Debate:Religious beliefs and public office

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Feel free to add your own spin on the story. Please keep it civil!
Information icon.svg This debate was created by AKjeldsen.

Context[edit]

Please note that in this discussion, people appear to be using the shorter term "creationist" to mean the specific kind of cretinist that believes in a young earth - a "young earth creationist", or YEC. The more general term "creationist" can include people who simply believe that god "created" the universe by lighting the fuse on the big bang. about 15 billion years ago.

This discussion started at Talk:Mike_Huckabee after Mittens Romney dropped out of the race for the GOP presidential nomination.

Mike Huckabee is, among other things, a young earth creationist. humanUser talk:Human 21:03, 7 February 2008 (EST)

What sort of intellecual dishonesty is this?! These people never said they were using a short term for YEC. They said, and meant, anyone who believes in any sort of creation by any sort of being. Oscar 21:13, 7 February 2008 (EST)

Well, no, not quite Oscar/Bohdizzle. Mea culpa, if you wish. I certainly had bandied about the term Creationist with gay abandon, slinging it wildly about the room as a stand in for YEC. To be clear, I think YEC's are nutjobs. I think Creationists who claim that God was responsible for the Big Bang 15 billion years ago are also nutjobs, but nicer ones, ones that I can drink wine around the fire with and wonder at the awe of our Universe, etc. I'm intrigued by that difference in beliefs, and that's a very interesting conversation. But the 6000 years old Earth and Flood Geology peeps?! BARKING NUTJOBS! DogP 23:13, 7 February 2008 (EST)

Gloves are off![edit]

Ok, now that Mittens is out, my political hat-wearing self is thrilled. Thrilled! With Huckabee on the campaign trail as a possible Vice President, America stands to move from having Librul Global Warming Hate-Monger Gore as VP, to a nice, proper Creationist VP. Hand on my heart, I can't believe the vast majority of Americans won't laugh him off the face of the Earth, and so I'm confident the Republicans just rightly fucked themselves.

However, the scared-at-the-endless-political-possibilites-me is astonished that no-one has PROPERLY taken on the Bumble Bee sceptic about his beliefs. Who is going to take him on in debate and ask "How can the only nation on Earth that has put a man on the Moon through the use of centuries of science elect a President who simply doesn't believe anything his scientific establishment would tell him?" Are Obama or Hillary not going to throw down on this issue, or does everyone in US politics run scared from the God debate? DogP 17:12, 7 February 2008 (EST)

Wouldn't it make more sense to pull in Romney as a VP candidate? He got more support than Huckabee, he's less likely to scare away the independents, and whatever Huckabee's supporters say now, they're probably going to vote for McCain anyway when it matters. --AKjeldsenGodspeed! 17:35, 7 February 2008 (EST)
Problem with this is that McCain's biggest problem is not being seen as conservative enough, he has to have a bona fide approved and vetted GOP conservative as his VP to solidify the Limbaughs of the world behind him. 130.113.218.226 17:55, 7 February 2008 (EST)

In a normal world, you'd kind of think so, yes. To an outsider, wouldn't it be easier for Evangelicals and YEC's to put their disputes to bed and side with the young go-getter guy who's got good morals, is a good family type, and is always banging on about Jesus? BUT NO!! They hate Mormons more than they hate librul Republicans it seems! What a great bunch of comedians they are! DogP 17:43, 7 February 2008 (EST)

Are you saying that being a creationist is something that should exclude one from holding public office? Oscar 17:45, 7 February 2008 (EST)
Yes! SusanMiouw 17:52, 7 February 2008 (EST)

Uh. Yes. Very very VERY definitely yes. It is an impossibly untenable position, like being an Atheist Pope. Obviously. DogP 17:55, 7 February 2008 (EST)

