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JLeslie's avatar

American Christians: Would you feel distressed if during an election all of the candidates were non-Christians?

Asked by JLeslie (46149 points ) December 14th, 2009

Do you kind of take for granted that there are always Christians to choose from? Are there some religions you just can’t vote for? Buddhist, Jewish, Muslim, you pick.

What if your only choices were atheists?

Do you think this would start a lot of conversation about how the country is changing and something has to be done?

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56 Answers

Dr_Dredd's avatar

Welcome to my world. There are rarely Jewish candidates running. I don’t necessarily mind, unless the candidates are blatantly antisemetic.

anon's avatar

Isn’t that a bit like basing your vote on the colour of someone’s skin? :/

UScitizen's avatar

Distressed is the wrong term. So, no. However, I would accept this as a sign that we have surrendered our great country to the invaders.

JLeslie's avatar

@UScitizen Are you being serious?

MrItty's avatar

No one of my religious persuasion has ever run for President, nor do I believe any would be elected if they had run. Somehow, I manage to live through the pain.

MrItty's avatar

@anon no, it’s not like basing your vote on the color of some one’s skin whatsoever. People are born with their skin color, and their skin color says exactly 0 about what they think, feel, or believe. Someone’s religion, on the other hand, is their own choice, and if they follow the tenants of that religion, it can be assumed without too much difficulty that their political and governmental decisions will be at least related to the core beliefs of that religion.

airowDee's avatar

I only vote for politicans who behave like an atheist at their jobs.

HumourMe's avatar

I wouldn’t vote for anyone who wasn’t an atheist.

Snarp's avatar

@HumourMe So you don’t vote?

anon's avatar

@MrItty But if you’re choosing not to vote for someone just because their religious beliefs don’t coincide with yours, isn’t that being more than a little bit prejudiced? When I’m voting for someone to run this country I choose to do so by looking at what they plan to do with their time in power, not by whichever God they choose to pray to (if any at all).

AstroChuck's avatar

No, to the contrary. I’d prefer a few intellectual atheists run. Of course they wouldn’t stand a chance in this backwoods (at least when it comes to tolerence of atheism) country.

Seek's avatar

I can only hope for a time when the Christians of this nation have to make the choice we atheists do every election. I don’t think I’ve ever had the opportunity to vote for someone of like lack-of-belief.

Seek's avatar

@anon
Is it a prejudice? Perhaps.
But is it wrong? I hardly think so.

I think the fact that a politician can stare the country in the face and say “The earth is 6,000 years old, all mankind sprung from a man made of dirt and a woman made from his rib, talking snakes brought all evil into the world, and I know this is true because my imaginary friend told me so”, is a very good reason to not vote for them.

anon's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr Haha, I see your point.

galileogirl's avatar

I’m looking forward to 2016 when the 1st descendent of Martian ancestry, obviously a disciple of the ancient Lorcan philosophy and a proponent of peace and prosperity for all, runs and is defeated by Sarah Palin of the Christian Snake Handler Party. Her first act will be to ask “What’s this red button for?”

Th-th-that’s all folks!

dpworkin's avatar

Joe Lieberman and I are both Jews, and I will be contributing to his opponent in the next election because of his stand on health care. I care about issues, nothing else.

JLeslie's avatar

@MrItty The only thing I disagree with is that some people identify with their religion, but are not very religious. Jews are an obvious group of people who do this, but even Catholics I know and others were maybe raised in a religion, but don’t really buy into all that is preached.

Snarp's avatar

A 2007 USA today/Gallup poll is a pretty good handle on what Americans think on this in general. You can see the hurdle we atheist have to face. Only 46% of Americans would vote for a good candidate, nominated by their political party who happened to be an atheist:

“Between now and the 2008 political conventions, there will be discussion about the qualifications of presidential candidates—their education, age, religion, race, and so on. If your party nominated a generally well-qualified person for president who happened to be [see below], would you vote for that person?” Trend includes slight variation in wording.

Percent Yes:

Catholic 93
Black 93
Jewish 91
A woman 86
Hispanic 86
Mormon 80
A homosexual 56
Atheist 46

source

Seek's avatar

@JLeslie
On the contrary, those are the only religious people I would vote for.
If you want to claim Catholocism to make Christmas dinner easier for you and your family, that’s cool with me. It’s the people that actually believe in the Great Flood and the man-eating-and-vomiting fish that worry me.

