Anyone Watching Nightline?

Pastor Rick Warren was being interviewed about the weekend’s “Civil Forum”… the reporter asked him whether he would consider voting for a non-Christian for President — a Jew or Muslim, perhaps?

Warren said he could easily vote for a Jew.

He added: the only person he could not vote for was an atheist. Because the presidency is too big for any one man… and he sees atheism as completely arrogant.

He’s entitled to his opinion.

But tell me it’s not scary that a man with his influence can throw out an entire group of people as unworthy of holding the office of President because they respect evidence over faith.

Imagine if Sam Harris appeared on the same show and said he would be willing to vote for anyone for President… except for Catholics. Because they think a cracker is the body of Christ and that’s just “arrogant.”

Bill Donohue and his minions would be all over him.

We’d be parsing and debating the comment ad nauseam over the next few days.

Harris would get threats from everywhere.

But when Rick Warren says something similar against atheists?

You won’t hear anything about it.

In one ear. Out the other. Most Christians won’t even register it. But somewhere in their subconscious will remain the notion that atheists are unelectable and must be prevented from holding higher office.

Why will there not be an uproar over this?

  • Shawn

    Just saw it on TV. What struck me was when he said it was “arrogant” because the presidency is too big for one person. Isn’t it more arrogant to think that the creator of the universe is on your side?

  • Siamang

    Warren said he could easily vote for a Jew.

    Oh, how BIG of him. My god, what a magnanimous person he must be. Someone give him a fucking tolerance medal.

    You know who’s arrogant? Mr “I have all the answers in the entire fucking universe”, that’s who’s arrogant. Far the fuck more arrogant than anyone who has the balls or the ovaries to say “you know what, I don’t know the answer to everything, and I refuse to make up a make-believe friend in order to pretend I do.”

  • ryot

    That man makes me throw up in my mouth. I think this calls for a royal brouhaha!

  • http://ghostsofminnesota.blogspot.com Ghost of Minnesota

    So having an evidence-based worldview is arrogant, but claiming to have the Ultimate Capital-T Truth about reality isn’t?

  • Siamang

    IIRC, his book,”Purpose-Driven Life” starts off with somesuch bullshit about how from the beginning of time, God had set out the plan of your life, even and until the very moment when you, the reader, are holding that book in your hands.

    This guy actually thinks that from the very beginning of time, the creator of the universe determined that I would be reading his shitty book.

    And WE’RE the arrogant ones?

  • http://atheistamputee.blogspot.com Jimmy

    There is certainly an uproar in my mind. How does one react when the forum is only open to idiots? Its not like they had a non-religious person there to counter his idiocy.

  • Shane

    …the creator of the universe determined that I would be reading his shitty book

    Well, you read it didn’t you? It’s all going according to God’s plan… Mwah-haha. All according to his convoluted and overly elaborate plan to somehow eventually create the greatest possible amount of good in the world without accidentally robbing you of your free will.

    Just because that’s the kind of swell guy He is. I don’t know about you, but I have the sudden urge to prostrate myself and worship this ****er. We can burn a couple goats and circumcise each other. Who’s with me?

    Then we can all run for public office.

  • Kevin

    The man is a bigot, and should be called on it. See vjack’s post on anti-atheist bigotry: http://www.atheistrev.com/2008/08/ending-anti-atheist-bigotry-what-you.html

    We really need an organization (or even just a person, atheist equivalent of Bill Donahue, except s/he would be good instead of evil!) who’s willing to speak up and bring media attention to things like this. I feel like complaining to each other on our various atheist blogs is not enough.

  • Siamang

    In order for there to be media attention, the media is going to have to want to pay attention. They don’t.

    Olberman is probably the only person who’ll cover this.

  • Jamie G.

    We did have Ellen Johnson, but where is she now?

    No, really. Where is she now? She seemed to have dropped off the planet. (I’m a flat-earther ;P)

  • Josh

    Why don’t we all e-mail Nightline and raise hell (in a polite fashion, of course)?

  • Pustulio

    An uproar implies numbers. Short answer is that there just aren’t that many of us to begin with, and many of us are used to this kind of thing so it’s hard to get worked up over it.

  • http://wolfpurplemoon.livejournal.com Amy

    Something like that wouldn’t be said here in the UK, in fact, a couple of years ago, the London Mayor suggested that anyone believing in the afterlife should be barred from public office. “If politicians thought they had only this life, they would make a better fist of it.”

    So little attention was given to this comment that it took me a good half hour to find a source!

  • Spork

    Why will there not be an uproar over this?

    Because you’re so fucking obsessed with having people think you’re friendly that you render yourself impotent.

  • PrimeNumbers

    So he accuses all atheists of arrogance, while at the same time being utterly arrogant himself. It just goes to show that his religion hasn’t given him a sense of morals, has it.

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff

    Warren must think that it is preferable to have a president who will invade another country based on thinking that the Holy Ghost told him to do so in a dream. Warren must think this is preferable to carefully weighing the evidence, performing the necessary planning and risk assessment, and making true moral judgments.

  • JohnB

    Because the presidency is too big for any one man… and he sees atheism as completely arrogant.

    said the pastor as he looked out into the universe from his dust mote in space and declared it was all for him.

