Barack the Vote

He’s not an atheist, but I still think Barack Obama is the best viable candidate in terms of respecting a separation of state and church.

If you’re in Iowa, here’s to hoping you’re caucusing for him. (And not just for that reason.)

Hopefully you’re not as much of an anti-atheist bigot as the woman below:

Meanwhile, Obama shook hands in a downtown food court. Although he had a lot of eager well-wishers, he did get one chilly question: is he an atheist?

“I’m a member of the Trinity United Church of Christ,” Obama replied, according to a pool report. “Don’t read e-mails.”

He was referring to malicious rumors that he is either a nonbeliever or a radical Muslim.

“I hated having to ask him that,” said the questioner, Zanata Moore-El. “But I heard he was like an atheist. I don’t want a president who’s an atheist. I’m a firm believer in God. I just really wanted to make sure because I really wanted to vote for him and he has some good topics and everything.”

Ugh. Sadly, I’m sure there are plenty of others who think like Moore-El.

It’s also disappointing that political reporter Marcella Bombardieri thinks being called a “nonbeliever” would qualify as a “malicious rumor.”

It might be untrue, but it’s not an insult.


[tags]atheist, atheism, Iowa Caucus, Democrat, Republican[/tags]

  • Siamang

    It’s also disappointing that political reporter Marcella Bombardieri thinks being called a “nonbeliever” would qualify as a “malicious rumor.”

    It’s possible that the people spreading the rumor have malicious intent.

  • EI

    I’m caucusing for him!

  • grazatt

    Moore-El ? IS she related to Jor ?

  • Cameron

    Mike Gravel was being interviewed on NPR today, and he went into a pretty good rant against religion, even saying that children shouldn’t be exposed to the hatred in the Bible and being very specific in saying religion belongs in the home and shouldn’t be any part of politics. I don’t think he has any chance, and I agree that atheists should back somebody realistic, but I was really impressed with how outspoken Gravel was.

  • http://www.myspace.com/timandjeffrey Tim

    It’s also disappointing that political reporter Marcella Bombardieri thinks being called a “nonbeliever” would qualify as a “malicious rumor.”

    By itself, no, nonbeliever would not be an insult. But when put together with “radical muslim,” it’s hard to not classify the statement as a whole as “malicious.” It’s a dirty tactic, one that (I think) is aimed at trying to associate the two with one another — the idea that he is “either” an atheist or a radical muslim, as though the two were so similar as to be difficult to tell apart is ridiculous. If you know enough about someone to know that they are “either” an atheist or radical muslim, then you should know which of the two he/she is. It’s not like radical muslims and atheists have a lot in common, aside from the fact that they don’t believe in the Christian God. But in that sense, you could lump everyone in the entire world who isn’t Christian into that category.

    *drones on…*

  • Nancy

    One day I would like to see a political campaign that focuses on such mundane topics as the economy, health care, constitutional rights, and foreign policy instead of what, if any, religious preference a candidate has.

  • Karen

    Woot! I just heard that with half the caucuses counted, Obama is ahead on the Democratic side! Let’s hope that news stays good. :-)

    Karen, also an Obama supporter

  • terri

    What about Edwards? Has he said something about religion or nontheists, or is it his views on other issues? I haven’t been following every speech, but he seemed to be a good bet, too…

  • http://paxnortona.notfrisco2.com Joel Sax

    I get the feeling that if they looked into the history of Ms. Moore-El they might find someone with a history of pathological religiosity. I think the press is trying to find dirt on Obama and will take it from whatever source they can find.

  • http://thatatheistguysblog.blogspot.com NYCatheist

    grazatt wrote:

    Moore-El ? IS she related to Jor ?

    Ha ha! :-D

    I was looking forward to posting a joke along those lines, and once again it is plucked from my brain before it was even fully formed. Good show!

    Nicholas Cage named his son Kal-El. I bet he’s not only a comic book nerd, but an atheist too! (malicious rumor started)

  • Teresa

    It’s been called for Obama in Iowa! Wooo! And I get to be a delegate for him at the County Convention in March. Double Woo! Yay Democracy!!

  • Jen

    Hmmm, I don’t know how I feel about this. I like Obama; I saw him speak live and I almost swooned because he was so pretty*. But politically, I don’t like how he seems to be pandering to the super religious, super homophobes.

    I was kind of looking forward to Clinton when I was fairly certain the primaries would go to her. For one thing, I think it would be nice to finally be a world power with a female leader. Most, if not all, of Europe has had female leaders in power before and they think we are a little backwards for refusing to do the same- it would have been a nice apology for He Who is a Moron. She also had the most diverse campaign staff, and that probably would have lead to a diverse cabinet. That said, she doesn’t seem to be a favorite in New York, where there are many blue voters.

    I look forward to seeing this unfold.

