The Sacramento Bee has a positive story on a gathering of atheists:
Billed as a “celebration of reason and church/state separation,” the event brought together atheists, secularists and humanists, who explained their faith in man and nature and their disdain for the unseen and unprovable.
“Humans have the ability to lead ethical lives for the greater good of humanity without the supernatural,” said Mel Lipman, president of the American Humanist Association.
Those who don’t believe in God, he said, “are no less capable of doing good in the world.”
Not everyone at the event, which attracted some Old Sac tourists passing by, agreed with such views.
David Kukhar, who said he was a Christian, engaged in a good-natured argument with Maughn over the existence of God.
“I think they’re going to be absolutely disappointed when they meet the real God some day,” he said.
Barack Obama still has my vote. The following isn’t him being overly religious. It’s just him pandering. I can live with that. He’s just acquiring future votes. He still supports church-state separation:
[Obama] finished his brief remarks by saying, “We’re going to keep on praising together. I am confident that we can create a Kingdom right here on Earth.”
(Thanks to Sebastian for the link!)
Thomas Jefferson didn’t just father an illegitimate child. He was a “reputed atheist,” not a Deist, according to a review of a book about the 1800 presidential election, in The New Yorker:
Jefferson: former governor of Virginia, onetime Ambassador to France, Washington’s Secretary of State. Eminent, brilliant (president of the American Philosophical Society), surpassing prose stylist, author of the Declaration of Independence (with help from Adams), unrivalled champion of liberty, slave owner, grieving widower, rumored to have fathered children by one of his slaves. Tall, humorless, moody, zealous, cosmopolitan. Artistic. Loves France, not so worried about Bonaparte. Ardently opposes the Sedition Act. Reputed atheist.
The same week, Philadelphia’s Federalist paper, the Gazette of the United States, offered a still more emphatic judgment:
THE GRAND QUESTION STATED
At the present solemn and momentous epoch, the only question to be asked by every American, laying his hand on his heart, is: “Shall I continue in allegiance to
GOD—AND A RELIGIOUS PRESIDENT;
Or impiously declare for
JEFFERSON—AND NO GOD!!!”
“It will not do to be overscrupulous,” [Alexander] Hamilton claimed, if the result would be “to prevent an atheist in Religion, and a fanatic in politics from getting possession of the helm of State.”
It took the House seven days and thirty-six ballots to break the tie, largely because Federalists had come to believe that, as much as they hated Burr, they hated Jefferson more. A few had pledged that they would rather “go without a Constitution and take the risk of civil war” than cast a vote for an atheist. Only when it became clear that a victory for Burr could not be insured did Federalists find a way to break the tie. On February 17, 1801, just two weeks before Inauguration, Thomas Jefferson was at last elected President.
(Thanks to Brad for the link!)