  • Jen

    So if we vote for a Hindu person, do we get Man (naturally, a man) plus thousands of gods? All the better for multitasking. Who wants a regular old Christian when we could have many, many gods?

  • ungullible

    I’ve long thought that this country will have a homosexual black female president long before we have an atheist one. Atheism will be the last subject of bigotry that we overcome.

  • Aj

    If this guy is saying something against you, it’s probably because you’re awesome.

    Dennett slays Warren on evolution at TED.

    Warren uses the naturalistic fallacy against gays.

    Warren went on Colbert, where he showed himself to be an idiot, and arrogant enough to claim to know the mind of God.

  • timplausible

    But we have numbers, to some extent. We can be easily directed to crash poles. Why can’t we take another minute or two to all send an e-mail? Why not? Because we’re programmed to silently curse our impotence and ignore it. Each individual (and I’m included in this) says, “what can I do? It won’t matter.” So no one does anything. And then of course our actions don’t matter.

    We have to start somewhere. I’m e-mailing Nightline. I can’t make anyone else do it. But next time someone asks “why won’t there be any kind of outcry over this?” I’ll know that it’s not because I’m staying silent.

  • http://blog.crispen.org/ Rev. Bob

    I’m not the first person to have noticed this: Warren asked one of the candidates not to give his stump speech. Warren claimed McCain was kept in a “cone of silence,” but word leaked out he wasn’t. And McCain answered his questions awfully fast, sometimes interrupting Warren.

    When Nightline labels Warren on the crawl, anything but “Republican Functionary” would be deceptive.

    You know what people called Reagan’s domestic policy. Warren’s agenda should be called “theocracy with a smile.”

  • Polly

    Warren said he could easily vote for a Jew.

    Wait, is this his whole answer? If so, he didn’t really answer the question in its entirety.

    Would he vote for a Muslim?

    If he’s willing to vote for a hell-bound Jew, why not a hell-bound Muslim? Neither one believes in JC, after all. And what about polytheists or just plain old spiritualists?

    And why single out atheists since his god lumps all non-xians in the same fiery bucket?

  • cipher

    And what about a Buddhist? Technically, they’re atheists.

    The tragedy is that Warren is really not that bad, by fundamentalist standards. There are far bigger bastards.

    Something like that wouldn’t be said here in the UK, in fact, a couple of years ago, the London Mayor suggested that anyone believing in the afterlife should be barred from public office. “If politicians thought they had only this life, they would make a better fist of it.”

    Europe is so much better than here (seriously – not sarcasm).

  • SnugglyBuffalo

    Seriously, I’ve never understood this singling out of atheists. Back in my Christian days, I would have gladly taken an atheist who believes in no god over someone who believed in the “wrong” god.

  • justin jm

    I still remember the Warren vs. Harris debate in Newsweek. Warren came across as condescending back then. I’m not surprised now. Frankly, it’s more difficult to find a religious apologist who wouldn’t say this kind of thing than one who would.

  • Richard Wade

    But when Rick Warren says something similar against atheists?
    You won’t hear anything about it.

    Why will there not be an uproar over this?

    Because being reason-based we’re not prone to jihads, because there are relatively very few of us, because most of us don’t give a shit anyway, but most of all because we disperse our objections rather than concentrate them where they might have an effect.

    Every one of the comments of outrage posted here is energy dispersed. Unless they are copied and sent to Rick Warren, to local newspapers and to civic leaders who might be sympathetic to his views as long as they can assume that no one will object, then all that venting was just that, venting. Expressed your anger on Friendly Atheist? Feel better? Okay, go back to sleep.

    Many of the comments here are incisive and powerful, but published only here they will do nothing. Outrage must go OUT. Out into the world where everyone can hear it rather than just inside our clubhouse to those who already share the feeling.

  • David D.G.

    Richard Wade is absolutely right. These objections need to be made public somehow, as well as posed directly to the powers at Nightline and its carrying network (and its sponsors!), to have any meaning beyond soothing our own bruised egos. That doesn’t mean that we necessarily should become as militant as the Phelps clan or anything, but it does mean that we have no hope of raising people’s consciousness and enlightening them if we talk only with those who are already enlightened.

    ~David D.G.

  • ryot

    I understand Richard’s point, but are e-mails really going to do anything? We’re talking about a Christian fundamentalist here, it’s theist policy to ignore and refuse to accept any criticism or opposition. I just want to know where the non-theist’s GLAAD or NAACP is? GLAAD can get the jackasses at Faux News to apologize for making fun of transgendered individuals (again), but is there no one to call people out on atheist bigotry?

  • Spork

    Richard Wade is absolutely right. These objections need to be made public somehow, as well as posed directly to the powers at Nightline and its carrying network (and its sponsors!), to have any meaning beyond soothing our own bruised egos.

    But, but, but…that wouldn’t be friendly. If you won’t kick a repairman out of your home for trying to convert you, why would you ever *gasp* complain loudly, and publicly? It would be so rude.

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  • http://blog.myspace.com/johnpritzlaff John Pritzlaff

    I think when you put it in perspective, atheism is an extremely humble position, rather than an arrogant one.


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