Want to Win An Election? Turn to God

My latest piece for the Washington Post On Faith blog answers the questions:

How should constituents interpret statements by politicians who see their campaigns and causes as part of God’s plan? How do you decipher God’s intentions for you?

A part of my response:

… we live in a society where too many people vote based on which fictional deity a candidate believes in and not the positions that candidate takes.

People who vote for candidates because they’re swayed by their faith are lazy.

Candidates who exploit their faith in an attempt to get votes are not the type of people we ought to elect to public office. We live in a secular democracy, and we’re better off because of it. When religion gets thrown into the mix, it’s bad for politics and worse for faith.

You can read the full piece here. Leave a comment there if you like it!

  • Siamang

    I am also not a Witch.

  • Aaron

    Christine O’Donnell turned me into a newt, and you can’t prove she didn’t.

  • http://www.DangerousTalk.net DangerousTalk

    I actually didn’t like your article Hemant. Don’t get me wrong, I think you made some great points. But you wasted an opportunity to talk about atheists running for office (like Wynne LeGrow) and you reinforced the idea that atheists can’t win. This will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    I also wrote a response to the “On Faith” topic. Here is what I had to say:

    On Faith: Electing a godless plan

    I try to respond to all of the Washington Post’s “On Faith” topics.
    -Staks

  • http://www.correntewire.com chicago dyke

    Hemant, you probably don’t care and in fact can slam me for undermining the organization that is writing one of your paychex, but just so you know: some of us have a very strict “no click, no link” rule for the WaPo. you are among a tiny handful of people writing for them that i actually trust. far, far too many of the pieces that show up in that paper are filled with lies, misrepresentations, and flat out pro-Theocracy op-eds. not to mention the clear and obvious bias for all things republican. i’m sorry if i’m insulting any friends you have there, but the track record is plain. let me implore you to do what you can to convince your fellow columnists to be better journalists. this country desperately needs more like you.

    (Hemant says: WaPo writes me no check. They asked me to write those columns and I’m honored by that request. Even if the news is slanted there, they’ve never edited my pieces for content. They run them as is. Let’s say you’re right, though — as the saying goes, I’d rather be on the inside of the tent pissing out, right? I’m glad they’re giving a wide platform to theists and atheists.)

  • Steve

    Here in the UK, religion in politics is definitely a no no, apart from Northern Ireland which will always remain sectarian.

    We vote on the candidate’s policies, doesn’t matter if he or she is Christian, Jewish, Muslim or atheist, or a devil worshipper for that matter. That is their business and should not be a part of their policies.

    To be honest, we vote against, rather than for, so the electorate got tired of 13 years of New Labour. Now we have a “coalition” government of Consevatives and Liberal Democrats, the same Liberal Democrats who opposed the Conservatives while campaigning!!

    David Cameron couldn’t get a majority over all the other parties so he had to go cap in hand to the LibDems in order to form a government, imagine an alliance between Republicans and Democrats and there you have it!!

    I and many others call them the ConDems and boy, have we been condemned!!! We need Barack Obama and you need David Cameron!!!!

    By the way, we ‘re only democratic every four or five years!! Five years is the maximum and Cameron and his cronies have made sure of that by bringing in a rule that 50% of the oppostion can call for a vote of no confidence, trouble is the opposition can only muster less than 50% Ah, isn’t democracy wonderful!!

  • Hitch

    I think it states the obvious but things are so skewed that stating the obvious can be direly needed.

  • http://furtherthoughtsfortheday.blogspot.com EnglishAtheist

    Steve’s right, we live in a ConDem nation.

    That said, the leader of the opposition, Ed Milliband and Nick Clegg, Deputy PM and leader of the Lib Dems are atheists. Which is encouraging!

  • Steve

    EA, yes, it’s a small step, even in the UK, will we ever have an avowed atheist prime minister? We can only hope, trouble is, religion still has a nasty grip on parliament, bishops in the House of Lords?!!

    If a candidate ever stated he or she was doing God’s work, there would be no chance of being elected!!!

  • Nordog

    “…flat out pro-Theocracy op-eds. not to mention the clear and obvious bias for all things republican.”

