GOP Candidates Wax Stupid on Religion

In the most recent Republican presidential debate the candidates were asked about the role of religion in political debate, in the aftermath of Perry surrogates attacking Romney for being a Mormon and saying that no Christian should vote for a non-Christian. Their answers were variously ridiculous and amusing. Gingrich pretty much rules any non-believer out of consideration for public office:

GINGRICH: Well, I think if the question is, does faith matter? Absolutely. How can you have a country which is founded on truths which begins we are endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights? How can you have the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 which says religion, morality and knowledge being important, education matters. That’s the order: religion, morality and knowledge.

Now, I happen to think that none of us should rush in judgment of others in the way in which they approach God. And I think that all of us up here I believe would agree….

But I think all of us would also agree that there’s a very central part of your faith in how you approach public life. And I, frankly, would be really worried if somebody assured me that nothing in their faith would affect their judgments, because then I’d wonder, where’s your judgment — how can you have judgment if you have no faith? And how can I trust you with power if you don’t pray?…

Who you pray to, how you pray, how you come close to God is between you and God. But the notion that you’re endowed by your creator sets a certain boundary on what we mean by America.

See, it’s okay if you believe in God — any God will do (except Muslims, of course). But if you don’t pray, you can’t be president. If you don’t ask imaginary beings for help, he can’t trust you. Because Newt is so trustworthy himself. Just ask all his ex-wives.

About Ed Brayton

After spending several years touring the country as a stand up comedian, Ed Brayton tired of explaining his jokes to small groups of dazed illiterates and turned to writing as the most common outlet for the voices in his head. He has appeared on the Rachel Maddow Show and the Thom Hartmann Show, and is almost certain that he is the only person ever to make fun of Chuck Norris on C-SPAN.

  • david

    None of them ever quote the constitution, VI.3 ” no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office” — republicans had the document read into the congressional record, but they only pick the parts they like. Kinda like religion and the bible, actually.

  • raven

    You’re missing the point here.

    All the Tea Party candidates are haters and bigots. It is a requirement.

    They just don’t agree on who to hate. And sometimes their hates include each other.

    Gingrich is now a Catholic, having converted to marry his third wife. A lot of Perry’s wild eyed christofascist supporters don’t like Catholics either. Hagee is famous for his anti-catholic rantings. IIRC, Jeffress doesn’t think much of them either. Bachmann’s church, the WELS, says right on their website that the Pope is the antichrist.

  • raven

    Bigot Anti-catholic Baptist Rev. Jeffress in General Forumcatholicchurchapologetics.yuku.com/…/Bigot-Anti-catholic-Baptist-R…Cached

    Bigot Anti-catholic Baptist Rev. Jeffress. … Unread Message Bigot Anti- catholic Baptist Rev. Jeffress. Lead, [-]. avatar. 10/12/11 3:43 PM …

    Jeffress is the Perry supporter who said no one should vote for Romney because he is Mormon.

    So, he doesn’t like Catholics or Mormons. I’m sure Jeffress hates extend far beyond that to most of the human race and atheists would be right up there with Moslems and scientists.

    I suppose that qualifies him to be a prominent and good Baptist minister and Rick Perry’s buddy.

  • frankb

    I don’t trust Gingrich with any power and it has nothing to do with religion. Gingrich don’t trust me with any power because I don’t have any religion. See, we are equal.

  • ManOutOfTime

    The American Right: Putting Religion Before Morality and Knowledge Since 1787!

  • tomh

    The sad part is that a majority of Americans, 62% in this Newsweek poll , agree with Gingrich and would not vote for an atheist.

  • abb3w

    Well, all of his living ex-wives….

  • Aquaria

    How can you have the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 which says religion, morality and knowledge being important, education matters.

    The exact quote that this moronic douchebag mangles is this:

    “Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.”

    The document also says this:

    Sec. 13. And, for extending the fundamental principles of civil and religious liberty, which form the basis whereon these republics, their laws and constitutions are erected; to fix and establish those principles as the basis of all laws, constitutions, and governments, which forever hereafter shall be formed in the said territory: to provide also for the establishment of States, and permanent government therein, and for their admission to a share in the federal councils on an equal footing with the original States, at as early periods as may be consistent with the general interest:

    Sec. 14. It is hereby ordained and declared by the authority aforesaid, That the following articles shall be considered as articles of compact between the original States and the people and States in the said territory and forever remain unalterable, unless by common consent, to wit:

    Art. 1. No person, demeaning himself in a peaceable and orderly manner, shall ever be molested on account of his mode of worship or religious sentiments, in the said territory.

