Washington Post’s Sally Quinn: American Citizenship Requires Belief in God

What is Sally Quinn thinking?

Sally Quinn

She wrote a piece for the Washington Post offering her take on the Presidential debate. Had she said the following, I probably would have agreed with her: “Mitt Romney made several references to God during the debate and President Obama didn’t. Whether you like it or not, if you want to get votes from religious Americans, you’ll want to mention God as much as possible.”

But she didn’t just say that. Instead, she took the opportunity to kick atheists right in the gut:

That’s about 85 percent of the country [Romney] was talking to. That should have been President Obama’s constituency but he let Romney have it as he let Romney have the debate.

This is a religious country. Part of claiming your citizenship is claiming a belief in God, even if you are not Christian. We’ve got the Creator in our Declaration of Independence. We’ve got “In God We Trust” on our coins. We’ve got “one nation under God” in our Pledge of Allegiance. And we say prayers in the Senate and the House of Representatives to God.

Wow. Got that, atheists? Sally Quinn doesn’t think we’re real citizens. Apparently, the fact that Congress pushed God into the Pledge in the 1950s out of fear of Communism is one indication that this country is for religious people only. Separation of church and state, the Treaty of Tripoli, the First Amendment… those mean nothing to her. Leave your atheism at the door or get out.

Maybe after watching the debate, Mitt Romney’s tactics wore off on her and she felt the urge to lie about what makes someone a True American.

Religious belief isn’t one of the qualifications.

Here’s a potential solution to Quinn’s dilemma: Just take God out of the Pledge, off the money, and out of Congress. We never should have allowed those things to happen in the first place. See? Problem solved.

Seriously, though, this is as bad as saying “There are no atheists in foxholes.” It’s a stereotype, it’s a lie, and it’s demonstrably false.

We are the 15% (PDF). You can pretend we’re not here, but you’d be ignorant. You can say we’re not “real Americans” and call us unpatriotic, but it’d be slander. We’re in the military, we teach in your schools, we’re running for Congress, and we’re not going anywhere. In fact, we’re only becoming more popular.

How Quinn, who managed the “On Faith” section of the Post, can make comments like that and still call herself a journalist is beyond me.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • gandalfe

    Someone with some graphic design/advertising skillz should make a campaign based on “We are the 15%.”

    • http://www.facebook.com/gwydionfrost Daniel Parker

      Thanks for the idea. I’m on it. I’ll share it with Hemant to post.

  • Stephen Burrows

    Wow!  Lots of comments on the WashPo.  Best one, “Quinn is the new uniter, she has brought the believers and non-believers together to critisize her bigotry” So nice to see

  • AxeGrrl

    Is Sally Quinn not familiar with the internet and how it works?   is she not aware of the fact that saying “Part of claiming your citizenship is claiming a belief in God” isn’t something she’s going to be able to simply deny/shrug off in the future?

    Or is she so misguided/ignorant that she doesn’t even realize that that statement is factually incorrect?

    It’s (sadly) amazing how allegiance to ‘faith’ can make such (seemingly) intelligent people utter such unequivocal crap.

  • shipsternsbluff

    fastest growing minority group in the u.s……atheists…19%…

    • http://www.facebook.com/abb3w Arthur Byrne

       Sigh. It’s not a big difference, but the 15-19% is for the slightly broader “Nones” category; atheists about a tenth that, agnostics about sixth. (Though in the youngest generational cohort, the numbers are larger.)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jim-Wickson/1465240149 Jim Wickson

      Since babies are atheists, I guess we don’t have birth right citizenship then?

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1624898031 Phil Burfoot

       I’m pretty sure babies worship their mothers.  LOL

      • HughInAz

        Yes, and most people never outgrow the need for some all powerful figure watching over them, knowing their every thought and need. That’s why they keep believing in a god.

    • 3lemenope

      I don’t think babies are atheists in the way that an adult generally is an atheist. Having never considered a notion is a different thing from, having encountered and duly considered said notion, rejecting it.

      • http://twitter.com/hyperlocavore hyperlocavore

         In the absense of a family surrounding them telling them to believe in X God…they grow up not to believe in X God…. their default setting is atheist.

        • 3lemenope

          But qualitatively different. That they have the same name does not mean they cannot be two different things. I would submit it true of any concept that one’s orientation to that concept when one is utterly unaware of its existence is fundamentally different than any such orientation that takes place after exposure. It’s a different thing to have two conscious options and choose one over another than to be unaware of an option at all. 

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charles-Carter/100002185520413 Charles Carter

            From an atheist’s perspective, this sounds like you are over-qualifying the notion of God to have a special significance to a born, non-believer.  It doesn’t. Categorizing someone separately because their non-belief in Santa Claus, for instance, is a result of never having heard of him is a petty distinction in my opinion from those who have been exposed to the myth and eventually rejected it.  Same for God.  To qualify as an atheist, one only needs lack of belief.  Vehement BELIEF in the non-existence of a deity is rarer, I think and definitely qualifies one as a different kind of atheist, a gnostic atheist.  Most atheists are agnostic atheists whether or not they have heard of the idea of God (I believe the same about most theists being agnostic).  This applies to infants as well, I think.  Of course, this doesn’t make infants and toddlers immune to the kind of magical thinking that seems to come naturally for all humans, theist and atheist alike.  It seems likely that those tendencies led to the concept in the first place.

            • burro

              My baby does the hanky panky. Praise the lord. 

            • 3lemenope

              Categorizing someone separately because their non-belief in Santa Claus, for instance, is a result of never having heard of him is a petty distinction in my opinion from those who have been exposed to the myth and eventually rejected it. 

              This is a perfect example of how they can be vastly different. Never having been seriously exposed to Santa Claus is to miss a cultural touchstone that those who grew up believing and rejecting have privileged access to, a host of stories and jokes that are only really funny or meaningful if you were one of those kids who was once disabused of a sincere notion of Santa Claus. It’s the essence of the difference between experiencing something and merely understanding it from afar.

               Vehement BELIEF in the non-existence of a deity is rarer, I think and definitely qualifies one as a different kind of atheist, a gnostic atheist.  Most atheists are agnostic atheists whether or not they have heard of the idea of God (I believe the same about most theists being agnostic).

              I’d go further and say that both explicit groups are vastly outnumbered by apatheists, which most agnostic atheists actually are (if they call themselves anything, which they probably don’t).

  • Butterfly-kiss

    Now Sally, i personally believe in God, but i definately cant blame a person who does not believe due to all the contravery and people claiming it must be this one way or else. Dont you think that pushes people away rather than pulling them together. I personally feel, as a believer in God, that all the drama, wars, and controiversy makes me want to deny all parts in it myself and that is the countries fault, not the people. No matter what u do or what u believe ur wrong, so why bother right? ha, yall all a butttrip waiting for the fall. smhhjji

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/XJAUV46LYMRQO3LZCEVG5PZ5HI Here

      What?

