When I posted about S.E. Cupp last week, it was because she was complaining about how “crazy, militant atheists” (a.k.a. the Secular Coalition for America) had released a presidential “scorecard” grading the candidates on how they treated issues of church/state separation.
Somehow, I missed the other “revelatory” thing she said:
It followed commentary on whether Mitt Romney‘s Mormon faith would hurt him in the election. One of the hosts asked how Romney would fare if he were an atheist candidate.
Cupp immediately said he would have no chance — and I agree — but then she said something pretty amazing, considering she is an atheist herself:
And you know what? I would never vote for an atheist president. Ever… Because I do not think that someone who represents 5 to 10 percent of the population should be representing and thinking that everyone else in the world is crazy, but me.
I like that there is a check, OK? That there‘s a person in the office that doesn’t think he’s bigger than the state… I like religion being a check and knowing that my president goes home every night addressing someone above him and not thinking all the power resides right here… Atheists don’t have that.
The atheist panelist doesn’t want an atheist in office because… that person would just be too damn rational, relying on “experts” and the “Constitution” instead of nonsense?
To paraphrase one of Cupp’s co-hosts, that is one self-loathing atheist.
Let’s talk about the obvious responses:
Both of the candidates in the upcoming election are already minorities in important ways. President Obama is black (13.1% of the population). Romney is both wealthy (<1%) and a Mormon (1.4%). So why rule out atheists just because our beliefs put us in a minority?! (By the way, if you count people who are simply not religious — instead of those who call themselves atheists — the number jumps to 15% for all Americans and 22% for Americans 18-29.)
Also, who cares if we’re in the minority? We’re not the people who believe in mythical nonsense! We’re the ones who work off of what the evidence tells us! (At least in theory.) Everyone should want that in a president! Why would Cupp cede that turf to irrational people?
As it turns out, this isn’t a new statement from her. Cupp said the exact same things in a C-SPAN interview in 2009 with host Brian Lamb — and Lamb followed up with those same points:
Cupp: As an atheist I could never imagine electing, voting for an atheist president for exactly those reasons. I mean religion keeps a person who is endowed with so much power honest. This is a person who’s answering to a higher power every night. And not to the state, he doesn’t think the state has all the power and he doesn’t think he himself has all the power. That’s important to me.
I mean I represent two percent of the world. Why would I want someone who thinks that 98 percent of the world is crazy running the country?
Lamb: But you don’t think that that higher power exists.
Cupp: I don’t but I don’t think people are crazy. I understand the allure of religion. I really do I’m just not going to be dishonest and say that I believe in something that I don’t yet.
Lamb: But what if he’s hearing voices all the time and taking advice from a higher power that doesn’t exist in your opinion and makes decisions based on the higher power that doesn’t exist in your opinion?
Cupp: Well I mean people’s faith is very personal and I don’t judge the way that people use their faith to inform their decisions. I really don’t. We can judge him on his policies whether he heard it from a voice in his head, he got it from the Bible, he had a conversation with Laura one night over dinner. I mean it doesn’t really matter to me.
I’d like to judge the policies on face value.
What. The. Hell.
This is how Cupp rationalizes her weird beliefs. At face value, it makes sense to say we should only judge the policies and not how the policies were formed. But we don’t always have the luxury of being able to debate every policy decision a president makes. Hell, bombs can be dropped by a President without prior discussion with Congress or the American public. We should all want a president who has good judgment. Someone who thinks talking to an invisible man in the sky is the best form of guidance does not have good judgment.
Yes, I know both of the current candidates say they seek guidance from above. So why am I voting for Obama again this year? Because I believe his faith is just a political device for him — he says he consults with God, and maybe he does, but I think he makes decisions after consulting with smart people surrounding him. In other words, he makes decisions and then finds ways to rationalize them in religious terms — instead of looking to religion first and then making the decision.
Romney may end up doing the same thing, but I don’t trust the people he associates with nor do I think his policy ideas would make our country a better place.
S.E. Cupp said last week that “militant atheists” were “intolerant” of religious people. But, in the same segment, she flat-out dismissed the possibility of ever voting for an atheist, no matter the political party or the policies that person wanted to put in place.
That is intolerance.
And she would never have gotten away with that if she said the word “Jew” or “Muslim” instead. So why is it ok to marginalize us? It shouldn’t be.
It’s just sad that it came from someone who is an atheist herself and should know better. She might as well have said, “I would never vote for someone like me to be President, because I’m incompetent to do the job unless I consult an imaginary friend!”
If MSNBC wants to keep letting these hosts talk about atheism — which I’m all for — they need to get someone on air who can represent the millions of us who don’t believe in god and don’t want to compromise our values for the sake of appealing to religious Americans who are wrong on these issues. S.E. Cupp doesn’t represent us.
By the way, I’ve reached out to her for an interview regarding this topic. So far, no response. I’ll let you know if that changes.