    Fuck you, Newt, you bigoted sack of shit.

    The text of the Northwest Ordinance is here:

    http://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?flash=true&doc=8&page=transcript

  • ouabache

    how can you have judgment if you have no faith?

    WTF does that sentence even mean? It makes no sense on any level.

  • Aquaria

    how can you have judgment if you have no faith?

    WTF does that sentence even mean? It makes no sense on any level.

    It’s the old chirstard canard of people not being able to be good without religion.

    But notice the part of the quote he gets right, about religion, morality and knowledge. The people in 1787 separated out religion and morality, which makes his bullshit even more stupid and dishonest.

  • Who Knows?

    WTF does that sentence even mean?

    Maybe Newt means something about being judgemental? If you going to sit in judgement over everyone else, it doesn’t hurt to have an omnipotent being on your side.

    He certainly couldn’t mean judgement as in good sense. I mean, Newt is full of “faith” yet he seems to have quite a bit of trouble exercising good judgement.

  • Michael Heath

    Newt Gingrich:

    . . . how can you have judgment if you have no faith?

    ouabache responds:

    WTF does that sentence even mean? It makes no sense on any level.

    I think Mr. Gingrich made himself perfectly clear with his rhetorical question.

    He’s arguing we can’t make quality decisions and take compelling positions without relying on what religious authorities claim is true as funneled through their respective holy dogma and claims of past leaders’ divine revelations.

    Mr. Gingrich is effectively rejecting the enlightenment’s dependence on human reason and rejecting scientific methodology to discern objective truth, both of which require no faith, in fact faith would vastly increase the odds one is wrong. He instead argues we submit to primitive religionism through the filter of faith.

    Mr. Gingrich is very good, as is Albert Mohler, at putting a faux-intellectual sheen on arguments equivalent to Sarah Palin’s advocacy we remain ignorant and reject what experts discover.

  • d cwilson

    Imagine how Newt would behave if he wasn’t afraid his imaginary sky-friend would hit him in the balls with a bolt of lightning.

  • http://timgueguen.blogspot.com timgueguen

    Yea, given how he behaves now you can’t help but suspect he’d really be horrible.

  • pacificnorthwestpariah

    I call dibs on worshipping Thor.

  • http://nikkane.blogspot.com nikkane

    “Who you pray to, how you pray, how you come close to God is between you and God. But the notion that you’re endowed by your creator sets a certain boundary on what we mean by America.”

    This statement (notably the “Who you pray to,” bit) seems to indicate that Satan worshippers would be qualified for public office before atheists.

    Do his right wing buddies know that Newt considers Satan worship both a qualification for public office and a private matter between the satanist and God?

  • vmanis1

    Just a meta-comment. Ed used the phrase `waxing stupid’, which we all understand and recognize. Wouldn’t it be nice if the Republican candidates changed phase, and began `waning stupid’? Why isn’t that as common an idiom? And does that tell us anything about the nature of stupidity?

    `The Dean is waxing wroth’. Groucho Marx: `Is Roth out there? Tell him to go wax the Dean for a change.’

  • http://stochasticscientist.blogspot.com kathyo

    @tomh #6

    Only 62%? Isn’t that a huge improvement? Nearly half the country would vote for an atheist. Plus, that same poll said that 49% of all Americans and 62% of people under age 30 actually know an atheist. And that poll was from 2007. Personally, I find all this to be extremely encouraging.

  • http://stochasticscientist.blogspot.com kathyo

    @tomh #6

    Only 62%? Isn’t that a huge improvement? Nearly half the country would vote for an atheist. Plus, that same poll said that 49% of all Americans and 62% of people under age 30 actually know an atheist. And that poll was from 2007. Personally, I find all this to be extremely encouraging.

    That’s not to say that I don’t find the Republican candidates heinous for encouraging religious divisiveness, but after all, heinous divisiveness is their stock in trade.

  • laurentweppe

    Sometimes I wonder if it would not be a good thing to put this play in the civics studies of every country strugling with powerful politicians pandering to the fundies.

  • Aquaria

    Sometimes I wonder if it would not be a good thing to put this play in the civics studies of every country strugling with powerful politicians pandering to the fundies.

    I doubt showing it to them would work. Most of them are too stupid to understand it. Others will think it only pertains to Catholics. The rest won’t bother looking at it because it’s French.

  • stace

    So it’s okay to be a serial philanderer and seek office as long as you have faith. How typical for a right-wing blowhard like Newt.

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