Thats pretty alarming. Oscar 18:00, 7 February 2008 (EST)
I don't think it could legally exclude them from holding office but it should defacto exclude them (as in people should never vote for one). tmtoulouse vex 18:07, 7 February 2008 (EST)
No, no thats not what they are saying above. I asked if it should exclude (not defacto exclude) them from holding public office. They answered "yes". This is probably the most disgusting thing I have heard on this filthy extremist fringe website. Oscar 18:11, 7 February 2008 (EST)
Not in the slightest. It is the most honest position to take. On almost any grounds, being a Creationist President would be a tautological position. For example, as Commander-in-Chief, he sits atop all military funding. The military rely utterly upon scientific research to kill more people, more efficiently. Unless Huckabee suggests stoning as a new military technology, his signature on any research funding would be to deny his very own beliefs. Therefore he would be a hypocrite. And we wouldn't want a hypocrite running the country, now would we? DogP 18:12, 7 February 2008 (EST)
But we can't legally make an exclusion just use it as a litmus test for voting. And Oscar rollback on the pathos, your ilk has been trying to make being an atheist illegal for many generations (let alone allowing them to hold office). tmtoulouse vex 18:23, 7 February 2008 (EST)
Complete straw man. Oscar 18:25, 7 February 2008 (EST)
Not a strawman at all, the christian right has been using "faith" as a litmus test for being a bona fide human for a long time. tmtoulouse vex 18:27, 7 February 2008 (EST)
More strawman. But here, you give me an example of my "ilk" trying to make being an atheist illegal, or excluding one from holding office. Oscar 18:31, 7 February 2008 (EST)
Certainly, you're correct - I can't think of an attempt to make Atheism illegal. But the de facto status is certainly that no candidate for US President can be anything other than a Christian. It's not a law, but it is an unstated rule. Other countries have no such hangups. DogP 18:37, 7 February 2008 (EST)

Call me an autocrat if you like but I'd personally prefer to live in a country that did make it illegal. Enough with this Fair's Fair equivocating! DogP 18:29, 7 February 2008 (EST)

Being black or turkish or male is not a choice. Believing some sky fairie built the world in 6 days a few thousand years ago is a choice---and a bizarre one. It certainly is fair to take it into account. Should it be codified? No, certainly not. But I would like to think that it would be impossible to hold those beliefs and get elected to anything higher than deacon. Oh, to dream.--PalMD-Did that sound a little harsh? 18:40, 7 February 2008 (EST)
Heck, the country got its panties in a bunch over electing one Catholic president! So far, the de facto rule has been, with one slight exception, white male protestants only. Although at least that's gonna change soon! humanUser talk:Human 18:42, 7 February 2008 (EST)
Why? Is McCain black??--PalMD-Did that sound a little harsh? 18:43, 7 February 2008 (EST)
I heard that not only is he black, but he is a Muslim!!! And might not even be a "real" man, if you know what I mean. At least, that's what the pollster said... humanUser talk:Human 18:48, 7 February 2008 (EST)

Doc, TMT and especially DogP - these are some very dangerous opinions that strike deep at the core of democracy. I must say that I'm mnore than a little surprised to see them being voiced here, and I urge you to consider carefully what exactly it is you are advocating and its implications. --AKjeldsenGodspeed! 18:52, 7 February 2008 (EST)

I'm glad someone sees the danger in this sort of thing. Oscar 19:30, 7 February 2008 (EST)
The core of democracy is exactly what I am advocating, I would never vote for a creationist and would actively oppose one seeking just about any elected position. This is no different than saying something like I would never vote for a candidate that did not respect a women's right to choose. tmtoulouse vex 18:56, 7 February 2008 (EST)
Sure. You have the right to not vote for him. You also have the right to be an extremist. That isn't the issue. People here are saying that he shouldn't be able to run. Oscar 19:28, 7 February 2008 (EST)
Mostly what I'm advocating is that someone who isn't qualified for a job shouldn't be elected or appointed to it. A NIH director or presidential science advisor probably shouldn't be a young earth creationist. Not that ideology is ever separate from science, but there are certain lines. Like I said, I certainly don't think it should be codified, just that people should use their voting power seriously. If you think an atheist is morally inappropriate as a candidate for church deacon, or for "faith-based initiatives" director, well, then vote/appoint that way. I think it's wrong, but it's a democracy. I don't think it's wrong to publicly call someone out on their beliefs (vs. their unchangeables) if those beliefs conflict with the basic premise of a position. I also agree that it's dangerous---it's dangerous either way. Democracy is dangerous.--PalMD-Did that sound a little harsh? 18:57, 7 February 2008 (EST)

AK, don't be distracted by me having some lulz. While I jokingly feel that I'd like to see Creationists banned from public office, I of course KNOW that's neither right, nor is it going to happen. But I was NOT joking when I compared it to the Athiest Pope. I firmly believe that a Creationist US President could not in good faith stand over the decisions he (or she) would have to make. Therefore they should exclude themselves from office, in honour of their own Faith. Otherwise, they're hypocrites. DogP 18:58, 7 February 2008 (EST)

