What will happen to the United States — One Nation Under God — if we ever elected an atheist president — or would we be rendered asunder before that could ever happen?  Is it possible for an atheist to win the highest office in the land where prayer and freedom of religion reign?


Or are we fated to only have presidents that serve some sort of religious agenda while in office?

As President Obama wends his way into Egypt this week — I wonder if America would elect a true Muslim president before an atheist? 

Or is the American mindset so set against the Muslim community that — if it came down to a choice between two nevers — we would have to choose an atheist president over a Muslim one?

If you had to pick right now between two presidential candidates based solely on their system of faith — or lack thereof — would you vote for the atheist or the Muslim candidate, and what presses you into that decision?

14 Comments

  1. I’d say an atheist almost every time.
    Chiefly because I’m not aware of “radical” atheists that blow themselves up because they are trying to impose a worldview.

  2. I think you might be right about that, Gordon. Atheists are loathed — without real provocation or reason — but after 9/11, I can’t imagine any Muslim being elected America’s president over at least the next hundred years. I think it will take at least three generations for that betrayal of our national security to be reasoned away by history.

  3. In my regional area the public views Obama as a Muslim president. It seems, to them, that we have already elected a Muslim in our highest office.
    Personally, Obama does not profess Muslim faith even though his heritage links distantly to the Muslim nationality. So, I am unsure if there is any substantial proof to the the farmers views.
    In light of electing a president, I am almost certain that there will someday be an atheist president elected to rule our nation. There is also coming a time when a homosexual will be elected in our highest office, as well as a woman.
    I wonder if our nation is prepared for such changes? They have been so eager for change. Someone might need to iterate, “Be very careful what you ask for!”
    Given the choice … I’d prefer an atheist president over a Muslim one. Yes, you heard me right! I mean that with no disrespect to the Muslim’s.
    Our life style here in the Western World is so very different than in Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan. The freedom and liberty that women have here would most certainly be an issue with a Muslim president. As a women, I don’t want to ever have to live under the bondage and dictatorship that their women have to endure. Many a person has died or shed blood for the freedoms we enjoy. I’d prefer to relish and live in those freedoms.
    Perhaps it is a bit selfish of me to make such a judgmental call. In any case, I realize that I am far too vocal and opinionated to ever be dictated by … just a man, simply because he is a man. That is more change than I am willing to support with my vote.

  4. Kimberley —
    I hope you correct people in your area who think Obama is a Muslim with “muslim heritage” because it is all a lie intended to smear him during the campaign:

    An older woman seated at the table asked Obama to explain his Muslim heritage, to which the candidate replied, “This is something that keeps on being misreported, so I’m glad you asked me.”
    Obama was referring to an e-mail chain accusing him of being a Muslim with an intent to undermine the United States. Early this year, false reports also circulated that he had attended a madrassa as a child. Obama explained his connection to Islam in this way:
    “My father was from Kenya,” he said, “and a lot of people in his village were Muslim. He didn’t practice Islam. Truth is he wasn’t very religious. He met my mother. My mother was a Christian from Kansas, and they married and then divorced. I was raised by my mother. So, I’ve always been a Christian. The only connection I’ve had to Islam is that my grandfather on my father’s side came from that country. But I’ve never practiced Islam.”
    “For a while, I lived in Indonesia because my mother was teaching there. And that’s a Muslim country. And I went to school. But I didn’t practice. But what I do think it does is it gives me insight into how these folks think, and part of how I think we can create a better relationship with the Middle East and that would help make us safer is if we can understand how they think about issues.”

    http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2007/12/22/531492.aspx

  5. It’s unfair to not hold a muslim canditate to office. After all that’s all America pledges for. “Equality” for all. As long as ur a citizen of the US ur allowed a chance in office. And Im sure that any president in the future who is an atheist who holds office as president, he/she will succumb to religion and “One nation under god…..” Its to their favor. However, if he/she does not and comes right out with the truth (Atheist), the public wont like that, he wont have a chance for the election, because people want someone to also have religious values of some kind. Its a kind of safety for those believers. Its something thats written and that every president has abided for, you break that and the system might just collapse. Religion n politics are after all pretty much together in hand.
    -Ed

  6. Well, correcting the misconceptions of a president that this area didn’t want is a daunting task indeed! I have found myself in the middle of many a heated debate concerning this very issue over a president I myself did not vote for. It is like talking to a brick wall. When people already have their minds made up … there is little I can do the change their views. However, I do think that Obama himself will be able to sway their minds by his own actions and decisions, providing they approve or agree with his actions and decisions. Need I remind you where I live? This is redneck country!
    Unfortunately, “people will climb a tree to believe a lie but won’t stand still to hear the truth!” Where does that leave us?

  7. Kimberley —

    A university education, I warned them, is not about deciding between right and wrong; it is about finding compromise and understanding in that hazy, grey, undefined part of the world and then getting comfortable enough with being open-minded to live your life into your death. I asked them to give me some examples of two opposite views that appear to never be able to be reconciled.

    Print out the rest of that article and give it to everyone you know in Kentucky:
    http://urbansemiotic.com/2005/08/25/passionate-mind-and-intellectual-heart
    We are required to always accept new information because we never know when we’ll find out what we thought we always knew was true, never was.

  8. Exactly! We are fed what we are already predconditioned to believe. the public will climb a tree even higher, when the lie is even better. We come from families, customs, beliefs, etc. Its hard to change public opinion. But it is easier to just flow with a prerendered thought. And that leaves us in a state of ignorance. Its all about action baby, we pick our leaders and if they suck, it’s because the public sucks.

  9. Based purely on religious views, I would have to choose the atheist. I’m not opposed to a Muslim president, but as a mostly non-religious person, I think the atheist’s values would be closer to my own. I’d be very surprised if we saw an atheist or Muslim president in the next 50 years.

  10. I do think the public sucks, Ed, but they’ve become so disenchanted with the political process — all on purpose by partisan political operatives — that only the radicals are left on either side to slug it out. So the disinterested “middling morality” gains great power in the end if you can excite them enough to head into the voter booth.

  11. liminal —
    I agree that, in my experience, atheists are actually the most tolerant of various religious viewpoints because they have no vested interest in any of it — and that would make for a president of the people, ALL THE PEOPLE, but I don’t think you can get elected in the USA without being a Jesus Christ lover in public.
    I think we’ll see a woman president next and then we’ll have a few more racial minorities — and then, perhaps, we can get to the religious/non-religious minority presidents. SMILE!