    • nakedanthropologist

      That was a word salad.  Seriously, I consider myself to be fairly salient and proficient in the English language, and your comment demonstrated that you are…not.

  • Philovaihinger

    She claims you have to advertise religious faith to get votes of 85% of the country.

    Pshaw.

    The 25% or so that’s the Christian right Republicans cannot win without and would not vote for Obama, anyway,?

    Well, that’s it, then.

    Just a stupid diatribe against atheists from a votice of our ruling elites.

    Another reason Republicans are so profoundly depressing.

  • shadrac11

    Who is this bozo? She has moron in her blood, and bozo in her head!

  • Levon Mkrtchyan

    As far as I can tell, Obama is indeed a faithful and practicing Christian.  He just doesn’t see it as something that should be mentioned at the start of each of his sentences.

    • Mmaddux1

      he doesn’t seem to hold the values of a Christian.

      • Ikidd3123

        Yah, just last week he raped several young boys… oh, wait, that was a priest.

      • TnkAgn

         And you would know this because…?

      • C Peterson

        What exactly are the values of a Christian? In all honesty, I can’t identify any values that most people would consider positive which are claimed by Christians that aren’t the same values that virtually all humans claim, regardless of religious (or non-religious) viewpoint.

        There are Christian beliefs, but no obvious Christian values at all.

        • http://www.facebook.com/WalrusInc Ted Thompson

          Disagree. Theres a common theme throughout the bible of killing first born sons. Yours or your enemies, doesn’t really seem to matter. I’m fairly thankful Obama doesn’t have christian values.

          • http://www.facebook.com/gwydionfrost Daniel Parker

            That’s only because he has DAUGHTERS. (Unless he DID have a first born son we don’t know about because he KILLED him!)

          • C Peterson

            Most of the negative values are also found in many other religions. But I did emphasize positive values. What positive Christian values are there that aren’t universal values?

            • 3lemenope

              The only one I can think of as sort of working would be “piety”, but that can be generalized outside the religious convention it normally implies to something like “dedication”, which is a universal value. 

              Sometimes the religious like to name things that already have a name something different so that they can own it and call themselves separate. 

              • C Peterson

                I don’t think piety represents any universally recognized positive value. I would certainly make the case in a discussion that it is actually a negative thing. (I do agree that it could potentially be generalized to a much narrower definition, which might be considered positive.)

          • motorfingaz

            You don’t have a brain.

          • OldLeftie

             I’d be grateful for some references to this “common theme”. I know of one or two instances, but certainly not enough to earn that epithet…

        • OldLeftie

          There are obvious Christian values. Unfortunately, the prevailing Christian paradigm, namely that Jesus died for believers’ sins and faith in “Him” promises post mortem redemption without further qualification is all that most modern Christian seem to care about. Once the Christian movement allowed for salvation without more justification than lip service, it diluted the message of its Hero to a reductio ad absurdum. I mean, isn’t that the nub of the argument? That if a superpower existed, it would have to behave rationally, and our universe does not behave in any way that would give evidence of a personal control?

          • C Peterson

            What obvious Christian values? I’ve never heard anybody describe a positive, non-universal value that can be attributed to Christianity.

      • LesterBallard

        I fucking wish that were true.

      • Aarongman

        Value of a Christian? If you look at the fundamentalists, they are the ones who bomb abortion clinics, block the progress of stem cell research, minimize others who dont share the same beliefs and prevent same sex marriage that in no way effects them. Maybe its not the fundamentalists thats the problem, just maybe its the fundamentals! 

      • Murphy831

        From what I’ve seen of today’s Christians, I’d say that’s a good thing.

      • motorfingaz

        To bare false witness against someone is against one of the Ten Commandments.

        What would you know about “Christian Values”?

      • Murphy831

        I tend to think Obama is a nominal Christian. I’m sure he understands that it’s politically expedient to be a “Christian”. How fervantly he believes this stuff, I’m not sure. I think his values are closer to what I understand as Christian then those of the people that are preaching Christianism in churches and even in congress. He does for example believe that we are our brothers keeper. He certainly cares more for people than those that oppose him.

      • RobertoTheChi

        What are the values of a christian?

        • Drew M.

          Stoning non-virgins on their wedding night.

        • se habla espol

           The only value that I have seen that is common to all christianities is “shut up and believe what I tell you to believe”, aka faith.  All else is negotiable.

      • nakedanthropologist

        You mean he’s not a bigoted hypocrite?  Oh well, I guess he doesn’t hold Christian values.  Too right you are.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Robert-Bootier/100001550546729 Robert Bootier

        The problem is, is that he does hold the antiquated, primitive, outdated values of a cHristian. That’s a problem, as all religion is evil. Bad things happen when religion is concerned.

      • Baby_Raptor

        Your personal values, you mean? You don’t make the rules for what the entire religion has to believe in. 

      • OldLeftie

         If you mean the belief in a supernatural messiah, you may be right, although  the fact he does not proclaim it does not mean he may not have faith in the concept. In the context of the greater Christian foundational doctrine “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”, the so-called “Golden Rule”, I think that he adheres to that to a fault. The question then become whether he does so as a Christian or as a follower of any other path that teaches it as a prime directive, of which there are many….

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/David-Ellis/100002727342311 David Ellis

    The woman is clearly deranged and not fit to be a jounalist.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/David-Ellis/100002727342311 David Ellis

    Butterfly kiss, your post is illiterate so maybe you didn’t pray hard enough for an education

    • Jdogsully

      maybe u prayed to hard for being an asshole. just sayin

      • http://fairlyodd.net Frances Bean

        Your post is even worse so you’re not making your point very well. 

      • Baby_Raptor

        “You” is a three letter word. Please go back to elementary school and learn basic English if you wish to be taken seriously.

  • Joe Zamecki

    I’ll quote something I heard in church quite a bit: “Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers, that you do unto me.”

  • BrianBlonshine

    This country was founded based on religious freedom. Practice, or don’t practice as you see fit. I’m guessing when she cut history class, she did it to smoke something, not read the bible.

    • Dh41

      With all due respect, this country was NOT founded because of religious freedom! I am so sick of hearing this misinformation repeated ad-nauseum. The country was founded because of man’s greed and the need to make a buck. Some things never change. 

  • joe

    this was my reaction to reading her quote. it made me wonder about the meaning behind because it seems to be open to interpretation. is she speaking about her opinion or reality here? if its her opinion that you can’t be a citizen unless you believe in god, then of course it’s abhorrent, but if she’s talking about the state of the nation , then she’s kind of right. if you want to “claim” your citizenship, and be accepted by most of the people in the nation (85%), then you have to express belief in god.

    maybe this is just semantics, and a matter of interpretation? i don’t know her at all, but i thought the washington post was a liberal, or at least open minded, paper. has she responded to this at all?

