Gohmert Thinks Atheists Should Encourage Prayer

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.

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  • Chiroptera

    He doesn’t seem at all clear on the concept of what atheists believe.

    It is a long existing meme among some segments of Protestant Evangelism that atheists really do believe. What isn’t always clear is whether they believe that atheists are just in denial of their beliefs or that they consciously do acknowledge God exists in their heads but are too stubborn to admit it out loud.

  • rationalinks

    “No country has ever fallen while it was truly honoring the god of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob,”

    Citation Needed

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=666775545 jamesredekop

    The rule is, any country which did fall can’t have been truly honoring the god of Abraham. And wasn’t a true Scotsman either.

  • raven

    “No country has ever fallen while it was truly honoring the god of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob,”

    He really is stupid.

    The Jews claim to be god’s special chosen people. They were overrun by the Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, and Romans. The Romans kicked them out of Israel. The xians persecuted them for 2,000 years. The Germans tried to finish them off and got half of them.

    that atheists should want our leaders to be Christians because God will then bless the country.

    Looking at what happened to ancient Israel and the Jews, one has to conclude that Gohmert really hates America. Xianity didn’t do the Roman empire any good either. Being god’s special snowflakes always leads to disaster.

  • naturalcynic

    @ rationalinks: the key word is truly. Very simple – if a country falls,m then they weren’t really and truly honoring honoring the gig guy.

    What Gohmert is really trying to say is that it’s so important for everyone to fake it.

  • matty1

    To be fair, I think his argument is more that there is historical evidence that nations with lots of Christians don’t fall so Atheists should follow that evidence and want Christians around for safety.

    The problem is the lack of evidence for that correlation let alone any argument for a causal relationship but not I think that he is saying Atheists believe in the Bible.

  • John Hinkle

    rationalinks@2

    I’m sure there are plenty of citations from that scholar and historian David Barton. In fact with a little poking around, I found it in his book Pulling One Over the Rubes: How to Make a Bazillion Dollars off Credulous Ignoramuses (2004), on page 117, bottom graph:

    …and indeed, it is self-evident that no country has ever fallen while it was truly honoring the god of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

    See? He set the record straight right there in black and white.

  • Moggie

    Uh… Rome?

    Also, I’d like to point out that no country which truly embraced Discordianism has fallen.

  • frog

    To be the stupidest, most ignorant man in the current Congress is quite a feat.

    The problem is the lack of evidence for that correlation

    Or indeed, the significant evidence that explicitly disproves the thesis.

  • Randomfactor

    Prayer just won’t cut it anymore. Nothing less than the human sacrifice of a government official–say, a Congressman from a Southern state–will assure our continued survival.

    Wonder if Gohmert would like to help us with that.

  • lofgren

    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.

    OK, but that’s not the argument that he is making. He’s making a pragmatic argument that religious countries are less vulnerable, therefore we should prefer religious leaders because that encourages a religious populous, which leads to a stronger country. He believes that there is some kind of historical evidence that there is a strong enough correlation between Old Testament belief amongst the population and the strength of the nation that atheists should support religious leaders.

    In other words:

    Old Testament-believing countries are less vulnerable than other countries.

    Old Testament-believing leaders encourage Old Testament-believing civilian populations.

    Therefore Old Testament-believing leaders make countries less vulnerable.

    It’s still stupidly misrepresents history, logic, the Bible, atheism, and most mainstream Christian theology, but it’s not quite as bad as Ed is making it out to be. Yeah, it is a very fine hair to split, but I think that Epstein’s response is more on-point than Ed’s based on this interpretation. Although we don’t have to choose – his words can be offensive both for encouraging bigotry and also for encouraging stupidity. In fact the two are frequently closely correlated.

  • raven

    To be fair, I think his argument is more that there is historical evidence that nations with lots of Christians don’t fall.

    ???

    News to me. AFAIK, huge numbers of xian nations have fallen. Many of them to other…xian nations.

    A few examples. The Roman empire, invaded by Germanic xians. Germany, losing two world wars. Russia falling to the commies. Britain, Anglo Saxon xians falling to the Normans. Eastern Europe falling to the USSR. Grenada, Panama, and Mexico falling to the American xians. The Confederate xian states falling to..the Northern xian states.

  • rationalinks

    So what’s the percentage for a country to be “truly honoring the god of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob”? 80%, 90%? I mean obviously all those other Scotsman…I mean countries, weren’t praying hard enough…right?

  • Childermass

    “No country has ever fallen while it was truly honoring the god of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.”

    — Louis Gohmert,

    “About that.”

    — Vespasian, Titus Flavius, Lucilius Bassus, and Lucius Flavius Silva

  • Abby Normal

    I wonder if he’d be as keen to rely on God’s protection if it meant reallocating out military budget into feeding the hungry, clothing the poor, and sheltering the needy. If we can’t stand without God’s protection and can’t fall with it, then surely a Godly nation must beat its swords into ploughshares.

    To quote St. Reagan:

    Cannot swords be turned to plowshares? Can we and all nations not live in peace? In our obsession with antagonisms of the moment, we often forget how much unites all the members of humanity. Perhaps we need some outside, universal threat to make us recognize this common bond. I occasionally think how quickly our differences world-wide would vanish if we were facing an alien threat from outside this world. And yet, I ask you, is not an alien force already among us? What could be more alien than war and the threat of war?

  • http://www.gregory-gadow.net Gregory in Seattle

    “… atheists should want our leaders to be Christians because God will then bless the country.”

    And what is going to happen when the One True God (TM) turns out not to be the Christian one?