JLeslie's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr But you are not a God believing religious Christian.

Snarp's avatar

I think many are dancing around this, but ultimately, one’s religion is both more and less than just a label. If someone has a label that applies to people of widely varying beliefs and attitudes (like Jewish, Catholic, Christian, Atheist) then that should not affect anyone’s vote. But if someone espouses beliefs that are clearly at odds with reality on issues that actually affect day to day life and policy decisions, then that is grounds not to vote for them.

Seek's avatar

No, I am a logic-believing rational atheist.

Seek's avatar

I count Creationism as “clearly at odds with reality on issues that actually affect day-to-day life”.

Snarp's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr I concur. Sometimes the label is narrow enough to do the job, like Creationist.

ubersiren's avatar

I’m not a Christian, so I know this question isn’t targeted at me, but a person’s religion itself (or lack thereof) means nothing to me when considering voting for a presidential candidate. However, if a candidate states that he will/ will not ____ because of his religious beliefs, then he’s the first to be scratched off my list of possibilities.

An example would be when Obama said he supported civil unions but could not support gay marriage because of his religion and then proceeded to quote scripture. Religion has no place in politics and that separation is what our United States was founded on. I am not Christian, so your quoting of the Bible (or Torah or whatever) makes me relate to you even less and actually respect you less. It says to me that you only see as far as your own religion and discount anyone who doesn’t believe the same as you.

Down the toilet with all of them.

JLeslie's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr I am happy you answered my question :) but pretty much I would guess all atheists and religious minorities are accustomd to voting for people who are not their same religion. I was wondering if the majority every thinks about what it is like to not have that choice, especially since their religion is one of those that thinks everyone else is wrong and should be converting.

MrItty's avatar

@anon There is more to being a practicing, believing member of a religion than “which skydaddy they pray to.”

@JLeslie I agree 100%. It’s a factor, not a complete justification.

Seek's avatar

@JLeslie
I don’t believe “accustomed to” is the correct phrase. I would use a phrase more like “sick and fucking tired of having to put up with”

JLeslie's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr So, in a way you are saying you do care what religion a politician is. Sort of kind of.

Snarp's avatar

@JLeslie I was going to stay away from this question for that very reason (being an atheist and not a Christian), but it seems like we atheists and some not particularly observant or dogmatic religious folks are the ones answering. Maybe Limbaugh is on and keeping folks busy.

Seek's avatar

Of course I care.

I want to know exactly which imaginary friend this politician is sending its money and spare time to. I want to know whether this politician is going to continue persecuting homosexuals and women who choose abortions. I want to know if I’m going to have to homeschool my son in a few years so he doesn’t have to listen to Creationist propaganda in his public school system.

JLeslie's avatar

@Snarp I appreciate all comments, but yes it is true, we are still waiting for more Christians to answer.

Seek's avatar

It boils down to this:

If we have a separation of church and state in America, why is “In God We Trust” written on all of our currency? Why are there so many laws still in effect which state that an atheist may not run for public office? Why is there freedom to choose a god, but not the freedom to choose none at all?

JLeslie's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr I see those concerns as issues, not an assumption I would make based on what religion a politican is. I know many religious people who would agree with you on all of those issues, except maybe that they are indeed giving money to their church.

Seek's avatar

All of those issues are directly related to the support of the Abrahamic religions.

anon's avatar

@MrItty Indeed, I agree. I really shouldn’t have been answering this question though, for not only am I a non-Christian, I’m also non-American. I don’t think politics ever get mingled with religion in Britain (or hasn’t done for as long as I can remember, which isn’t long by-the-way).

I still hold their policies at greater importance than their religion. I think @ubersiren put it best when she related to Obama on gay marriages. The only problem is when religion gets in the way of politics.

JLeslie's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr There are religious people who firmly believe in the seperation of church and state, and don’t want government inerfering with or dictating a specific religion. My Catholic friends are all for legalizing gay marriage, some are pro-choice, they all want to keep prayer and religion out of public school.

Seek's avatar

Perhaps, @JLeslie, but then there are plenty of Christians that would claim your friends are not “true Christians”, because they do not support the beliefs of the church.

