There’s been a lot of discussion this week about the seven states which have laws on the books banning atheists from holding public office.
Conservative commentator Jake MacAulay thinks those bans make perfect sense. And just wait until you hear why:
Now, let’s be clear. Mr. [Todd] Steifel [of Openly Secular] may not believe that there is a God. And no one is forcing him to do so.
But if he doesn’t believe that God exists, it follows that he doesn’t believe that God-given rights exist either.
And if he doesn’t believe that God-given rights exist, then how would you expect him, if elected, to defend and protect those rights?
You see, when someone is elected to office he swears an oath to protect and defend the Constitution and the God-given rights that are secured thereby. To elect someone who does not believe that God exists, is to ask them to do that which is impossible for them to do.
Somehow, the guy who helps run the Institute on the Constitution missed the fact that the “God-given rights” he’s talking about is rhetoric from the Declaration of Independence, not the document that we’re actually governed by. The Constitution makes is explicitly clear that there can be no religious test for public office.
More to the point, though, you don’t have to believe our rights came from God in order to be committed to defending them.
But wait! He’s not done saying dumb things yet:
Think of it this way.
Suppose instead of not believing in God, Mr. Stiefel informs us that he does not believe that there exists a city called Cincinnati, Ohio.
By not believing in Cincinnati, Mr. Stiefel breaks no law that we can punish him for.
But now suppose that a few of us have decided to take a bus trip to visit Cincinnati. We advertise for a driver for the bus and Mr. Stiefel answers our advertisement.
Is Mr. Stiefel qualified to drive us to Cincinnati?
Do you see the problem? Once he started the bus, what would Mr. Stiefel do next? How would he get us to a place the existence of which he denies?
Well, we can actually visit Cincinnati. Cincinnati exists. God? Not so much.
MacAulay thinks you’re only qualified to hold public office if you believe the only way to get to Cincinnati is via a magical sky fairy.
By his own logic, though, I guess that means he would vote for a (God-believing) Muslim or Hindu… so I guess that’s progress.
(Thanks to Kyle for the link)