    • http://www.facebook.com/Sparkyo Jeffrey Hoffman

      Joe, the Washington Post is most certainly NOT a liberal organization! Although they have some liberals/quasi liberals on the payroll for balance, the organization is, at its core, very right of center.  That being said, I think this article is a tempest in a teapot; like you, I think Ms. Quinn was speaking to the current realities of the American political landscape and her feeling that the President had committed a serious tactical error by failing to throw out a few God references to appease nervous zealots whom are certainly out there. I might be wrong, but that’s my take based on Ms. Quinn’s rather inarticulate statement.

  • alicialynn00

    I don’t read this comment in a totally unsavory way toward atheists. It’s very constricting, and obviously accepting of that constraint. But it’s not completely, or outwardly condemning atheism. She was quoted as saying citizens ‘claim’ a belief in god, then cites money, pledge, and prayer in house/senate. While those things are offensive, they don’t require each person to state religious belief out loud or face being kicked out. So, it’s the wrong battle to flock all over a quite possibly non-issue of what she may or may not think. Doesn’t matter, we pay taxes and have papers then were citizens either way. At the same time, progress can and should be made to total secularism in the public sphere. The one-by-one changing of personal belief is not the way to do it, and detracts any real progress that could benefit from immediate efforts. The short of it, is: we should pick better battles-ones that can be settled in courts and upheld as laws. This bickering sounds too much like playground noise. Ignore ppl like this and move on, to act out against these comments turns a battle for reason into an emotional rage fest–which sounds too much like religious fighting. And we know there’s no winner in those. Just a thought.

    • The Captain

      Your interpretation is a bit off. Here’s the sentence you refer to in full. “Part of claiming your citizenship is claiming a belief in God, even if you are not Christian.” She is not saying that “citizens ‘claim’ a belief in god” she is specifically saying to BE a citizen (to claim your citizenship) you must claim a belief in god. Big deference.

      • ImRike

         And she is wrong! When I took my US citizenship test, I did not have to “claim a belief in god”. I was never asked about my religion or my view about gods.

  • http://www.facebook.com/AmyMarie67 Amy Marie

    A ridiculous claim.  Quite frankly a belief in religion/god just proves indocrination as a youth (as I was).  Becoming an atheist suggests a willingness to live in reality.  I conclude only atheists should be citizens and hold office because we should keep the delusional out of power and from voting.

    • Glasofruix

       In before Stalin references.

    • http://www.facebook.com/thomas.sherman.5 Thomas Sherman

      … no.  While I agree things COULD very well be better that way, that’s a restriction which should never happen.  You don’t take away someone’s citizenship because they believe in a different god than you, so why would you take away someone’s citizenship because they believe in a god and you don’t.

    • Tristan S.

      Very well said. Atheist are truly the only ones who live in reality. We live by our own beliefs and morals not the ones from a book.

    • http://www.facebook.com/danie.francis Danie Francis

      While I am myself religious (Pagan), I certainly contend that all religion should be kept OUT of office, OUT of legal affairs, OUT of all things that deal with state matters. In school, one should teach religion as what it is — “This is X religion, this is where it came from, this is the general population who follows X religion.” No bias. No conversion bull, no nonsense. Beyond that? Keep it to oneself and religious-oriented locations.

    • Herkermer

      I agree with the article: belief in God is not necessarily part of being an American citizen.

      I couldn’t disagree with you more. You seem to have the self-important attitude so common among atheists: We are enlightened free-thinkers. Anyone intelligent agrees with us. Anyone who believes in God is delusional and indoctrinated.

      And you say that religious people are the ones who are judgmental.

      • Deven Kale

         Yet another victim of the infamous sarchasm. I’ve been seeing them everywhere lately.

  • Gawdzillasama

    I’m a veteran of 20 years service in the USN. I’ve given body parts to this country and I gave up my health in the process. I’m also atheistic, if that’s ane da,med business of Ms. Quinn’s.

  • Godzillah3000

    wow, a female taliban.  she is lucky she has the constitution to protect her.  if religous kooks get their way, she would be hidden behind a black vale…lucky her.

  • Karen

    Sally Quinn is an idiot (says this Christian girl!)…

  • Hoolie Girl

    I think “claiming your citizenship” was a bad choice of words.  What I really think she’s saying that there is an unwritten “don’t ask/don’t tell” policy toward atheists in American political life.   I am not sure she’s actually agreeing with it, but she’s pointing it out as a political reality.  More atheists need to “come out” in politics, but when they do, they must be prepared to lose the support of religious purists and bigots, at least in the beginning.  

    • ortcutt

       Whatever her exact intentions, her statement expressed a common belief among many religionists in the US, that non-believers aren’t “real Americans”.   As a very proud citizen of this country, that’s something that really pisses me off.

    • http://www.facebook.com/AnonymousBoy Larry Meredith

       It’s a bad choice of words in the same way “If it’s a legitimate rape” was a bad choice of words.

  • Lucius

    Hahahaha….yet another kool-aid drinking member of the American Taliban.

    • Stev84

       Let’s call her Taliban Sally

      • TnkAgn

         ”Tali-Sally,” for short…

        • Michael

          Sallyban?

        • Lucius

          Tali Sally meet Dallas Alice

      • Drew M.

        There’s an Eric Clapton song waiting to be Yankovic’d.

      • Patterrssonn

        Taliban Sally
        Guess you better slow
        Your Taliban down

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/George-William-Claxton/1430575253 George William Claxton

    One does not need to be an atheist to simply not care whether there are gods floating around out there, so it was not just insulting to atheists. Many Americans who believe that there may be invisible buddies hanging around will also be disturbed by this.

  • RobertoTheChi

    This woman isn’t a journalist… she’s a joke.

    • Annie

       Yes, I don’t think anyone has taken Sally Quinn seriously for a long. long time. 

  • Lee

    So she believes Thomas Jefferson was wrong: we DONT need to protect the minority from the tyranny of the majority. Just say we aren’t even citizens. Maybe we could be considered 3/5 of a citizen. Very sad how many Christians would impose their beliefs if they could.

  • HelenRainier

    Seems like Sally Quinn needs to learn a bit more about the history of US Currency and the Pledge of Allegiance. US Currency used to have “E Pluribus Unum” on it not “In God We Trust.” Likewise, the Pledge (originally written by a democratic socialist preacher) did not have the words “One nation under God.” Those were both added/changed in the early 50s by the US Legislature after the Joe McCarthy “Red/Communist” Senate Hearings.

  • http://www.facebook.com/the.cat.herder Dianne Russell

    My grandfather was a minister but that didn’t stop him from beating his kids (according to my mom) and grabbing the bottoms of his daughters-in-law (accounting to several aunts).

    • BOBBY YOUNCE

       It enabled what he wanted. -bobby99

  • ortcutt

    Sally Quinn is a old, white woman who grew up in the 40s and 50s and doesn’t recognize that her religious privileged world doesn’t exist anymore.  I guess they never got the memo in the cocktail party circuit that she inhabits.

