Tony Norman of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has a fantastic article about why our country’s presidents don’t need faith to do their job:
Two centuries of American democracy has come to this — a de facto religious test for the highest office in the land. That’s why many people, believers and nonbelievers alike, pray for a sincere skeptic in the White House. An agnostic or an atheist would have the latitude and political freedom to tell our nation’s ayatollahs to go to hell.
A non-theist president would be free to weigh in on controversies such as the “ground zero mosque” according to the Constitution, without fear of being judged insufficiently Christian. Mr. Obama is constantly checkmated by his enemies because he wants desperately to be accepted as a Christian on their terms.
Honestly, it would be better for the president to say to his critics that he may not be a Christian in the way that they define it. There would be no shame in such a confession. It is obviously the case with Mr. Obama.
Many of us look forward to the day when a president will be sworn in with hand firmly planted on the U.S. Constitution and nothing else. The Bible is too sacred to be used as a prop.
Actually, I think a non-theistic president would face even more criticism when weighing in on any religious issues at all. If the president were on the side of the state in church/state separation cases, it would never be because of the law, it’d be because the president “hates religion.”
Right now, no non-theists really have the ear of the president. Obama’s “faith council” (PDF) consisted of religious individuals and community leaders — no open atheists in the bunch. It’d be nice to see that changed… and it wouldn’t even take an atheist president to make that happen.
Norman also talks about Rev. Franklin Graham‘s recent devious and ignorant statement that President Obama was born a Muslim:
“Now it’s obvious that the president has renounced the prophet Mohammed and he has renounced Islam and he has accepted Jesus Christ,” Rev. Graham said. “That’s what he says he has done. I cannot say he hasn’t. So, I just have to believe that the president is what he has said.”
Since when do Mr. Obama’s critics on the religious right, including Rev. Graham, give him the benefit of the doubt on any issue? Even if clergy like Rev. Graham pretend to be reasonable, they’re not discouraging the less discerning folks in their congregations from believing all sorts of nonsense about Mr. Obama being a Kenyan-born Manchurian candidate. This is the kind of double-dealing nonsense Mr. Obama has to put up with every day.
Can we get more articles like this in the mainstream media?