Anyone who takes the writings of (pre) iron age priest classes as gospel (sic) doesn't deserve to be allowed to do any more responsible task than: "D'you want fries with that?".
Slow me, I just got the pun: Mittens out - Gloves off. heh! SusanMiouw 19:13, 7 February 2008 (EST)
SusanG, from your statements, there is a 99.55% chance that you oppose school prayer. Also, all you do is talk, talk, talk. All of that thinking you do is a sign of a deceitful liberal mind. You probably think all Christians should be castrated (and whatever gets done to ladyparts.) Godspeed. ASchlafly.

Let me put it to you this way Oscar. How would you propose that Huckabee, were he President, allocate funding to the US Geological Survey? Can you imagine the conversations?

"Now, this chunk of $Xm - what's that for?".
"Well Sir, it's our research into the West Coasts subduction zones. People who live in Washington State live on top of heaving magma vents that have been there for millions of years. We want to find out what the processes are so that hopefully we could anticipate another Mount St.Helens".
"But this is preposterous - that magma can't be any older than 6000 years?"
"No Sir, that's not our understanding. Nor the understanding of anyone else in our field"
"I know a guy".
"We don't believe your guy".
"I think you should research something else, funding withdrawn!"

No? Not even a tiny bit of truth? DogP 19:26, 7 February 2008 (EST)

Absolutely true! If you need any more proof, just look at what Bush has done to the White House's positions on science, the NSA, funding to projects, and other fields too numerous to name. Or read the introduction to my forthcoming paper. But you can't. Because it's forthcoming. Anyways, Oscardahn, the point is that, when a candidate says he's a creationist, he tells me everything I need to know about his capacity for reason and higher cognitive faculties. The point is that, if you don't have enough intelligence and respect for logic and empiricism to dig yourself out of creationism, you don't have enough intelligence or logical ability to be a public officer. Fact.-αmεσ (ninja) 00:41, 8 February 2008 (EST)
First you lecture me about logic, then you tell me that your opinion is a fact. That deserves an irony mark. ؟ Oscar 00:59, 8 February 2008 (EST)
Also, please remember to refer to your interlocutor as "O'Boshcardan", out of full respect for his conservativemonikerhistory. I prefer my pubic officials to be fully versed in Bible stories, that they might better make IDiots out of themselves. humanUser talk:Human 01:27, 8 February 2008 (EST)

Voting for mutants[edit]

Ah, I got in late. :(.
What I will say, though, is that this is a very legitimate place to apply the slippery slope argument. Also, checks and balances. --מְתֻרְגְּמָן שְׁלֹום
Your little smiley face is all deformed. It has four eyes. Oscar 20:19, 7 February 2008 (EST)
He's sad, because he has nasty genetic recessive traits. --מְתֻרְגְּמָן שְׁלֹום
One of his eyes is below his mouth. Oscar 20:22, 7 February 2008 (EST)
I wouldn't vote for someone with an eye under his mouth. Just sayin'...--PalMD-Did that sound a little harsh? 20:23, 7 February 2008 (EST)
I think we would value your opinion as a medical man. What would you to with a guy with an eye below his mouth? Oscar 20:24, 7 February 2008 (EST)
Can't be trusted. Also, always getting spaghetti sauce in funny eye.--PalMD-Did that sound a little harsh? 20:25, 7 February 2008 (EST)
SO, you discriminate against the disabled too now? This site is borderline fascist. --מְתֻרְגְּמָן שְׁלֹום
I think it's mostly just borderline catamite humanUser talk:Human 21:17, 7 February 2008 (EST)

In all seriousness[edit]

Sure, it's not a new issue, but it's still important, and often reframed based on circumstances. How can and should public officials be judged in a democracy (and how much will it apply to everyone else)?

