A Potential Candidate for South Carolina Governor Takes On Mark Sanford

Herb Silverman, the founder/president of the Secular Coalition for America, has a unique take on the Mark Sanford situation since he himself ran for governor of the state about 20 years ago.

Specifically, Herb takes on the infamous apology to everyone:

One of Governor Sanford’s press conference apologies was “to people of faith across South Carolina, or for that matter, across the nation,…” Implicit in his apology, and insulting to nontheists, is that people of faith are expected to be more moral than people without faith. What seems clear to me is that politicians who continually proclaim their faith are likely to be more hypocritical than those who don’t.

I’ll go out on a limb and say that no current atheist politician has ever been hypocritical. Ever.

Yep… I feel pretty comfortable saying that.

  • Ron in Houston

    Ouch – talk about a left hook to Sanford.

    What a great statement. I’d vote for Herb.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    Larry Darby.

  • http://mojoey.blogspot.com Mojoey

    I’ve been keep up with the Sanford drama. I missed this point and its a good one. He still things we are beneath him. It pissed me off.

  • Rieux

    Are we including closeted atheists?

    If not, I guess U.S. Rep. Pete Stark is our only subject; it seems safe to assume that he’s done or said something hypocritical at some point.

  • http://www.118min.blogspot.com Todd

    As a friendly Christian, I’d like to respond. He did not apologize to Atheist because he cannot “prove” what their moral standard is, not that some do not have a moral standard.

    I would not expect an atheist who is arrested for speeding to apologize to Christians who consider that it is God granted rights of the government over the citizens, when an atheist may not believe that a god exists to grant such rights.

    The Bible teaches that adultery is wrong, and on that basis Sanford apologized to those who hold to that belief. An atheist may have a moral standard, but there is no written code to unify all atheist to it, and thus Sanford cannot stereotype them all as thinking adultery is wrong.

    For example, if Sanford became an atheist, he may apologize to Christians for misleading them and abandoning them; However, I would not expect the same contextual apology given to atheists: Sorry I have become an atheist. For at this point he knows the “unified code of belief.”

    Are we to poll 6 billion people and determine that adultery is okay if it prevent a nuclear explosion in 10 cities, or merely the death of 6 people. The atheist has not written an unified code to know when adultery is okay, and so that door remains open, and thus Sanford is not expected to apologize to an undefined system. However, the majority of Christians would (hopefully) say that Adultery is a moral absolute, and wrong, even if it were to spare 6 billion people or even 6 billion dollars in fraud.

  • http://forgetthisnoise.blogspot.com freelancer

    I’ll go out on a limb and say that no current atheist politician has ever been hypocritical. Ever.

    Yep… I feel pretty comfortable saying that.

    Hemant, what about Obama?

  • Dave Huntsman

    Freelancer, I don’t think Obama is an atheist; I think he really is a brand of Christian. I DO believe that, in his heart, he believes in secular government – even though we can give examples that seem to contradict that, there is clearly reason to believe he is. His speech in a black church in 2006 where he made it clear that, no matter what a person’s religion, anything that they propose that government do must have a secular purpose, could have been written by any of us.

  • http://www.anatheist.net James

    I am also now aware of very many atheist politicians, unfortunately…

  • Miko

    I’d say that an atheist who pretends to be religious in order to get elected qualifies as a hypocrite. As such, I’d say almost all atheist politicians are hypocrites.

  • Jason Baur

    Pete Stark may or may not be a hypocrite. Nothing in his wikipedia article suggests he is. Unfortunately, it does strongly indicate that he is a huge jackass. It’s a damn shame the ONLY atheist politician of any prominence has such a habit of saying really, really stupid things.

  • Boštjan

    I’ll go out on a limb and say that no current atheist politician has ever been hypocritical. Ever.

    Yep… I feel pretty comfortable saying that.

    Well the world is a big place, I can name you a couple of politicans that are atheists and hypocrits just from my little country.
    You should add there american atheist politicans. But I really doubt that they are not hyipocritical because politicans are all the same, don’t let them foul you just because they belong to your group.

