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 editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.