  • Joepalmer

    Too many face lifts have caused Sally’s brain to atpohy

    • Spherical Basterd

      One more and she’ll be sporting an Anton LeVey style goatee.

      • Drew M.

        This is why I try to read every comment. You never know when you’ll come across a day-improving gem like this.

        Brillian!

  • http://www.facebook.com/jrandyowens Randy Owens

    I’m surprised no one has mentioned the old G.H.W. Bush (the Elder) quote.  “No, I don’t know that atheists should be regarded as citizens, nor
    should they be regarded as patriotic. This is one nation under God.… I
    support the separation of church and state. I’m just not very high on
    atheists.”  There seems to be some doubt as to whether he actually said it; it’s never been specifically confirmed or denied.  But it definitely fits the same mindset.

  • BOBBY YOUNCE

    1953 was the McCarthy stupid era when the coins and pledge were infested. Not in the Constitution at all. Red Scare was like the bush 911 blank check. Nixon, John Birch Society, drunken congress, the CIA overthrowing Iran, then Guatemala, ruined lives in the arts– all this was not Constitutional or patriotic. -bobby99
     

  • MH

    Google “transubstantiation notwithstanding” Sally Quinn PO-ed the faithful back in 2008 when she took communion at Tim Russert’s funeral. At the time much was made of her being an atheist and writing a restaurant like review of the wafers. So she is either clueless or trolling everyone.

  • Gregory Lynn

    I’m sorry, I was told the God on the money, in the pledge, and the prayers in the Senate and House didn’t matter at all.

    Silly me.

    Also, I think that whenever someone says this, someone should ask them right out if they realize they’re being bigots.

  • TnkAgn

    Just read her Wiki-bio. What should we expect? The daughter of Col. “”Buffalo Bill” Quinn, who had a PJ party to celebrate Barry Goldwater, and then married her boss:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sally_Quinn

  • Good and Godless

    Being honest requires no belief in god, it does not require being the majority.

  • Ojs_junk

    Uh, despite what your pastor/priest tells you, America, as a plain matter of fact, is not a Christian nation.  Some members if American society may be,  but if you take 10 min, you will find many, many writings by American founding fathers that dispel the notion you hold right now.  Do your research, it will take you less time than it did to write your junk above.

  • Icebiker3

    As I have posted before-if we do not take control over our own fundamentalists, we cannot expect other countries to take control over theirs. 

    • Lucius

      That rather depends on what ‘take control’ means. 

  • C Peterson

    Wow. The atheist Thomas Jefferson wasn’t fit to be a citizen. Or the other half-dozen or more Presidents who have almost certainly been atheists. Or the high percentage of influential Americans over its history who have certainly been atheists (although they couldn’t admit to it).

    Another dingbat journalist who doesn’t deserve her public pulpit.

    • Zooba Zooba

       Not atheist, per se, but more or less commonly known as a deist. Jefferson and co. believed in a creator, but not the Christian God we know of today. That said, the rest of your post makes a good point.

      • C Peterson

        No, an atheist. That’s what Age of Reason deists really were. In the absence of a modern scientific understanding of the Universe, they needed some sort of first cause… a creator or creative mechanism. But it was not personal, not involved, not even intelligent in the usual sense of the word. It was really nothing more than an embodiment of nature. It is virtually certain that Jefferson and most of those “deists” would quite properly call themselves atheists in today’s world… because in fact, that’s just what they were in any meaningful sense.

        And of course, this Quinn idiot isn’t simply talking about theism, but about religiosity. She claims America is a religious country. And while it’s true that many Americans are religious, many of its founders were not. Jefferson was profoundly non-religions, regardless of whether you want to distinguish his deism from atheism.

        • Laura Pan

          Thomas Jefferson, as I understand, did believe in a higher being that set things in motion, and then stepped back.  History does show him to be a deist.  Still though, clearly not a Christian, as he did cut and paste the bible!

          • C Peterson

            Yes, that was the general view of Age of Reason deists. In the absence of a modern scientific first cause, they invented a creative mechanism. And then treated it as totally irrelevant to everything. That’s pretty much the same thing atheists do, which is why I consider that type of deism to be philosophically equivalent to atheism.

            • Casquehead

              And more important, the beliefs of the the Age of Reason deists came with a pre-Darwinian age. 

              • C Peterson

                That’s exactly it. Weak deism was a rational position to take in the absence of alternate explanations for natural processes. And during the Age of Reason, deism had reached its most minimal state: the creator was entirely detached from the Universe except as an original cause. And as soon as modern cosmology and biology arrived on the scene (not much later), the last vestiges of a creator as an intelligent entity disappeared.

            • http://twitter.com/ignatzz Ignatz

               No, they didn’t believe that it was “irrelevant” but revealed itself in the Law of Nature and the Law written on the conscience, not through books or profits.  And they also believed that humans were required to conform to those two laws and would experience an after-life judgment if they didn’t.  Deists were not atheists.  At all.

              • C Peterson

                I disagree. And there’s nothing to suggest that most Age of Reason deists believed in an afterlife.

                Any deity was irrelevant to them because it played no role in the present universe, and did not involve itself with nature or man. Many were explicit in relegating it to the original cause by claiming it was dead.

                Philosophically, a deist from those times is essentially indistinguishable from a modern atheist. The only difference is the knowledge base each had (or has) available to work with.

                • That One Guy

                  I’m pretty sure if everyone knew what scientists knew about cosmology and evolution many more believers today would be atheists. But that doesn’t make them atheists. 

                  That’s saying that they WOULD be atheists; they were deists.What you’re proposing is not dissimilar to ”Bronze Age warriors used iron because they would have used it in some number of centuries to come.”And I’m going to have to agree with Murphy that some of what you’re describing does sound like pantheism.

                • C Peterson

                  You are misunderstanding me. I’m not saying that they would be atheists today. I’m saying that there’s no significant philosophical difference between an 18th century deist and a 21st century atheist. They believe the same things, and simply put a different name on the first cause of the Universe.

                  Jefferson and many of his contemporaries would certainly call themselves atheists today, but they were, in practice, atheists in their own time as well.

              • Murphy831

                What you’re describing is very much the view of Pantheists. Natures God. Nature as everything. Nature permeates all existence and is amoral. It is non-judgmental. A Pantheist sees “God” in nature. Not in some book or doctrine. It doesn’t require belief. It only requires being aware and awake. And this “god” is not a personal God that answers prayers. Being a part of nature yourself, you have a direct connection with everything. You’re part of it, it’s part of you. It’s not ego-centric. Nature is all powerful. Nothing can withstand the forces of nature. When it does what it does, get out of its way. We exist under its laws. It makes sense to go with the flow. Swimming against the current is never a good idea.

                • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charles-Carter/100002185520413 Charles Carter

                  “Swimming against the current” cannot occur if you are part of the river.  Nature is everything (including you), so there’s nothing to go against.

                • Murphy831

                  I’m afraid I don’t agree with that Charles. I agree that nature is not morality. The problem occurs when we impose our idea of morality on nature. We assume there is some foundation or basis to our morality, but when pressed to identify it, we end up in an infinite regress when seeking that basis which justifies another basis which needs yet another justification for another basis vs. our own dogma. Our ego gets in the way and that’s what we invest in some dogma that we cling to. When the dogma appears to have a fault, our ego is threatened. But nature doesn’t give a crap about our ego. It’s amoral. If the river is moving in one direction, and you’re attempting to swim in the other, you’ll lose everytime. It’s really metaphorical for what happens when we impose the ego on nature. That’s what happens when we impose our morality on nature. We try to make reality conform to us, instead of us conforming to it. You’re free to try swimming against the current for yourself. Good luck.

                • OldLeftie

                   a fair definition of panentheism. You simply deny the possibility that the greater river is self conscious. Your right, of course. But it does affect your definition, if not your argument.

                • OldLeftie

                   Panentheists, rather.

            • OldLeftie

               Seems to me you’re going pretty far with the facts in order to justify your opinion. “Age of Reason deists” indeed!

              http://theconversation.edu.au/no-youre-not-entitled-to-your-opinion-9978

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/XJAUV46LYMRQO3LZCEVG5PZ5HI Here

        I think they were just subject to the thinking of the time.  If they were here today, and had the benefit of what we’ve learned from science, I’m pretty sure they’d be atheists.

        • http://www.facebook.com/ciaran.macaoidh Ciaran MacAoidh

          It’s still not good to retrofit them with atheism even though I agree they probably would’ve been atheists. 

  • http://brutereason.net/ Miriam Mogilevsky

    “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

    -Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution

  • John of Indiana

    I claim Priapus.

  • LesterBallard

    Look; Ann Coulter put on a few pounds. Fuck her.

    • JohnnieCanuck

      Do you hate all women or just women who express their opinions in public? Why mock Ann Coulter or Sally Quinn because of their appearance? You wouldn’t say anything about weight or rape if it were a man you were criticising. 
      Why not just mock the many stupid things they say?

      • LesterBallard

        Jesus fucking christ. It has nothing to do with their appearance. And I don’t know where the fuck you get rape from.

        • JohnnieCanuck

          You can’t have been paying much attention to the criticism Coulter gets that focuses not on her (awful) ideas but on her larynx and how thin and masculine and old she looks. That and suggestions that all she needs to straighten her out would be for someone to give her a good fucking, if only someone could be found  that wasn’t put off by her appearance.

          Forgive me for associating you with that kind of misogyny based solely on your comparison which referred to their weight. I guess you’re not that kind of person after all.

          And yeah, associating your “Fuck her.” comment with wishing non-consensual sex on her was only one of the possible interpretations. I’m sure she wouldn’t have taken it that personally.

          • LesterBallard

            First; fuck you. I meant that Quinn made the kind of stupid fucking comment that Coulter makes; that Quinn is blonde, but not as skinny as Coulter, but that it was the same kind of remark. Coulter, or say, Bryan Fischer, or whoever, is to take “fuck you” very personally. As in, I can’t stand you or your opinions, get out of here, go away, fuck you. So, again, fuck you.

      • OregoniAn

        Rape? WTF?? You’re an odd person JohnnieCanuck..

  • CB123

    One of the most idiotic things I’ve read in a long time.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    Here’s what I wrote over at the Washington Post under her article:

    Sally, this is your 47% moment. You just wrote off 15% of the country’s population with an amazingly stupid, ignorant, and insensitive set of remarks. If you’re just complaining about the increasingly toxic and mutually corrupting mix of religion into politics, and the disingenuous pandering of almost every politician to the religious, go ahead, but to do it by adding your voice to the vicious bigotry against upstanding, law abiding, tax paying, patriotic citizens who are simply unconvinced of deities shows that YOU have no understanding of the basic American principle of freedom for all and equal treatment under the law. I don’t believe in any gods. But I work with dedication and passion every day for YOUR freedom to worship and believe whatever you do, and YOUR freedom to say what you think, even the asinine, vile things that you have said about me. I will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with any American of any religion to protect their religious freedom, and I EXPECT THEM AS AMERICANS TO DO THE SAME FOR ME! Now tell me to my face that I don’t love my country, Tell me to my face that I’m not a citizen.

    • http://www.facebook.com/dave.lach.14 Dave Lach

      Richard you are 100% correct and I too share your position but they will not support us with the same common couresty as we support them.  By us merely maintaining the position that there is no god and therefore no life after death, we threaten the very foundation of their faith and their so-called “purpose driven life.”  In effect, our being non-believers, is like intentionally popping a four year old child’s prized balloon.  

      • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

        Fortunately I occasionally run across a Christian who asserts that he or she wil return the favor. I just replied with thanks to one over at the On Faith comments. 

        As for those whose faith is so easily knocked over by my simply not buying into it, I owe them and my country my dedication to protect their right to believe, but I don’t own them or my country any effort to prop up their decrepit, sagging faith.  That part is their problem.

        Any religious Americans who are not willing to support and defend everyone’s right to believe or not believe are the ones whose fitness for citizenship should be called into question.

    • nakedanthropologist

      I’m seriously in love with you right now.  I know that you’re married, and it can never be, and so I pine.  Oh, courtly love!

  • Independent American

    In other news…Sally Quinn was just offered her own show on Fox News. j/k

  • http://www.facebook.com/dave.lach.14 Dave Lach

    If I had a low IQ and a lack of common sense, I’d believe in
    a god. There is no evidence that any god has ever existed and if someone has a
    shread of verifiable proof, please share it with the rest of us before you
    smear your god all over my America. All these small minded people who cling to
    their bibles, their guns and force their beliefs upon the rest of us, really
    need a reality check. They need to do some soul searching and review the facts.  I believe what life has taught me, not just
    what I’ve been taught to believe. The reality is that Atheists are the only
    enlightened American Citizens. 

  • Aarongman

    Were not in the foxholes? Pat Tilman quit his multi-million dollar a year job to go fight overseas and was killed by friendly fire! Lets see her do that!