    Also, can I just say, Huckabee? Barack would eat him alive since Huck is so far right as to scare many right-wing voters. At least, I hope so.

    *Edwards, who I also saw speak live, looks like a living Ken doll.

  • http://mytensmakt.blogspot.com/ BryanJ

    I found it so bizarre that some actually took to the story that he went to a radical Islamic school, while the same source said that his mother was an atheist. [sarcasm]Yes, a fundamentalist muslim man married an atheist woman[/sarcasm]

  • Drew

    It’s also disappointing that political reporter Marcella Bombardieri thinks being called a “nonbeliever” would qualify as a “malicious rumor.”

    It might be untrue, but it’s not an insult.

    It’s such a tough place to be in for anyone– to have to deny something that many people are against, whether or not you are against it. For some reason– perhaps my love of broadway musicals and odd fashion sense– I occasionally hear rumors that I’m gay. I am not sure how to respond– I’m not offended to be called gay, but it’s not true, and I certainly don’t want to drive away any interested females. At the same time, I don’t want to deny it too vehemently, because I would feel like I were criticizing other peoples’ sexual preferences.

    If Barack doesn’t deny these rumours vigorously, people will wonder if maybe not sincere. But certainly those of us who don’t see religion the same way as the majority do not want to hear him say how far he is from being atheist.

    If this reads like an excuse to talk about me… sue me.

  • http://hoverFrog.wordpress.com hoverFrog

    I would dearly love to see a political candidate who answered such a question with “My personal religious beliefs are just that: personal. They have no standing on my ability to serve my country.”

    I don’t think that it’s a vote catcher though. ;)

  • http://lifebeforedeath.blogsome.com Felicia Gilljam

    …is he an atheist?

    “I’m a member of the Trinity United Church of Christ,” Obama replied, according to a pool report. “Don’t read e-mails.”

    If the quote is correct, Obama didn’t actually answer the question. Very politicianish – he actually left it open to interpretation whether he’s an atheist or not. He doesn’t say “No, I’m not an atheist” or “No, I believe in God” – he says “I’m a member of a church.” Unless Trinity United Church of Christ has an infallible Faith Test before you can join, of course, there’s nothing that implies he’s necessarily a believer. I wonder if that’s his subtle way of catering to the atheist audience.

  • valhar2000

    BryanJ, Debbie Schlussel beleives that atheism is a sect of Islam, and she is a poular columnist, rather than a patient at a mental institution. That’s how bad things are.

  • http://atheistrevolution.blogspot.com/ vjack

    Personally, I’m supporting Kucinich. I am not willing to let the media determine which candidates are viable and which are not because I recognize that the corporate owners of the mainstream media have their own agenda.

  • http://heathendad.blogspot.com/ HappyNat

    Also, can I just say, Huckabee? Barack would eat him alive since Huck is so far right as to scare many right-wing voters. At least, I hope so.

    I would hope you are right, but I don;t know anymore. Many right wingers will come out and vote against a liberal, black, “atheist”.

    Afterall Bush was a dumb hick with his daddy’s money who talked funny . . .

  • stogoe

    Kucinich is a dweeb who’s been absolutely terrible on reproductive rights. I wish he would disappear from public life and go die of shame somewhere.

    I went for Edwards, but Obama’s an okay choice. Frankly, his willingness to attack Democrats with right-wing smears is upsetting, as is his refusal to understand that when Republicans say ‘compromise’, what they really mean is ‘give us everything we want or else’.

  • Jen

    I wonder if that’s his subtle way of catering to the atheist audience.

    Has anyone, ever, catered to us as a group? I would love to think Obama is, but I would be a little shocked, honestly.

  • Siamang

    Brent over at UTI has the perfect rejoinder to this article:

    And he faced a surprise question from one woman who asked him if he was a black man.

    “I’m ethnically a member of the white race. I’m just really tan,” Obama replied, adding, “Don’t read e-mails.”

    E-mails have circulated in recent weeks saying Obama is a Muslim or a black man or took his oath of office on a Quran instead of a Bible, none of which is true.

    “I hated having to ask him that,” the woman, Zanetta Moore-El, said. “But I heard he was like a black guy. I don’t want a president who’s a black guy. I’m a firm believer in white superiority. I just really wanted to make sure because I really wanted to vote for him and he has some good topics and everything.”

    Brent:

    Who wouldn’t be outraged by a news story like the one I created above? All I did was change “atheist” to “black man”.

    Why isn’t anyone outraged by the real news story?

  • Kelly

    Barack?! There is a constitutionalist running and you pick Barack??

  • Karen

    Why isn’t anyone outraged by the real news story?

    Well, we are outraged and I am even going ballistic about it. Does that count?
    ;-)

  • Siamang

    There’s a constitutionalist running?

