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Thread: The Electability of an Atheist

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    Senior Member Stalwart's Avatar
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    The Electability of an Atheist

    I read an interesting article that starts with a quip about a declared atheist running for Congress in Arizona and that this is the first time a (non-incumbant) declared atheist has run for Congress (some have admitted being atheist once a Member.)

    CNN: http://www.cnn.com/2014/08/31/opinio...html?hpt=hp_t3

    One section I found odd: "When the views of anywhere from 5% to 20% of the American people are not part of the debate in our legislatures, the laws that are passed may not fully reflect the will of the people or, at a minimum, take into account the opinion of a sizable minority. African-Americans are about 13% of the U.S. population and have a representation of about 10% of the members of the U.S. House. Imagine how people would react today if there were no African-Americans in Congress."

    I don't necessarily know if I would agree that the laws being passed (as a consequence of no atheists in Congress) do not reflect the "will of the people" or even the mentioned sizable minority (but again, how often do we regard the intent of the minority in many, MANY issues?), the avenue I would use to approach it would be to say that the reasoning or logic process behind a person of faith having opinion [x] on a topic may not take into account the logic process of a person with no religious belief.
    The most important six inches on the battlefield is between your ears.

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    Senior Member Absinthe Anecdote's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stalwart View Post
    ... the avenue I would use to approach it would be to say that the reasoning or logic process behind a person of faith having opinion [x] on a topic may not take into account the logic process of a person with no religious belief.
    Indeed, the statement about Americans not requiring our elected officials to be scientifically literate was compelling, but I think the author of this OP-ED piece closed the article with a very thought provoking paragraph.


    As one prejudice after another has fallen by the wayside and we have elected women, African-Americans, gays and lesbians, and Jewish people to represent us, we have seen that the world has not come to an end. Life continues, and our debate is enriched by the diversity of opinions. It is time to end the prejudice that keeps qualified people without faith from considering a run for public office and keeps atheist officials from being honest about their beliefs.

    I grew up in a Southern state and I can remember how Baptist preachers would routinely characterize atheists as evil, amoral, and even Satanic.

    That level of ignorant hostility towards atheists needs to be confronted in popular culture head on.

    I'm glad to see an atheist candidate run for office, we need more atheists to run openly, even if the lose, they'll do a lot to knock down that barrier.
    All behold that fancy strutting peacock, the bake sale diva...

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    Senior Member Stalwart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Absinthe Anecdote View Post
    Indeed, the statement about Americans not requiring our elected officials to be scientifically literate was compelling, but I think the author of this OP-ED piece closed the article with a very thought provoking paragraph.
    I do think it would be near impossible to please everyone on the level of qualification to be a Member of Congress. Should someone BE a doctor to be voting on healthcare, or should someone BE a veteran to be voting on a defense issue? IMO no, they are not elected because they ARE an expert in everything or anything, but they are elected to represent and vote based on the values, intent, or will of those they represent (usually the majority of those they represent.) I will say that one lesson I learned on Capitol Hill is that policy is very high level. In many ways it mirrors the military logic of the Commander working the 'Man, Train, Equip' considerations and not really being the technician that is a expert on a very focused area, Congress provides policy in the form of legislation and approves a budget (the President's Budget Request is just that ... a REQUEST) and approves appropriations of funds. The Congress is responsible for periodic oversight to ensure the funds are appropriately supporting the policy.


    Quote Originally Posted by Absinthe Anecdote View Post
    ... we need more atheists to run openly, even if the lose, they'll do a lot to knock down that barrier.
    I am glad to see any challenging of the status quo. I am not necessarily arguing for changing everything, but to not be challenged is to stagnate.
    The most important six inches on the battlefield is between your ears.

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    Senior Member Absinthe Anecdote's Avatar
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    @Stalwart

    Sure, I don't expect members of the Senate and House to be experts on every matter that comes before them, but I do expect that when they are assigned to a committee or sub-committee that they do gain a certain amount of knowledge to make informed decisions on my behalf.

    The example he gave of a member of the House Science committee is very disturbing. I should add that there are many believers that find such statements absurd.

    In 2012, Rep. Paul Broun, R-Georgia, while serving on the House science committee, famously said that evolution and the Big Bang are "lies from the pit of hell."
    All behold that fancy strutting peacock, the bake sale diva...