    P.S really off topic
    I see trend on american atheist blogroll taht equates atheist=good. I understand that you have to face a lot more prejudice in your part of the world than i have to but just because someone is an atheist that dosen’t mean he can’t be a dick.

  • Thumpalumpacus

    I’ll go out on a limb and say that no current atheist politician has ever been hypocritical. Ever.

    Yep… I feel pretty comfortable saying that.

    See, I’m really hoping that this is sarcasm talking. Seems to me that hypocrisy is part of a politician’s job description.

  • Stephan Goodwin

    Todd wrote:

    As a friendly Christian, I’d like to respond. He did not apologize to Atheist because he cannot “prove” what their moral standard is, not that some do not have a moral standard.

    I would not expect an atheist who is arrested for speeding to apologize to Christians who consider that it is God granted rights of the government over the citizens, when an atheist may not believe that a god exists to grant such rights.

    The Bible teaches that adultery is wrong, and on that basis Sanford apologized to those who hold to that belief. An atheist may have a moral standard, but there is no written code to unify all atheist to it, and thus Sanford cannot stereotype them all as thinking adultery is wrong.

    For example, if Sanford became an atheist, he may apologize to Christians for misleading them and abandoning them; However, I would not expect the same contextual apology given to atheists: Sorry I have become an atheist. For at this point he knows the “unified code of belief.”

    Are we to poll 6 billion people and determine that adultery is okay if it prevent a nuclear explosion in 10 cities, or merely the death of 6 people. The atheist has not written an unified code to know when adultery is okay, and so that door remains open, and thus Sanford is not expected to apologize to an undefined system. However, the majority of Christians would (hopefully) say that Adultery is a moral absolute, and wrong, even if it were to spare 6 billion people or even 6 billion dollars in fraud.

    No, an atheist will apologize to everyone, regardless of their faith(s). That’s the problem, he went out of his way to apologize to people of faith when he should have been apologizing to everyone for abandoning his state, breaking the law, abusing tax funds and lastly for betraying his wife.

  • beckster

    However, the majority of Christians would (hopefully) say that Adultery is a moral absolute, and wrong, even if it were to spare 6 billion people or even 6 billion dollars in fraud.

    That statement shows the problem with having moral absolutes. You really think it is worth sacrificing the lives of 6 billion people for you to stay sexually “pure”? How completely selfish and self serving. If you have a chance to save 6 billion lives by cheating on your spouse and you don’t because some old book told you it is a no-no, than you are inhumane and quite possibly insane. If the choice is between saving the lives of 6 billion people by cheating on your spouse or remaining monogamous, than the morally right thing to do is to cheat on your spouse and save the lives of 6 billion people.

    I hope I am misunderstanding your statement. Please clarify if I am.

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff

    Perhaps God would accept the “blasphemy challenge” as a surrogate to cheating on your spouse to save the 6 billion… ;)

  • Cafeeine

    Todd, what a deplorable concept. You basically just described Sanford as thinking atheists are as a group, completely amoral.

  • http://118min.blogspot.com Todd

    Stephen…How does science and the darwinian model prove he “ought” to apologize, maybe he is evolving to a higher realm where the species moves past apologies.

    Beckster…Are you saying it is an “absolute problem” to have moral absolutes? So I am not to spare 6 billion lives because a book to me no-no, but because beckster to me no-no, or a bunch of evolved apes told me no-no; Maybe I am evolving past “group morality”, in a million years maybe my gene pool will outlive yours if I can get 6 billion dead who believe in “group morality”, Are we angry at whales for swallowing scores of organically evolved creatures; or that we kill organic creatures known as cows or chickens; point being, evolutionist have to accept an ever-changing moral standard, with nothing to “pin-point” it to, but merely asserting a speculative societal opinion.

    Caffeeine: How are you going to prove what is deplorable? Poll 6 Billion people and prove no votes were fraudulent nor coerced nor double counted, and what if the vote changes in 4 months as new people arrive at a voting age and others either cannot vote due to death or senility.