    Or are you referring to batshit insane ultra-libertarian Ron Paul?

  • http://emergingpensees.com MikeClawson

    Constitutionalists – aren’t they the ones who think the Constitution ought to be a fixed document and whatever the Founding Fathers meant by it is what it has to be for all time with no room for new interpretations/applications or changing circumstances?

    Sounds like the political equivalent of Christian fundamentalism.

  • Siamang

    Karen, please don’t go ballistic!

  • Kelly

    MikeClawson: No, constitutionalists see it as a living document. Common misunderstanding.

    By the way, RP is not a ultra-libertarian. He’s is mildly libertarian; I would call him a constituationalist with a republican (as in classic conservative, not neo-fundie-bent) fiscal twist. I am, however, what you might call an “ultra” libertarian (notice the small L).

    Calling people “crazy” simply because you happen to disagree with them is incredibly dismissive, rude, and stupid. Siamang, you should be ashamed of yourself, but I am fairly sure you wont be.

    This is why I don’t usually comment on blogs, rude assholes.

    RP does not use his religious beliefs as a foundation for his politics and he has been very vigilant to make that clear. He dismisses the entire topic as irrelevant to his political and personal morals. That is far more than any other person running has done when the topic comes up. Even Barack.

    RP and Dennis K are the only people running who want to end the war immediately. Since I have family and friends for whom this may be a life or death issue, RP happens to also be perfectly aligned with me on the economy and I see no other reason I wouldn’t want to, I am voting for him

    So you all can just blow me.

  • http://emergingpensees.com MikeClawson

    This is why I don’t usually comment on blogs, rude assholes.

    True.

    So you all can just blow me.

    Case in point.

  • Siamang

    By the way, RP is not a ultra-libertarian. He’s is mildly libertarian

    From Wikipedia:

    He supports abolishment of the Internal Revenue Service, most Cabinet departments, and the Federal Reserve.

    He has asserted that Congress had no power to impose a direct income tax and supports the repeal of the sixteenth amendment.

    He would eliminate many federal government agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Education[74], the U.S. Department of Energy, the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Emergency Management Administration, the Interstate Commerce Commission and the Internal Revenue Service[63], calling them “unnecessary bureaucracies”.

    He has repeatedly introduced the Federal Reserve Board Abolition Act since 1999,[88] to enable “America to return to the type of monetary system envisioned by our Nation’s founders: one where the value of money is consistent because it is tied to a commodity such as gold”;

    During a speech in New Hampshire in February 2007 Paul called for a repeal of the seventeenth amendment,[200] which allows for direct election of U.S. Senators.

    Ah, well if that’s not ultra-libertarianism, I’d hate to see what UL is…. total government abolishment, prolly.

    Calling people “crazy” simply because you happen to disagree with them is incredibly dismissive, rude, and stupid.

    I didn’t call him crazy. I called him batshit insane. That’s purely subjective, of course, based on what we know of the contents of his self-published newsletter “The Ron Paul Political Report” from the 1990′s as reprinted online by white supremecist groups and archived by anti hate groups.

    RP does not use his religious beliefs as a foundation for his politics and he has been very vigilant to make that clear. He dismisses the entire topic as irrelevant to his political and personal morals.

    Ron Paul rejects the theory of evolution and rejects that there is any such thing as a federal separation of church and state. That’s probably as radical or moreso as anyone running for the Republican ticket, Pastor Huckabee included.

    Since I have family and friends for whom this may be a life or death issue,

    Likewise I am against this war. I feel for you and your loved ones in harm’s way.

    However, I won’t support batshit insane people to end a war that batshit insanity got us into in the first place. Ron Paul can take his blimp and all his tax-free gold bars and go start Libertopia on some giant floating island.

    So you all can just blow me.

    Unfortunately illegal in Ron Paul’s Libertopia, as we’d have no right to sexual privacy.

  • Caractaco Rambunctulus

    I wouldn’t be too sure that Barack isn’t an atheist. True, he claims to be a Christian, but he is clearly a reasonable person, and no reasonable person can believe in God, or Jesus, or other colorful characters from the Land of Make-Believe.

    The only tragedy here is that we live in a political climate that requires candidates to at least feign a belief in God. It seems that the beliefs of the American people are not so different from the superstitious and ignorant beliefs of pre-civilized man, after all. The prevalence of religion is a constant reminder that when it comes to human progress, we are less advanced than we might like to think.

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  • Siamang

    Ron Paul. Batshit insane. The story is now out, and Paul’s candidacy is rightfully circling the drain.

    Just to come here and piss on the grave of a derail that I completely and utterly p0wN3D!

    (What IS it with Libertarians and their presidential candidates? The last guy they nominated for president promised to TNT the UN building and thought that Hawaii had seceeded from the union! Nut. Balls!)

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