  • http://www.facebook.com/paul.grewal.1000 Paul Grewal

    I really wish these religious types would keep their mouths shut when it comes to legitimate political matters. They constantly embarrass themselves and their words reflect poorly on their country. If she wants to (selectively) invoke statements in the Constitution, Mrs. Sally must realize where the door she is opening leads, surely? Sadly, that seems doubtful. Leave it to a religious bigot to arbitrarily choose a few paragraphs from a source that can be used to back up a particular view without any clue as to how ignorant she comes across. As a Canadian, I am not emotionally hurt by Mrs. Sally’s remarks; however, I would enjoy a decline in the volume of sheer stupidity spewing from that country these days. If the statements Sally referred to can be used to force all citizens of the USA to believe in God, then why shouldn’t the parts emphasizing such things as the separation of Church and State be treated in an equally crucial manner?  If they are, would that not put an end to attempts by certain parties’ efforts to essentially convert the nation into a land ruled by Christian fascism? On an unrelated note: Surely Mrs. Sally understands that the “God” often referred to by the Founding Fathers is not the God of Christianity but rather the God of  Deism? Should belief in that God be a requirement for being an American citizen? That also seems unwarranted… as it would go against the very spirit of affording American citizens the right to openly CHOOSE which God, if any, they choose to believe in… which is an attitude much more characteristic of the vision of the Founding Fathers than religious Dictatorship.

  • http://www.facebook.com/paul.grewal.1000 Paul Grewal

     I really wish these religious types would keep their mouths shut when it
    comes to legitimate political matters. They constantly embarrass
    themselves and their words reflect poorly on their country. If she wants
    to (selectively) invoke statements in the Constitution, Mrs. Sally must
    realize where the door she is opening leads, surely? Sadly, that seems
    doubtful. Leave it to a religious bigot to arbitrarily choose a few
    paragraphs from a source that can be used to back up a particular view
    without any clue as to how ignorant she comes across. As a Canadian, I
    am not emotionally hurt by Mrs. Sally’s remarks; however, I would enjoy a
    decline in the volume of sheer stupidity spewing from that country
    these days. If the statements Sally referred to can be used to force all
    citizens of the USA to believe in God, then why shouldn’t the parts
    emphasizing such things as the separation of Church and State be treated
    in an equally crucial manner?  If they are, would that not put an end
    to attempts by certain parties’ efforts to essentially convert the
    nation into a land ruled by Christian fascism? On an unrelated note:
    Surely Mrs. Sally understands that the “God” often referred to by the
    Founding Fathers is not the God of Christianity but rather the God of 
    Deism? Should belief in that God be a requirement for being an American
    citizen? That also seems unwarranted… as it would go against the very
    spirit of affording American citizens the right to openly CHOOSE which
    God, if any, they choose to believe in… which is an attitude much more
    characteristic of the vision of the Founding Fathers than religious
    Dictatorship.

  • http://www.facebook.com/paul.grewal.1000 Paul Grewal

    I really wish these religious types would keep their mouths shut when it comes to legitimate political matters. They constantly embarrass themselves and their words reflect poorly on their country. If she wants to (selectively) invoke statements in the Constitution, Mrs. Sally must realize where the door she is opening leads, surely? Sadly, that seems doubtful. Leave it to a religious bigot to arbitrarily choose a few paragraphs from a source that can be used to back up a particular view without any clue as to how ignorant she comes across. As a Canadian, I am not emotionally hurt by Mrs. Sally’s remarks; however, I would enjoy a decline in the volume of sheer stupidity spewing from that country these days. If the statements Sally referred to can be used to force all citizens of the USA to believe in God, then why shouldn’t the parts emphasizing such things as the separation of Church and State be treated in an equally crucial manner?  If they are, would that not put an end to attempts by certain parties’ efforts to essentially convert the nation into a land ruled by Christian fascism? On an unrelated note: Surely Mrs. Sally understands that the “God” often referred to by the Founding Fathers is not the God of Christianity but rather the God of  Deism? Should belief in that God be a requirement for being an American citizen? That also seems unwarranted… as it would go against the very spirit of affording American citizens the right to openly CHOOSE which God, if any, they choose to believe in… which is an attitude much more characteristic of the vision of the Founding Fathers than religious Dictatorship. 

    • Liberated Liberal

      Can you adopt me so I can move to Canada? :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000948130300 Dallas McCoy

    I was asked if I was a Christian. I said NO. A pause, then I was told that that means I don’t believe in God. I said, Whoa, that’s two different things. Religions have their Gods which I believe all are phony. I believe there is a Real higher power that is totally and completely beyond our comprehension. Does that make me an atheist? 

  • Casquehead

    Once again, looking for Creator in our founding documents, going straight to the DoI because that’s the only place it can be found. Yawn.

  • Elerena

    I suppose they’ll just have to deport us to the godless wasteland of Canada.

  • http://twitter.com/ignatzz Ignatz

    Actually, Ms. Quinn, people who loudly and publicly proclaimed their religious faith were the people whom Jesus most heavily criticized.  That’s not Christianity, it’s Pharisaism with a “Jesus” label.

    I’m a member of the Eastern Orthodox Church, and I wouldn’t vote for a Mammon-worshipper like Mitt Romney under any circumstances at all. 

    Besides, Barack Obama is the only Christian in the race.

  • http://twitter.com/hyperlocavore hyperlocavore

    Orly? Soooo….Thomas Paine….not a worthy citizen?

    Jump off a pier Lady.

  • Vinny Vance

    MY creators were Chuck and Becky Vance…enough said…

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Scott-Johnston/1064888053 Scott Johnston

    Another freakin idiot runs her mouth.  Such ignorance should not be tolerate!  Off with her head! LOL!

  • RobMcCune

     So wait, there is no religious test for office, but there is one for citizenship? How does that work? Even for an off the cuff statement that is really dumb, how did anyone at the post let this get into print?

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/7QSIVM7DZUCAWDHWYCK7EYYC5Q BD

    Does Quinns’s definition of those who call themselves  Christians include  tangible proof of membership?  It can’t be  simply to announce one’s  Christianity to make it so. Otherwise, anyone could  declare themselves anything they like–a  jet pilot, for example. There must be proof  of these statements. The pilot confirms his status by flying  a jet.  The Christian must certify his beliefs by regularly attending church. By this standard, only 20% of Americans are Christians. 

  • Murphy831

    Ms Quinn. If I am to have religious freedom in this country, I must be free FROM your religious views. If religious freedom means anything, it means the freedom of ones own conscience to believe or NOT believe as they choose.  I refer you to Article VI  of our constitution. …”NO religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States”.  What part of that do you not understand? In Thomas Jeffersons famous letter to the Danbury Baptists, most people remember his comments on the separation of church and state. However he also said, ““Believing with
    you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that
    he owes account to none other for is faith or his worship, that the
    legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions”.
     Your opinion on what qualifies any of us for citizenship in this country is meaningless drivel not worthy of print in the Washington Post. The very suggestion of something like this is astonishing in America; A country that prides itself in Freedom.  Of course that also means you have the freedom to be in idiot. It’s the work of a small mind. Have you considered that it’s just possible that somebody may not believe in your fairytales and not have any religious orientation at all. If somebody doesn’t believe in God, do you think they should lie and claim they do in order to satisfy your conditions for citizenship? Would that make you happy? What kind of a religion thinks lying is a virtue? Finally….do they actually pay you at the Post to write something this stupid?