  • sigurd jorsalfar

    Seems to me what it boils down to is Gohmert is advocating a Pascal’s wager for the nation – call it ‘Gohmert’s wager’.

  • daved

    Why can’t we try a test case — like imprecatory prayer against Gohmert? Then, if something really bad and unexpected happens to him, we’ll know we’re on the right track. On the other hand, if nothing happens to him, then we can abandon the whole thing. Either way, it’s a win.

  • Doug Little

    No he’s got it wrong. The true metric for a stable country is the number of micro breweries that it has.

  • Chiroptera

    Shouldn’t Gohmert want more atheists in power? After all, it will be the atheists that end up protecting his religious liberties when the other kinds of Christians want to shut down his church, take his kids away, and throw him in jail.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    Don’t fall for it. If you Athiests fake belief in God, then God will only fake bless this Nation.

  • imthegenieicandoanything

    Gohmert, whose name – not that it matters, but, like the members of the Nixon administration, somehow it does seem poetically wonderful of fate – EXACTLY suits the imitation human being it’s adhered to, is the dumbest person ever born in all of human history.

    Responses to someone this stupid must be short and to the point: “FUCK OFF!”

    Note that it may need to be repeated, perhaps slowly, and enunciated with a clarity Henry Higgins would approve of.

    Now we know, what with Bachmann and Steve King and Gohmert (and McConnell and Boehner and….) that the Republican Party has found the very worst people now living on the planet to populate their attempt to destroy life itself. Bush and Gingrich and all were simply appetizers, and there will certainly be no dessert, save the one the US deserves, justly, for electing such evil shits.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1360322113 aaronbaker

    The long, agonizing death of the Byzantine Empire would seem to be a counter-example, but as someone implied above, that and any other instance would be No-True-Scotsmanned–before you could say “ikonostasis.”

  • felidae

    Gohmert, Bachmann, Broun, Steve King, Stockman, et al seem to act like there is some kind of prize to be won for the stupidest statement by an elected official

  • Loqi

    “Gohmert Thinks…”

    Citation needed.

  • moarscienceplz

    I wonder how one determines when a nation has turned away from the Judeo-Christian god? Is it that as long as 50.01% of the population are believers, you’re golden, but if it drops to 49.99% then the smiting starts?

  • http://zenoferox.blogspot.com/ Zeno

    Any statement that begins with “Gohmert thinks” is certain to be untrue.

  • Friendly

    “No country has ever fallen while it was truly honoring the god of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob,” Gohmert said.

    How about the Crusader states, Louie? The County of Edessa, Principality of Antioch, Kingdom of Jerusalem, County of Tripoli, and Kingdom of Cyprus? All founded in the 11th and 12th centuries by the Lord’s sworn holy warriors under the sign of the Cross on land won from the infidels — can you honor the god of Abe, Isaac, and Jake more truly than that? Yet every single one of them fell to the Moslems. Cyprus was the only one that lasted longer than 200 years.

  • http://rhapsodies.wpmorse.com/ montanto

    Also someone should explain to him that “truly honoring the god of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob” includes Islam.

  • Phillip Hallam-Baker

    Oh no, not another case of Ghomerteria. A nasty one too it seems.

    Anyone who makes the claim about judaism hasn’t read the bible. The ‘holy land’ is right in the middle of four empires and the people living there have spent their entire history getting their asses kicked by one tribe after another. It is a land of milk and honey and completely indefensible borders. The modern state of Israel quite possibly represents the longest period of uninterrupted independent rule in history.

    Christian nations have fallen quite frequently. Spain fell to the Islamic hoards in 788, the mongols gave everyone around them a kicking. Now admittedly Christian nations have mostly fallen to other Christian nations but that is mostly a product of geography.

  • Christoph Burschka

    > No country has ever fallen while it was truly honoring the god of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob

    Quidem.

    -SPQR

  • birgerjohansson

    “No country has ever fallen while it was truly honoring the god of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob,”

    The Khazar empire, once strong enough to be the essential ally of the Byzantine empire in its struggle with the Caliphate.

    Later, the Byzantine empire itself.

    East Turkestan (now called Sinkiang) was once a nation of Nestorian Christians. Then came Genghis Khan.

    And the Norse community in Greenland was Christian by the time it disappeared.

  • birgerjohansson

    Or maybe Sinkiang was buddhist? It was a long while ago I read up on their history. Or un-history, now that the Han Chinese are in charge.

  • birgerjohansson

    The African Christian kingdom in what is now Sudan fell to Saladin. But those were n*ggers, so they do not count, or something.

  • birgerjohansson

    The quote by St. Reagan cannot be true. The Real Reagan (TM) never raised taxes, or said peacenk stuff like that.

    BTW the Philippines was and is Christian, but it fell to USA after the war of 1898. Does that mean catholicism is untrue, or was it because of racial inferiority (sarcasm)?

  • caseloweraz

    I presume Cuba was Christian under the Batista regime. There went another one, in 1959. And, not much later, a nominally Christian nation failed to roll back its “destroyers” at La Bahía de Cochinos.

  • http://twitter.com/#!/TabbyLavalamp Tabby Lavalamp

    I’m an atheist who encourages prayer. For example, I encourage fundamentalists and evangelicals to pray in lieu of voting.

  • lpetrich

    Or consider Poland. At its height around 1612, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth ruled much of eastern Europe west of Russia, extending from the Baltic Sea almost to the Black Sea. But by the late 18th cy., it was gone, annexed by Austria, Prussia, and Russia in three partitions. However, Poland reappeared in 1918, at the end of World War I.