Skip to comments.Bush's Remarks on Religion Offends Atheists
Posted on 01/14/2005 3:32:57 PM PST by kattracks
(CNSNews.com) - An atheist group is criticizing President Bush for saying he can't see how one can be president without a relationship with the Lord. Bush's comments were "divisive," they say, and an insult to those who don't believe in religious creeds or a deity.
Bush's interview with the Washington Times "demonstrates clearly that he does not respect the diversity of the country, and the fact that nonbelievers and so-called 'seculars' are one of the fastest growing segments of American society," said Ellen Johnson, president of American Atheists.
"He just doesn't get it," said Johnson, "and he seems to ignore the fact that in our Constitution we do not have a religious test for those seeking public office."
When Washington Times' editor-in-chief Wesley Pruden asked him about the role of prayer in next week's inauguration and what he thinks is the proper role of his personal faith in the public arena, Bush said: "First of all, I will have my hand on the Bible. I read the article today, and I don't - it's interesting, I don't think faith is under attack.
"I think there are some who worry about a president who is faith-based, a person who openly admits that I accept the prayers of the people, trying to impose my will on others. I fully understand that the job of the president is and must always be protecting the great right of people to worship or not worship as they see fit," Bush said.
"That's what distinguishes us from the Taliban. The greatest freedom we have - or one of the greatest freedoms - is the right to worship the way you see fit. And on the other hand, I don't see how you can be president - at least from my perspective, how you can be president, without a - without a relationship with the Lord," he added.
Johnson was also offended by Bush's claim that the difference between America and the former Taliban regime in Afghanistan was simply "the right to worship the way you see fit."
"The real distinction between American and governments like the Taliban is that at least on paper, we have a Constitutional commitment to separation of government and religion," she said. "We have freedom of and freedom from religion."
Policies like the president's faith-based initiative or efforts to keep the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance show that Bush is dedicated to using the power of the state to advance religion, argued Dave Silverman, communications director for American Atheists.
"He wants all Americans, including over 30 million non-religious citizens, to subsidize religion-based social programs, and he wants to protect ceremonial religious rituals like the post-1954 Pledge of Allegiance," said Silverman.
Silverman accused Bush of trying to turn the government into a "religion bully."
"President Bush goes far beyond keeping his faith to himself. He's trying to turn our government into a 'religion bully' where the state enforces religious belief and religious correctness. That's un-American," he concluded.
I'm beginning to think that atheists have a knee-jerk-offense-taking syndrome.
"Bush's comments were divisive, they say, and an insult to those who don't believe in religious creeds or a deity."
Tell it to Honest Abe. He said pretty much the same thing as Bush.
The fact that Ms. Johnson and Mr. Silverman are "offended" blowhards offends me. But it's ok to offend people who believe in G-d. What chutzpah!!
Good. I'm glad they're offended. I hope they shed many tears over this.
I just can't state strongly enough how much I feeeeel their pain. sarcasm off
Funny, I never hear these folks complain about all the Democrats who use black churches for political rallies and invoke pseudo-religious rhetoric every election cycle.
I can't imagine someone being president of the United States who is not a Republican. Divisive? Maybe.
As an agnostic...my reaction is COOL!!!!
Am I to presume, then, that Atheists would prefer a President who thinks he is God, then?
Maybe that's why they supported John Kerry...
Athiest's remarks about President Bush offends ME!
"The same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought" -- the president was speaking in Washington -- "are still at issue around the globe: the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God."
John F. Kennedy
"We believe, that all men have a right to equal justice under law and equal opportunity to share in the common good. . . . We believe that all men are created equal because they are created in the image of God. From this faith we will not be moved. . . .
Harry S. Truman
"Our own well-being is dependent on the well-being of other nations far away. We have learned that we must live as men, not as ostriches, nor as dogs in the manger. . . . Almighty God has . . . given our people stout hearts and strong arms with which to strike mightily blows for freedom and truth. He has given to our country a faith which has become the hope of all peoples in an anguished world."
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Final Inaugural Address
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