  • Adamrnmiller

    Who the hell is Sally  Quinn?

  • motorfingaz

    Quite frankly, as a Christian I wouldn’t give this wacko the time of day. 

  • http://twitter.com/fgsgeneg FlyingGaSquirrel

    Yeah, God didn’t get on our money until the Civil War. What an oxymoron, putting the deity who despises money on our money.

    The FF would be horrified if they saw how we’ve incorporated religious tropes into our political society.

  • paul walter

     a bit nazi.

  • Witchgawd

    News flash! Delusional Christian with poor education says something stupid….Again!

  • Lance Sievert

    A Letter To The Editor of The
    Washington Post In Response To Sally Quinn

     

     

    Dear Editor,

     

    The National Atheist Party would like to directly
    address the bigoted remarks made by Sally Quinn in The Washington Post. Her
    claim that “This is a religious country,” is culturally ignorant and factually
    inaccurate. Furthermore, her statements that “Part of claiming your citizenship
    is claiming a belief in God, even if you are not Christian,” reeks of the type
    of theocratic oppression rampant in the Muslim Middle East, and is antithetical
    to American’s First Amendment right to the freedom of (and from) religion.  Her disregard for the non-religious, Secular
    Humanist, Agnostic, Atheist, Wiccan, Buddhist, and the many other American
    citizens  who do not profess a belief in
    her Judeo-Christian god, which she incorrectly estimates to be only 15% on this
    country (the recent Gallup Poll shows this number as closer to 30%), is blatant
    bigotry.

     

                The
    National Atheist Party would like to offer Ms. Quinn a sociology and history lesson.
    Ms. Quinn, when you present as evidence that we have “In God We Trust” on our
    coins and paper currency, you are proving that you are grossly ignorant of the
    historical facts. This inherently divisive slogan was added to our coins in
    1864 in response to a letter from a single pastor, representing only eleven
    churches – hardly a majority. The phrase was added to our paper currency in
    1957, as one of the last desperate gasps of the McCarthyism hysteria, in
    reaction to communist Russia. As for the presence of “one nation under god” in
    our pledge, while the Supreme Court has upheld this phrase by majority
    vote,  Judge Stephen Reinhardt gave a  dissenting opinion, writing that “the
    state-directed, teacher-led daily recitation in public schools of the amended
    ‘under God’ version of the Pledge of Allegiance… violates the Establishment
    Clause of the Constitution.” It has only been upheld due to what the court
    felt were “patriotic reasons,” not the purported truth of that statement. These
    inclusions were for political reasons Ms. Quinn, not holy reasons.

     

                In
    response to Sally Quinn’s statements, Troy Boyle, President of the National
    Atheist Party, would like to offer a rebuttal:  ”If
    American citizenship requires a belief in God, that requirement is strangely
    absent from the Constitution, which directly contravenes Ms. Quinn’s statement.
    The Constitution, often referred to as the “Law of the Land” instead
    announces in Article VI, paragraph 3 that all public officials ‘shall be bound
    by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test
    shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under
    the United States.’ Since these public officials MUST be American citizens,
    there is no way that her statement is accurate.”

     

                Ms.
    Quinn, your willful ignorance of our First Amendment rights, your obvious
    bigotry towards anyone who does not believe in your spiritual ideas, and your
    complete lack of understanding of political history undermines not only your
    journalistic integrity, but the integrity of The Washington Post as a
    publication.

    • Lucius

      Ought to be published in the paper.  In my world it would be.

  • johnny

    She’s a witch….burn her at the stake!

  • Sweenytodd1964

    What a complete idiot, she should be ashamed of herself!

  • Ryan Bauer

    Just a little devil’s advocacy here … Perhaps she didn’t mean that in order to be considered a citizen, you must claim to be religious. Perhaps she meant that, in the eyes of the majority of Americans, it’s un-American not to be religious, which is why most political candidates play to that necessity, whether they’re religious or not. Mitt Romney, she says, played to that in his remarks. As an aside, it’s interesting that she uses the word “citizenship,” in light of the birther garbage.

  • NavinJay

    “Who does not see,” he wrote, “that the same authority which can establish
    Christianity, in exclusion of all other Religions, may establish with the same
    ease any particular sect of Christians, in exclusion of all other Sects?”

    Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history-archaeology/Americas-True-History-of-Religious-Tolerance.html#ixzz28Z980iS8

  • Joe Bruemmer

    I thought Quinn was an atheist. Hmmm.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Robert-Bootier/100001550546729 Robert Bootier

    She’s a bad spokes-person for atheists. It’s just a matter of time before all religions die. Christianity is in a cancerous state, but getting towards the end of its life. The way people are educated today, through the INTERNET, colleges, universities etc. religion will become a thing of the past.

  • http://www.facebook.com/danie.francis Danie Francis

    ACTUAL HISTORY > RELIGIOUS FALLACY. Period.

  • http://www.facebook.com/timdlittle Timothy D Little

    BS…The right wing makes me throw up in my mouth a little when they say ignorant stuff like this.

  • http://www.facebook.com/nhdogmom Sharon Strickland-Chabot

    When did Sally Quinn lose her mind??  What a ridiculous statement. 

  • OldLeftie

    An overreaction, Mr. Mehta. Sally is no right wing bigot. She was simply pointing out that the demographic in play is made up of theists and deists. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/esther.essinger Esther Essinger

    America was founded by people who came here to save themselves from religious persecution by people who believed there was only one way to believe. Lo and behold, here they are again – people who believe there’s only one way to believe. When will humankind GET IT? NOBODY REALLY KNOWS. It’s a Mystery !!! We are all making it up as we go along and also creating our Stories and Explanations and interpretations to explain it – but nobody knows. Atheists are just as silly about this as religious nuts. Why don’t we all just start being interested in the wide range of stories everybody creates and respect the fact that each one of us has only one piece of the puzzle? Why cram what we believe down each other’s throats and cut off their heads if they don’t want to swallow OUR OWN explanation of the Universe?? This is so basic, so obvious – and we are SO overdue to evolve! 

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      Not quite correct.  That’s why the Puritans left England, but not why the left The Netherlands.  They left the latter because it was too religiously free, and they were surrounded by people who weren’t ‘correct’ Christians.  So they went to America where they could set up their own very narrow theocracy.

  • Heterodoxus

    “In God We Trust” has appeared on US coins since 1864 because Congress, at the bull-headed insistence of Christians, decreed it to be so. Ditto for the motto’s appearance on US paper currency since 1957 (during the height of the Cold War struggle with the officially atheist Soviet Union) and at the urgings of a Republican President (Eisenhower) and Congress. America’s Deist founding fathers used the word “Creator” to distinguish between the creator of the universe and King George III, and “under God” didn’t appear in the US Pledge of Allegiance until, at the behest of anti-Communist conservative Republican Christian appeals to Ike, 1954.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    This makes the argument for opposing such symbolism, which some write off as meaningless.