This is a secular democracy by design, but one that puts no limits on religiosity. But is it fair to judge people's fitness to serve based on their beliefs? JFK explicitly said that his Catholic beliefs would stay personal, and not become part of policy. Huckabee and Romney both explicitly stated that their faiths would guide their policy. That opens the doors pretty wide, and, truthfully, may be designed to. It intentionally invites people to take sides in the made-up culture wars.--PalMD-Did that sound a little harsh? 22:24, 7 February 2008 (EST)

Public officials can be judged only by the law and the will of the electorate. Any other stardards, such as education, intelligence, religious belief, or whatever, would have to be imposed arbitrarily and would seriously undermine the legitimacy of the system. --AKjeldsenGodspeed! 04:16, 8 February 2008 (EST)
I don't think anyone has seriously said that this religious test ought to be institutionalized. It's a voter's principle, not a legal principle, and if it ever became a legal principle, it'd be more unconstitutional than the entire Bush agenda, and that's really saying something. So no, I don't think creationists should be put in office, but the only thing to stop them is voting. Of course, voters would be wise to follow that same principle, but the law can't make them.-αmεσ (ninja) 09:20, 8 February 2008 (EST)

I want to again make the point that I can't see how a YEC can in all good faith run for an office that would require them to make decisions that run utterly counter to their beliefs. In fact, they would directly negate his belief system. Since the job would clearly require them to make these decisions on a daily basis (otherwise Government would grind to a halt and their position would become untenable for other reasons), their position would become politically untenable within the constituency that elected them. If you believe God created us and we are the 'special ones', how can you sign funding for missions to Mars? DogP 12:19, 8 February 2008 (EST)

I don't necessarily see a contradiction in that particular scenario, but in any case, that's not really anyone's business but their own, nor is it anything that makes them ineligible for an elected office as such. --AKjeldsenGodspeed! 12:31, 8 February 2008 (EST)

On the contrary, I would think that it is indeed the business of the nation that their Chief Executive does not believe in the fundamental principles that made the USA such a powerful nation? DogP 14:08, 8 February 2008 (EST)

So now the principle of evolution made the US a powerful nation? Oscar 14:19, 8 February 2008 (EST)

It is their business to the extent that they should avoid voting for him if they have a problem with it, but no further than that. --AKjeldsenGodspeed! 13:53, 8 February 2008 (EST)

In some ways I'm inclined to be sympathetic to your argument AK - I know where you're coming from and you're not completely wrong. However, imagine the future historian of the United States who, looking back over the legacy left by this series of YEC Presidents, wonders if at a certain point the nation had a chance to recover, but chose suicide? Don't you think at a certain point it becomes irresponsible to the nation? DogP 14:08, 8 February 2008 (EST)
I'm confused, because I think you guys agree, don't you? You both think a YEC president would be bad, and you both agree that it's the voters who disqualify the candidate, not a legal religious test. Do I have that right?-αmεσ (ninja) 14:12, 8 February 2008 (EST)
Ames, from reading this, we can reasonably conclude that all three of you are dangerous threats to individual freedoms and liberties. And this from a card holding member of the ACLU! Shame! Oscar 14:19, 8 February 2008 (EST)
Like hell. I'm not going to contest any person's right to vote for the candidate of their choice, and I think it's a fact that a young earth creationist isn't qualified for public office (after Huckabee's little "God's law over man's!" schpeel he probably couldn't even take the oath of office), so I'll use my vote that way, and that's my prerogative. That's individual freedom. Choice by an individual, exercising an individual right, is not oppression.-αmεσ (ninja) 14:23, 8 February 2008 (EST)
Absolutely we agree. I amused myself by talking about an outright ban on a YEC President, but since I started this debate that may have been a little disingenuous. I certainly don't believe that - yes indeed, I believe in one man, one vote, all candidates welcome, the voters decide. But yes, I certainly think a YEC President would be a DISASTER. Can you imagine how the US would look internationally, among other things? DogP 14:31, 8 February 2008 (EST)
We could make ourselves look worse than we did by "electing" Bush twice? humanUser talk:Human 15:19, 8 February 2008 (EST)
You both have a right to hold whatever fringe belief you want. Oscar 15:03, 8 February 2008 (EST)
I think you'll find YEC is the fringe belief, Tosca O'Bohdanovich. DogP 15:06, 8 February 2008 (EST)
I am going to changed my name to DoggedamesG. Oscar 15:07, 8 February 2008 (EST)
You should change it to "Ignorant Asshole", it's more accurate. -- ni ebnamuħ   15:10, 8 February 2008 (EST)
hey, here's an idea. Why don't you try ad hom? It'll save you from having to think. Oscar 15:12, 8 February 2008 (EST)
Done, and done, unthinking reactionary--PalMD-Did that sound a little harsh? 15:30, 8 February 2008 (EST)