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    Senior Member Stalwart's Avatar
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    Yes, some do surprise us all. If you can watch this video (2 1/2 minutes) it will scare you. The best part starts at 1:20:

    The most important six inches on the battlefield is between your ears.

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    Senior Member Absinthe Anecdote's Avatar
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    Yes, I remember when that testimony was given, and I wondered if he was being humorous, or if he was sincerely concerned if the island of Guam would tip over if we redeployed Marines from Okinawa to Guam.

    Even if he wasn't expressing a literal concern, Congressman Johnson is painfully inarticulate, and it makes me wonder how he was elected with such poor speaking skills.

    I can't imagine that someone with such a poor ability to express their thoughts in spoken form can accomplish much on the Hill.
    All behold that fancy strutting peacock, the bake sale diva...

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    Senior Member BENDER56's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Absinthe Anecdote View Post
    Even if he wasn't expressing a literal concern, Congressman Johnson is painfully inarticulate, and it makes me wonder how he was elected with such poor speaking skills.
    This relates to the comment I posted in some other thread recently. The reason this inarticulate, ignorant person got elected to Congress is simply because he's one of the people who aspire to be in charge and control things, so he ran for various public offices against the rest of his ilk until he wound up where he is. Many other elected officials who have self-identified as being just as ignorant as him support my hypothesis that one need not be talented or even capable to attain public office, one merely needs to be deeply driven to do so. Normal people like you and me apparently don't want to.

    Quote Originally Posted by Absinthe Anecdote View Post
    I can't imagine that someone with such a poor ability to express their thoughts in spoken form can accomplish much on the Hill.
    Well, duh. How much has the entire Congress accomplished lately? They're all like him.

    Oh, and I'm glad to finally see an atheist running openly for office. Atheists are one of the few remaining classes of people who can be openly spoken about with derision and contempt.
    Last edited by BENDER56; 09-01-2014 at 08:14 PM.
    "Every society honors its live conformists and its dead troublemakers."
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    Senior Member Absinthe Anecdote's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BENDER56 View Post
    This relates to the comment I posted in some other thread recently. The reason this inarticulate, ignorant person got elected to Congress is simply because he's one of the people who aspire to be in charge and control things, so he ran for various public offices against the rest of his ilk until he wound up where he is. Many other elected officials who have self-identified as being just as ignorant as him support my hypothesis that one need not be talented or even capable to attain public office, one merely needs to be deeply driven to do so. Normal people like you and me apparently don't want to.
    I'll agree with you to a certain extent, but I think the bigger factor behind people like Congressman Johnson being elected to office is political connections. Sure, they have to have the desire to get into the mix, but once they get on the ticket and get access to their party's war chest of campaign funds, that is what keeps their political careers moving. I am very confident that this guy votes exactly the way his party's whip tells him to.

    Again, an informed voter is this guy's worst nightmare. How often does the average voter hear a candidate speak outside of a scripted and edited campaign commercial?


    Well, duh. How much has the entire Congress accomplished lately? They're all like him.
    I understand your frustration, but no, they are not all like this guy.
    Oh, and I'm glad to finally see an atheist running openly for office. Atheists are one of the few remaining classes of people who can be openly spoken about with derision and contempt.
    I know, but I think it is getting a little better.
    All behold that fancy strutting peacock, the bake sale diva...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Absinthe Anecdote View Post
    Indeed, the statement about Americans not requiring our elected officials to be scientifically literate was compelling, but I think the author of this OP-ED piece closed the article with a very thought provoking paragraph.


    As one prejudice after another has fallen by the wayside and we have elected women, African-Americans, gays and lesbians, and Jewish people to represent us, we have seen that the world has not come to an end. Life continues, and our debate is enriched by the diversity of opinions. It is time to end the prejudice that keeps qualified people without faith from considering a run for public office and keeps atheist officials from being honest about their beliefs.

    I grew up in a Southern state and I can remember how Baptist preachers would routinely characterize atheists as evil, amoral, and even Satanic.

    That level of ignorant hostility towards atheists needs to be confronted in popular culture head on.

    I'm glad to see an atheist candidate run for office, we need more atheists to run openly, even if the lose, they'll do a lot to knock down that barrier.
    Heck i would be happy with someone who is single (not engaged) run for office. It seems everyone i know of in congress or who's gone to the white house were married (or got married soon after).

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    Banned sandsjames's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BENDER56 View Post
    Atheists are one of the few remaining classes of people who can be openly spoken about with derision and contempt.
    Them and Christians.

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