The Bishop of the Providence Diocese of the Roman Catholic Church, Bishop Thomas Joseph Tobin, is very concerned that the Democratic candidate for mayor of Providence, Rhode Island might be an atheist. And he tries the “not that there’s anything wrong with that” line but then puts his Christian privilege on display.
Question: is Jorge Elorza an Atheist?
Is Jorge Elorza, currently a candidate for Mayor of the City of Providence, an atheist or not? The question emerged early in the mayoral campaign and has reappeared in recent newspaper coverage. The issue comes about as a result of an article he wrote a few years back for the University of Pittsburgh Law Review. Since the question arose, I’ve had the chance to read the article and I’ve come across the following quotes…
“Specifically, science has disconfirmed the claim that the theist God has the power to violate the laws of physics.” And again, “In this section I argue that the disconfirmation of the theist God is not only hypothetically possible, but that it has already been achieved.”
When Mr. Elorza uses the term “theist God” I think he’s referring to the kind of God most of us believe in, the God who’s revealed in the Bible — a personal God, a God who can and has intervened in history, a God who cares about you and me every day.In another section Mr. Elorza turns to psychiatry to argue that many religious experiences can be explained by epilepsy and that many religious founders and leaders have had epilepsy which he refers to as a “sacred disease.” This theory might come as a shock to many believers who have had personal religious experiences of their own.
Now I should emphasize that being an atheist would neither recommend nor disqualify him from being Mayor of Providence. But I wonder if an atheist mayor would be in a position to respect the sincere convictions of believers (of all faiths) and to encourage and support the many contributions the faith community makes in our city and state.
So, can anyone help determine: Is Jorge Elorza an atheist or not? It would be good to know before Election Day.
I’m betting that if someone suggested that a Catholic candidate might not “respect” (whatever the hell that means; this may be the most overused and underdefined word in the English language) the “sincere convictions” of Protestants, Jews, Muslims or atheists, Bishop Tobin would be outraged at the very suggestion.