The Uninspired Manifesto
Friday, August 10, 2007
Australia To America: "Why Do You Hate Atheists?"
Pete Stark found himself in a unique and slightly uncomfortable position earlier this year. The longtime Democrat congressman for the Oakland district near San Francisco had responded to a survey from the Secular Coalition for America which offered a $1000 prize to the person who could identify the "highest-level atheist, agnostic, humanist or any other kind of 'nontheist' currently holding elected public office in the United States".
To his surprise, that was him. Stark was the only one of 535 federal politicians prepared to admit he had no religion. For a few brief weeks he was the poster-boy for the humanists in a nation where, according to Pew Foundation research, eight out of 10 people say they have "no doubt God exists" and that "prayer is an important part of their daily lives".
In the immediate aftermath, Stark's staff worried about the backlash. Would his office be targeted by fire-and-brimstone Christians, prophesying his imminent damnation? One or two callers promised to pray for Stark's soul, but for the most part, the callers felt Stark was championing a position held by a significant but silent minority.
Fortunately, at 75, Stark is not planning to seek higher office. If he had been, he had just committed political suicide.
I still can't believe he didn't get more shit than he did. Then again, he is in California, home of the satanic, secular Hollywood, corrupt of all christian morals.
Being an atheist is the biggest handicap a person could have to being elected US president - worse than being gay or a woman, according to a Gallup poll in February.
More than 53 per cent of people surveyed said they would not vote for an atheist. They would prefer a homosexual president - 43 per cent said they would not vote for a homosexual - or a woman president (11 per cent said they would not vote for a woman).
And it seems that these days being black or Catholic or Jewish is hardly a barrier at all, with each of these factors being named as a bar by fewer than 7 per cent of voters.
Nice to see we still got that racist streak alive and well in middle America. What did they do, interview members of the fucking Klan for this poll?
To Australians, the idea of asking a politician about their religious beliefs and practices would seem impertinent, at best irrelevant. Being a non-believer is certainly not a bar to high office as Bob Hawke proved. In 1980, during a interview on ABC television, Hawke admitted: "Until I get some evidence one way or the other which is compelling to me, I'm going to have to remain an agnostic …" He was prime minister three years later.
It seems that Americans want a Christian president, but they are not sure that he or she should let their religious supporters have open access to the Oval Office.
I don't particularly mind if we have a christian president. Mostly because this isn't an one issue election, and if it were, I wouldn't have a single candidate to even consider. All I ask is that you don't base your decisions on your faith, and compromise the freedoms of those that don't agree with your viewpoints. There are far too many examples to name with the current administration, so suffice it to say this country has been fucked up enough over the last eight years. Let's not continue on this path by electing someone who is only going into office to further the cause of their religous affiliation.