Louis Gohmert, who simply has to be the dumbest man in Congress (Bachmann gives him a run for his money for the overall title), gave a rambling speech on the House floor recently in which he said that atheists should want our leaders to be Christians because God will then bless the country.
Although he also declared that Christianity is the most persecuted religion in the world, as an aside he argued that only nations that turned away from the Judeo-Christian god have ceased to exist.
“No country has ever fallen while it was truly honoring the god of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob,” Gohmert said.
“So if you were completely areligious, completely atheistic, but you wanted to have a free country, and you wanted to have it safe and protected, then it would sound like — from historical purposes — that it might be a good thing to encourage those who believe in God to keep doing so,” Gohmert said. “Because when a nation’s leaders honor that God, that nation is protected. It’s only when it turns away that it falls.”
But I don’t think I really agree with this response:
Greg Epstein, humanist chaplain at Harvard University, said such talk actually does significant harm to people who do not believe in God or who hold other religious beliefs, and in fact, make the United States weaker.“What he [Gohmert] said is insulting. It’s really insulting and hurtful,” Epstein said. “People who are not religious or believe differently experience prejudice directly because of his statements.”
Epstein said such thoughts declared by elected officials on the floor of the House suggest to others that it’s OK to disrespect people who don’t share their religious views.
It makes people who are not religious worry about persecution they could face, he said. “If you have him out there trumpeting what it is to be a good American, a police officer, a plumber — who knows — might feel pressure because this gentleman is saying there is only one way to be a good American.”
What bothers me about what Gohmert said is not that it’s “insulting and hurtful” or that it will lead to persecution, it’s that it’s egregiously stupid. He doesn’t seem at all clear on the concept of what atheists believe. We don’t believe in the validity of the Bible, so saying that we should want our leaders to be Christian because the Bible says that’s good for the country is absurd. The most offensive thing about this is that we actually elect people like this to office in this country.