to God.”

    Romney: “Freedom requires religion.”

    Huckabee: “…it’s a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living god. And that’s what we need to do – to amend the Constitution so it’s in God’s standards rather than try to change God’s standards so it lines up with some contemporary view.”

  • Richard Wade

    Technically not in 2008 but pertinent:
    Governor Mitt Romney’s speech on Dec. 6, 2007 at the George Bush Presidential Library had several cringable passages about liberty coming from God rather than from our Constitution, but this one made me stand up and scream: (emphasis mine)

    “We separate church and state affairs in this country, and for good reason. No religion should dictate to the state nor should the state interfere with the free practice of religion. But in recent years, the notion of the separation of church and state has been taken by some well beyond its original meaning. They seek to remove from the public domain any acknowledgment of God. Religion is seen as merely a private affair with no place in public life. It is as if they are intent on establishing a new religion in America – the religion of secularism. They are wrong.

    “The founders proscribed the establishment of a state religion, but they did not countenance the elimination of religion from the public square. We are a nation ‘Under God’ and in God, we do indeed trust.

    Whereupon Romney made a transparent attempt to create a secular scapegoat, a common enemy against which he and the Evangelical right would unite to defeat. Fortunately they didn’t buy it

  • The nomination of Sarah Palin.

    Honestly, as a Libertarian, I thought McCain was the better of all of the Republicans, had he not made the choice to pander to the religious right. He lost my vote as soon as Sarah Palin was selected as his running mate.

    Barack Obama then became the next logical choice.

  • llewelly

    Romney: “When I place my hand on the Bible and take the oath of office, that oath becomes my highest promise to God.”

    When Romney said this, did he cross his fingers behind his back, and think: ‘only insofar as it is translated correctly’?

    (Mormons ‘… believe the bible to be the Word of God only insofar as it is translated correctly’)

  • Jason

    Huckabee: “…it’s a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living god. And that’s what we need to do – to amend the Constitution so it’s in God’s standards rather than try to change God’s standards so it lines up with some contemporary view.”

    A winnar is you. Well, more accurately, a winnar is not you, Mr Huckabee.

  • Brooks

    I’d say this made me cringe

    Don Miller, an author and social conservative who delivered a prayer at the Democratic convention, said, “Senator Obama has a policy director and an advisor for many different faiths. He has nothing on atheists or agnostics. There’s not this grand effort for the Democrats to reach out to a group of pagans to try to get them to vote for Senator Obama.”

    D. Paul Monteiro, Obama’s National Deputy Director for Religious Affairs, then said, “Senator Obama has a twenty-year history, a twenty-year testimony” and described Obama’s support for Bush’s “faith-based partnership program” and how Obama said “no” to those who distributed flyers at the Democratic National Convention urging him, on the basis of church-state separation, to oppose public funding of faith-based initiatives.

    Then, referring to Sen. Obama, Monteiro proclaimed, “This is not some crazy wacko atheist trying to make sure that your children grow up to marry trees.”

    http://www.atheists.org/nogodblog/index.php/2008/10/30/obama_aids_diss_atheists The very existence of Sarah Palin also made me cringe.

  • Your reader could check out U.S. Rep. Bob Inglis (R-SC). Inglis’ America Wins Action Plan is still available via his campaign web site. Pages 11 and 12 explain how his issue stances are rooted in the biblical worldview. Lots of scripture.

    “The journey begins with what we believe. If we really believe that God is sovereign…”

  • 5ive

    The passing of prop 8. As someone with no god belief, I cannot comprehend how it can cause harm if 2 people who love each other get married. This was the tipping point off the religious beliefs are ok for other people fence. Now that religion has forced its way into the government so overtly, I no longer think anyone should hold any religious beliefs without question.

  • All of the things already mentioned were on my list. Before the Mormons and the rest of the religious right got so involved in the Prop 8 issue, I was to the point where I’d let go of my Mormon past and I was fence sitting like 5ive mentioned. The whole Prop 8 issue has gotten me all vehemently anti-Mormon and anti-religion in general again.

  • You probably don’t care, but we had a federal election up here in Canada. The Christian Heritage Party ran in fewer than 1/5 of the ridings in the country, and got 0.2% of the popular vote. They elected nobody, but the fact that there’s an actual theocratic party in my country that gets over 26,000 votes makes my ass twitch.

    The bill themselves as “Canada’s only pro-Life, pro-family political party”. They’re odious.

  • Epistaxis

    Every time someone pretended Obama is a Muslim, up until Colin Powell finally said “so what if he is?”

    I believe in no religious test for office. Even as an atheist, I’d rather vote for a qualified Christian or Muslim than an unqualified nonbeliever, as long as her private religious beliefs have no undue influence on her policy decisions.

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