    …in the Washington Post?

    That’s really out there.

    (I presume “republican” was meant to be “Republican”. The upper case makes a big difference. After all, we do have a republic here.)

  • http://furtherthoughtsfortheday.blogspot.com EnglishAtheist

    @steve I’m hopeful we might see an atheist PM in our lifetime, but I don’t think we’ll see on who’s anti-theistic, whilst votes are to got.

    Religion is in decline in the UK:
    http://furtherthoughtsfortheday.blogspot.com/2010/09/dear-pope.html

    If this trend continues, it’s only a matter of time.

    Granted, long way to go with the Bishops in the House of Lords; Faith Schools; religious charities…

  • JB Tait

    I wonder how many witches she alienated? No Witch vote for you, Christine O’Donnell.

  • JulietEcho

    JB Tait wins the thread with “No Witch vote for you.”

  • Judith Bandsma

    I have never and will never vote for ANYONE who puts their religious attitudes over the issues.

    Just like with sex, those who talk about it the most are the ones doing it the least.

  • stogoe

    I presume “republican” was meant to be “Republican”. The upper case makes a big difference. After all, we do have a republic here.)

    When speaking to an American, republican means Republican means Rethuglican means Repugnant Con means Reanimated Shit Monster means republican.

    (In our minds, our system of government is called a representative democracy)

  • muggle

    Liked it except for one thing: good luck having a candidate running who isn’t — at minimum — ending their speech with god bless america which makes it rather difficult to vote those exploiting religion out of office. We can only vote for candidates on the roster or vote not at all. This is why I often vote third party — more often than not. So I actually have something to vote for rather than against.

    People are ignorant. Scott Murphy’s running for re-election. Unfortunately, I’m not in his district. I say unfortunately because I didn’t want to see him elected the first time. However, I was impressed that he actually agonized over which way to vote for health care reform. Up until the night before he was openly weighing the pros and cons (and leaving god out of it) and asking his constituents for their feedback. This impressed me. Would that more representatives agonized over decisions and what would be right or not before casting a vote. Unfortunately, this is being used against him big time in the campaign ads on TV. Frankly, I wish I was in his district and could vote for him because I prefer a candidate that really thinks about legislation before voting for or against it. But people here are acting like he did something utterly horrible by not taking an immediate stance without thought pro or con.

    stogoe, true but it never hurts to remind people that this is a democratic republic and because it is when talking about the two parties that have any chance in hell of holding power, we should capitalize Republican and Democrat.

  • Steve

    Unfortunately, we live in a society where too many people vote based on which fictional deity a candidate believes in and not the positions that candidate takes.

    I liked the article since it put it all out there. The one place where I thought you would lose any theists who actually decided to read this was with the “fictional deity” comment. From their point of view that may sound arrogant and dismissive, just like we can feel that someone putting God in our face is arrogant and dismissive.
    Unfortunately for me, I still find it all too easy to put myself in what I project to be their shoes, even after decades w/o supernatural beliefs.

  • Nordog

    stogoe,

    Be that as it may, republican and Republican have two different meanings.

    Reason and rationality are rightly lauded in these parts, and both require basic distinctions.

    Such as the distincitions between the adjective refering to a form of governement or a person in favor of that form (lower case “r” republican), and the proper noun referring to a specific political party in the USA also known as the GOP (upper case “R” Republican).

    I suspect you knew this already, but just couldn’t bear to suppress your compulsion to spew some bile.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/ChristopherTK ChristopherTK

    Quinn keeps his religious beliefs quiet here in Illinois. But that means little if you are not a progressive. Brady is our Republican candidate and one of his first statements after announcing his candidacy was that he would like to see creationism taught in school. Oh yeah, nice choice!

    Rich Whitney, Green Party, may get 10%

    &

    Lex Green, Libertarian may get 5%

    & Cohen, well he is just nuts.

    DANGEROUSTALK:

    Things don’t look good for Wynne LeGrow, but I’m trying to help.

    http://www.atheistrev.com/2010/09/meet-dr-wynne-legrow.html


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