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      Exactly.  This points out that SCOTUS was wrong, it’s not ‘ceremonial Deism’.

  • robinruinsky

    Wow! What an idiotic statement! As idiotic as Romney taking Paul “Lyin” Ryan’s “We get our rights from God and Nature” piece of crap statement and using it in the debate.
    Mendacity Mitt has a new fan in Sally Quinn.

  • Mike Enright

    in a reasonable, reality-based country, asserting the primacy of your faith should make it impossible for you to be elected. just the opposite in the usa.

  • Sean

    The article is largely satirical/cynical. For comparison, see another of Ms. Quinn’s articles at the Post: “Playing the Religion Card” (09/08/12):
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/on-faith/post/playing-the-religion-card/2012/09/08/26de33fa-fa17-11e1-8b93-c4f4ab1c8d13_blog.html

    From that article:
    “When you add “God” to the Democratic platform you are essentially ignoring the fact that some 15 percent of Americans are either atheists, agnostics, secular humanists or simply say they don’t believe.”

    Unfortunately, a good number of commenters, some of them likely driven from this post, have taken the opportunity to abuse Ms. Quinn in the most asinine ways, some of them vulgar ad hominem attacks, as well as the usual assaults on her journalistic prowess (embarrasingly, obviously informed by reading just a single article of hers).

    I feel sad to think that so many of my fellow atheists have so far to come in terms of being able to employ rational thought.

    For shame.

    • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

      I saw that Sept. 8 article late last night, and realized that you are probably right; her recent remarks about atheists and citizenship are an illustrative case-in-point rather than an assertion that such an attitude about nonbelievers is justified. It was part of her complaint about the general exploitative use of religion in politics. 

      The problem is that satire, irony, or the raised eyebrow that indicates “I don’t really agree
      with this thing I’m describing” is often not at all apparent in the
      printed word. The way she wrote her statements, this irony, satire, or unhappiness with that attitude is not at all clear, and it comes across as a straight forward assertion and/or belief of her own. 

      Her articles should be written to be able to stand on their own, and be understood on their own, rather than requiring her readers to be familiar with her history on an issue from articles a month or more in the past. People who regularly follow a columnist’s writing will become familiar with that columnist’s humor, attitudes, and more subtle nuances, but unless she writes to be accessible to every first-time reader, her readership will remain limited to an in-crowd who know the in jokes and the unstated viewpoints, like a small club.

      The particular anti-atheist bigotry that she described is very real in this country, and it hurts to be the target of it, so it’s going to get a great deal of reaction. If she’s going to describe it in order to make a point, she should very clearly and explicitly disavow any implied agreement with it right there in her article.

      • Sean

        I agree she bears some responsibility for garnering an unwanted reaction by not being sufficiently clear.
        For attracting ad hominems and other such irrational stupidity (to say nothing of the uncivility)…not so much.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=856099349 Ellen Mottley Tannenbaum

    Apparently, according to a few of her commenters & a link to her Sept 8th article, this latest one is satirical.

  • Garycarpenter09

    As an Anabaptist, I still believe in seperation of church and state.

  • http://twitter.com/fabianbach90 -

    I read her name as saying “Silly Quinn” :D :D WashPost just gets worse and worse and worse…. 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_M4DJU7FBWJ7N6NKCMTBFSCI2LQ Michael W

    Well  Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Shintos, Taoists, Jains, Parsis, Ba’hai’s, Druze, Cao Dai, Cheondoism. Wiccans, Rastifarians, Sikhs, Tradition Folk Religions, Animists, Shamanists, Native American, Spiritism, Confucianists, etc.  all believe in God.  Does she accept them as American citizens?

    Probably not.  Intolerant people never approve of the other persons faith.

  • http://twitter.com/debzillaTexas Debzilla, MD

    Thank you Sally Quinn.  It is because of people like you that I am out as an atheist and promoting science and reason publically.  

  • Jesseriker

    Both of the Bushs  said the same thing

  • alicialynn00

    The fact that it is ambiguous is the point. We don’t have enough to go on to determine what she meant. And, even if we did, who cares what she thinks? I am a citizen. Done. She has no bearing on it. Why make an argument where there really isn’t one? This practice is detracting from the secular movement. She’s obviously not too bright. Why make a huge deal on the internet over it? My interpretation is not off at all. It allowed me to not let her idiocy bother me one bit. I will fight with my vote, where and when I can do that. That’s all I can do. I know the full sentence to which I was referring, thanks. 

  • Lucifer

    The times they are a-changin’!

  • http://www.facebook.com/eileen.hargreaves.7 Eileen Hargreaves

    If it is not a + factor for me, I would easily lie on such an issue, providing it was an issue I support!   Rick Perrys` comment on Satan (?) Maybe the man in the `Moon`(?)……definitely, absolutely, no doubt whatsoever : State and Church Separation….should never have been combined in the first instance.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_7ULATYFPWI5BSPZB24UO7HFOVU James

    MS Quinn is an amazingly ignorant member of the religious reich.  hy should anyone be surprised that she spouts the same odl lies? 

  • Auntibodhi

    I’m an occasional reader of this blog (really enjoy it BTW), but I don’t comment often. 

    This Sally Quinn person really needs a reality-check, and maybe some history lessons.  But, it does reflect how entrenched religion, specifically Christian variations of religion, have become in our politics…  *sigh*

    So, here’s the personal quandary that relates to this article for me : I’m an immigrant to the U.S, and plan on gaining citizenship eventually.  I want to VOTE, dang it!  The idea that there are people who erroneously believe (NOT think, as this is definitely not anything that resulted from THOUGHT) that one cannot be a citizen of the U.S. without expressing a belief in god really bothers me.  The kind of “bother” that swells into cheek-burning, embarrassed anger.   You see, I have a big problem with the Pledge of Allegiance: I’m an atheist and I will REFUSE, loudly, if necessary, to add in the “One nation under god” drivel (who’s “God”?  What if I don’t believe in this “god”?).  I have a huge aversion to lying, and the Oath would mean nothing to me as it would be a lie if I included the reference to a fictional character called God.

    I wonder, has anyone else had this ethical problem come up?  I’m sure they have, but I’m curious to hear their stories.  :-)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=592530297 Colin Hu

    another whitechristianrepublicanredneckracistignorantcracker telling atheist, blacks, asians, americanindians, freethinkers, arrogant, democrats, independents, etc. that their not american…

  • msbetz

    Why are atheists so afraid of the Christian belief structure? All religions have holy books to correspond with their beliefs…Why the obsession with Christianity? Live and let live, its a personal choice to believe that there’s powerful force outside of ones self. Call it what you may. Go pick on some other religion like Satanism or Islam…more fun… or there’s about 20 other major religions in the world.