It is as simple as this: If a Christian is not voted into office, I do not have to worry about them bringing their bigoted religion against the people of the country. As it stands, the Theocracy of America has been standing for far too many years. Most, if not all of our current issues (health care, war in the Middle East, abortion, etc.) would be considerably simpler to solve if all religion were removed from the picture.

Snarp's avatar

I would really like to see an atheist politician win not because I want someone who shares my lack of belief in office so much as because of what it would say about America and its acceptance of Atheism, and because it would mean that I actually had a chance to win office. As it stands, my lack of religious belief automatically excludes me from being president, and from most other political offices as well. It’s sort of like what electing Barack Obama says to African Americans about acceptance and about their possibilities.

Seek's avatar

Absolutely, @Snarp. How does it feel to know that in 15 states of the Union, you’re not even eligible to be elected as a county commissioner, solely because you do not believe in God?

JLeslie's avatar

@Snarp I agree. GA.

Snarp's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr Well, fortunately those laws have been found in violation of the Constitution and are therefore unenforceable. Of course, that won’t stop people from trying, like in Asheville, NC.

master_mind413's avatar

I wait for that day to come I hope I see it in my life time, I would vote for atheist over a christian any day , I wait for the day that a pagan runs for office also

Seek's avatar

@master_mind413
Though Pagans are just as tutti-frutti as the rest of them, I would be more willing to vote for one, just because the only “doctrine” of the religion is “Harm none”. Can’t really go wrong with that.

master_mind413's avatar

thats the only doctrine we need our religion is about balance the majority of us have just wanted to live our lives in peace but the Christians have made that impossible like most of the world because of there constant need to get into every ones business and push there ideas on every one else , call me vengeful I will harm non but if comes down to voting for a christian or any one else I will choose any one else every time

CMaz's avatar

No… Because:

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Seek's avatar

@ChazMaz

Is that translated as “You’ll take what I give you and like it, for I am the Lord”?

CMaz's avatar

Yep! That is how it works.

There Is A Purpose For Everything.

keithold's avatar

G’day Jleslie,

Thank you for your question.

I am an Australian and not a Christian. Perhaps I shouldn’t answer. :>)

Australia’s current choices are between two churchgoing Christians: Kevin Rudd (Anglican) the current Labor Prime Minister and Tony Abbott a Catholic conservative from the Liberal Party.

Bob Hawke, one of our longest serving Prime Ministers, was an agnostic. However, there has been a link between politics and religion with Catholics being traditionally associated with the Labor Party and Protestants with the Liberal Party (or its predecessors) This lecture by Professor John Warhurst gives more details. link

Traditionally, Australian politicians have been low key about displaying their religion although our current PM gives media conferences outside his church.

Regards

barbiedoll's avatar

Since I have not seen great Christianity practiced by the presidents we have had, except to get press when going to Church, it doesn’t matter to me what their beliefs are. I wish we had a president who was an economics expert and surrounded himself with others expert in that area.

galileogirl's avatar

The final answer is that you refuse to vote for someone who you think will be best at the job, you are a bigot.

randomness's avatar

@UScitizen The invaders?????? You do realize that the Christians are actually the invaders where the US is concerned… If you really don’t want your country to be surrendered to the invaders, try voting for a Native American.

barbiedoll's avatar

I’m very familiar with Native Americans. One has to get on the ballot.

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

Not at all. In fact I think it’s been quite some time since an election had any real Christians.

randomness's avatar

Perhaps, if this happened, Christians would understand how atheists feel every election…

Leanne1986's avatar

Although I live in the UK and wouldn’t call myself a strict Christian I think I am still qualified to answer this. The difference between the American elections and the British elections (from what I have noticed) is that the American politicians seem quicker to inform everyone about their feelings towards God. I believe in a God of some sort myself but I have never felt persuaded to vote for a politician (or not) because of their beliefs because it’s never been rammed down my throat.

I much prefer not knowing whether someone is religious or not because then I can base my votes purely on what they stand for and what they claim they can do for the country I live in. I like to think that I wouldn’t be swayed by someone’s religious persuasion anyway because I am not strict and “to the book” in my own faith.

I get the impression that those of us who are a bit more agnostic or open minded when it comes to what we believe have it a bit easier than the die hard religious and the die hard athiests when it comes to things like this!

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