    Why is amorality deplorable? I didn’t say either was amoral. I said He cannot know what “specifically is” the morality of an atheist.

    All….good example here, in kindness, Most Christians hopefully consider premarital sex as a sin; Sanford would have NO IDEA if the majority of atheists likewise consider premarital sex is immoral. Do atheists have 10 commandments, 613 laws, or 66 books to garner ethics from. For example, some Jews still consider pork as immoral, but atheists do not have a dietary list of immorality. So it seems to me you are all “assuming” that “all atheist” think “adultery” is immoral, but I am saying Sanford had no “scientific evidence” to “prove” what the full consensus would be. Finally maybe he is just genetically inferior to you all, and your gene pool will excel, but then again, if H1N1 hits your genes maybe the adultery value is irrelevant anyway;

    sorry for being snappy, just that I am outnumbered, but that is no excuse;

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Beth

    Todd, I really think you’re missing the point. The point is not that Sanford betrayed his faith, it’s that be betrayed the citizens of his state, atheist and theist alike. They all deserve an apology for his irresponsibility. As far as his morality, that’s not for us to judge–it’s a family issue for his wife and children to consider. And you don’t need scientific evidence to decide who you should apologize to when you’re a government official who screwed up.

    I’m not trying to be snappy or rude to you, but as far as I am concerned, much of your argument does not deal with the topic, which is Sanford’s irresponsibility, not his religious code.

  • http://118min.blogspot.com Todd

    Beth, I didn’t think you were snappy, but thanks for helping me stay calm, as I get overrun my by own adrenaline; My point is, what “written code” proves “they all deserve an apology for his responsibility”. Has this “deserved apology” been proven in fossil records? Did apes apologize for any of their actions, Did Neanderthals apologize? Must we poll 6 billion people? If I poll all the men at the strip club if they should apologize for being at the strip club, they would say no, and they would be in the majority of my poll. Is it not theoretically possible Homo sapiens will adapt to no longer apologize for anything, especially if his genetic code and brain neurons are different.

    We don’t need scientific evidence to decide who you should apologize to when you’re a government official who screwed up. Ok, in kindness, does that worldview show itself as viable (if I am to become an atheist) I.e. I don’t need scientific evidence to decide who you should apologize to when your a citizen who screwed up by rejecting Jesus as God.

    I am not being rude, honest, just saying, how is my assertion any different that yours? My point is not the religious code, but trying to figure out how an atheist determines what “is irresponsible”. Some Satanist (who do not believe in satan literally) say “Do what thou wilt” and thus Sanford is not responsible to anyone. Fine call him names and immoral, hate him; After the sun explodes in trillions of years no one is going to know how superior one’s responsibility was over another.

    It would be like going back 1 minute before the Hiroshima bomb landed and making sure the grass was cut and the drive way swept; I consider anyone doing that (or fussing over who is not apologizing) really immaterial; (if that would make me a “bad” atheist, then oh well, that is just the supposed opinion of 6 billion people who are just going to die like a our ape fathers);

    Do we know how many rude people lived 6000 years ago? Nope; and it doesn’t bother us; So in a consistent atheistic worldview, go ahead and waste your energy in disgust, our energy will be forgotten in 6000 years anyway; and that is reality.

    I will give all you guys the last word on this topic, and may chime in on another post upcoming.

  • Jim

    I can’t help it, I have to be snarky at least once today:
    Todd, you missed the point so far that you actually managed to hit yourself with your own arrow. Good job!

  • Brian

    Todd, why does anyone need a “written code”?
    Cheating on your wife is immoral for EVERYONE because it is going to make her feel horrible when/if she finds out.
    Morals shouldn’t come from a book written by people long ago, it should come from within.
    And this statement you make, “Do atheists have 10 commandments, 613 laws, or 66 books to garner ethics from.” you act as though you follow EVERYTHING in those books. I’ll guarantee you pick and choose.
    No offense intended. :)


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