Why We Won’t Have An Atheist American President In The Next 12 Years
Taken from OpposingViews.Com
These are people who think putting mac and cheese and a roast beef sandwich on the same plate can damn your soul. They’re people who think the Prophet Muhammad flew from Mecca to Jerusalem atop a magnificent steed with the face of a woman, the wings of a pegasus, and the plumage of a peacock. For almost two millennia, they’ve been arguing over who actually possesses the Holy Foreskin of Jesus. Some of them think the Earth is only 6,000 years old, which makes it difficult to explain why archaeologists have found 40,000-year-old statues, and primitive tools that date back almost 3 million years.
And then there are the Scientologists, who believe in the rubbish fabulated by bad science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard. This is a man who, while commanding a ship in the Navy, once mistook a magnetic deposit for a Japanese submarine off the coast of California, and spent the next three days firing depth charges and shells at air bubbles, as Skeptoid notes. Somehow, Hubbard managed to convince thousands of people that all human illness and depression is the result of an evil plot by a villain known as the Intergalactic Evil Lord Xenu.
So when an analysis of the Pew Research Center’s annual Religious Landscape survey suggests it’ll be at least a decade before Americans are ready to elect an atheist president, I’m tempted to ask, “You expect magnanimity from these people?”
Seventy-one percent of Americans insist they’ve had a paranormal experience, according to polling data from Gallup and the Associated Press. Another 65 percent think Ouji boards are genuinely dangerous, and 37 percent believe houses can be haunted.
At the same time, eight states still have laws on the books prohibiting atheists from holding public office. Despite the fact that religious tests for public office are illegal, Fox News noted that, technically, atheists are forbidden from holding office in Arkansas, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.
Yet there’s a glimmer of hope for people who think our leaders should be chosen based on qualifications and skill, not religious affiliation.
A record 58 percent of Americans said they’d consider voting for a qualified atheist candidate, according to a 2015 Gallup poll. As CNN notes, that’s a record high for Americans, up from a mere 18 percent who said they’d vote for an atheist candidate in 1958, the first year polling firms began posing the question to American voters.
Likewise, the Pew poll shows about a third of millenials don’t identify with any particular reason, and are less likely to view religious affiliation as a major factor in supporting a candidate.
Overall, Americans are shifting away from personal religious tests for candidates, albeit slowly. Polls show tolerance for non-religious candidates ticking up by a handful of percentage points every few years. If things continue in that direction, atheism or nontheism won’t be the albatross it’s been for decades in politics. It’s heading that way already, in this year’s presidential campaign — while neither Donald Trump nor Bernie Sanders are atheists, they’re not overtly religious either. Aside from the lagging Republican pack still hoping to court evangelicals, the only serious candidate pandering to the religious is Hillary Clinton.