The problem with having a YEC president is that, aside from bringing the rest of the Ignoranti out of hiding (and probably appointing a lot of them to high position) is that YEC doesn't JUST require the victim to ignore paleontology, it also requires a high degree of deliberate ignorance of biology, physics, history, and the basic notions of the scientific method and critical thinking, which one would HOPE the President has at least a nodding acquaintance with. And they're likely to want their bullshit taught in schools. As if American science enducation wasn't dismal enough already. Also, YECs are sometimes doomsday freaks as well. Having one with the nuclear launch codes makes me REALLY nervous. --Gulik 16:20, 8 February 2008 (EST)

I seem to remember having a debate with PJR over on CP on this point. You're correct - in order to believe that the Bible is literally true (which, when you get right down to it, is the basic tenet of the YEC belief), you have to ignore the very basics of scientific practice that you generally get taught upon your first real introduction to science in school - that being, in order to construct a scientific hypothesis, you study the available evidence first, then come up with a hypothesis based on that evidence, then, if possible, conduct experiments to test that hypothesis and, if your hypothesis is proved wrong by those experiments or new evidence, come up with a new hypothesis that takes into account the experiment results and any new evidence. In YEC, you start from a preconceived belief, which must not be discounted no matter what, based on a book that recounts information derived from a discussion that may or may not have taken place, but, if it did, took place at least 4,000 years ago with a being who may or may not exist. Plus, of course, there is the possibility that, even if there is a God, and he did have that discussion 4,000 years ago, the human He was talking to may have been unable to accurately grasp the concepts God was trying to impart, so he wrote them down as best he could, but that's still wildly inaccurate. And, of course, there's the pontential for the Bible to have been corrupted between then and now, considering the number of times it's been translated, re-translated, reinterpreted, etc, etc, etc.
However, on this particular issue, feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, but wouldn't the Constitutionally-protected principle of 'separation of Church and State' somewhat limit the damage a YEC President could do? Zmidponk 16:09, 9 February 2008 (EST)
You would think so, yes. But these YEC's typically deny that separation exists in the US Constitution. humanUser talk:Human 16:19, 9 February 2008 (EST)
Well, in that case, would anyone really vote in a President that is so illiterate he can't even read the Constitution? ...Hang on, strike that, I'm forgetting who's the CURRENT President. ;) Zmidponk 16:35, 9 February 2008 (EST)

Thought Experiment - What would the US not have today had every US President been a YEC?[edit]

Had YEC believers been the only US Presidents to ever sit in office, what would we not have today? Please continue to add to the speculative list. DogP 13:35, 8 February 2008 (EST)

  1. Nuclear weapons
  2. Nuclear power
  3. Space exploration
    - DogP 14:08, 8 February 2008 (EST)
  4. Vaccines
  5. Modern science education in public schools
  6. Oil prospecting
  7. Various advancements in geology
  8. Numerous museums
  9. Most horrifyingly of all, the Smithsonian Institution.
    --Star of David.png Radioactive Misanthrope 13:46, 8 February 2008 (EST)
  10. Astronomy
  11. Genetic engineering
  12. The First Amendment probably would have gotten de-mended somewhere along the way, as well. Freedom of Religion is only for the REAL religion, after all....
    --Gulik 16:22, 8 February 2008 (EST)
  13. The internet
  14. polymer and material science -> plastics (given most of the stuff came from oil...)
  15. Silicon-based computers
  16. first and fourteenth amendments would probably be repealed
  17. emancipation of slaves (this is a bit far stretched, but if everyone follows the Bible to the word, the civil war would probably not be needed because everyone still owns slaves through one particular interpretation of the Bible)
  18. desegregation (Ditto)
  19. repealing fourth amendment (If God is omniscient, what is stopping Him to know what you did or didn't do?)
  20. Jury trials (ditto)
  21. repealing No Religious Test Clause
    --ThiehAhh! my eyes!! 00:49, 16 June 2014 (UTC)

Debate about the above damn Thought Experiment[edit]

This is a rather idiotic and totally illogical thought experiment. Oscar 14:20, 8 February 2008 (EST)
Oh? And since when were thought experiments supposed to be relevant and possible? There's a reason they're called "thought experiments", Oscar. --Star of David.png Radioactive Misanthrope 14:27, 8 February 2008 (EST)
Yes, Oscar, come on - most thought experiments begin with "Imagine you're in a big glass box, floating in space, with a sheep goat" or something. Gimme a break. DogP 14:33, 8 February 2008 (EST)
So you just engage in irrelevant, idiotic and hate-filled behavior for fun. Thanks, that is very reassuring. Oscar 15:03, 8 February 2008 (EST)
We aren't. You saying we are, over and over again, does not change that. I can see how well you fit in on Conservapedia. --Star of David.png Radioactive Misanthrope 15:07, 8 February 2008 (EST)
Well then, what are you doing? Oscar 15:08, 8 February 2008 (EST)
We are trying to have a debate. --Star of David.png Radioactive Misanthrope 15:15, 8 February 2008 (EST)
Really? Now you are debating? I thought you were having a "thought experiment"? Oscar 15:17, 8 February 2008 (EST)
Which this thought experiment is but a part of. That is why it is on this page. --Star of David.png Radioactive Misanthrope 15:22, 8 February 2008 (EST)
But you said earlier that it's totally irrelevant. The bigger question is, why would a rational person engage in this sort of behavior? Oscar 15:24, 8 February 2008 (EST)
Oh? Are we not supposed to engage in "irrelevant" yet intellectual conversations? I should ban you then, because you have done nothing on this site but be irrelevant. --Star of David.png Radioactive Misanthrope 15:47, 8 February 2008 (EST)
No, this is abuse. The thought experiment is next door over. --Gulik 16:16, 8 February 2008 (EST)

I think there is another level of complexity here. Politicians are beings that can often hold and act on contradictory beliefs---and gov't is a large thing. While I have no doubt a YEC president would be damaging for so many reasons, I doubt it would hold up invention and research too much---eventually it'll get done, it just gets harder. Right Andrei Andre'vich?162.82.215.199 15:10, 8 February 2008 (EST)

To take a more extreme counter example still, what would have happened if the most powerful people of the time had the power to bar any group of people from office on the grounds of disagreeing with their beliefs? --מְתֻרְגְּמָן שְׁלֹום
You mean like all the atheist and Jewish presidents the US hasn't had? --Gulik 16:16, 8 February 2008 (EST)

Kiss me , you lousy , lousy , unthinking reactionary!--PalMD-Did that sound a little harsh? 16:35, 8 February 2008 (EST)

Why stop at creationism? - Rant[edit]

Just to really enrage people. I'd like any belief in any deity to be disqualification from office. (Sorry AKJ) but I just think any such totally illogical belief demonstrates that the holder has been brainwashed and doesn't hold the good of humanity as his/her highest priority.

If the words of a supernatural being, or its earthly reresentatives come before humanitarian morals then there's something wrong. Much of the hatred in the world can be directly ascribed to interpretation of Holy Writ in one way or another, American Christian fundamentalism is no different from Islamic or Hindu fundamentalism or any other such creed (I would be inclined to include communism as a belief in the existence of a deity embodied in the State btw). The reliance on dogma handed down by a religious hierarchy is contrary to all reason as is the promulgation of these ideas and the indoctrination of the young.
Sorry - Incoherent Rant. SusanMiouw 02:57, 9 February 2008 (EST)

Yup. humanUser talk:Human 02:58, 9 February 2008 (EST)
Hear, hear! --Star of David.png Radioactive Misanthrope 03:38, 9 February 2008 (EST)
Hey, I've got a great idea! Why don't we simply disqualify conservatives from office as well? Wouldn't that make things much easier? Obviously they don't have the good of humanity as a priority either. That would make things so much easier, because then we wouldn't have to bother with difficult stuff like, say, actually arguing for our positions or trying to convince people. Oh, and don't forget people who like penguins! I've never trusted those people. Damn penguins. --AKjeldsenGodspeed! 05:47, 9 February 2008 (EST)
As far as I'm aware being a conservative doesn't mandate the belief in some non-corporeal (scratching for words to use in place of supernatural) being who has the ultimate say-so in matters of human relations. The fact that they differ in their approach to their world view is immaterial and I'll defend their rights to their (misguided) opinions almost to the point of personal discomfort.
Now penguins that's a whole other kettle of fish! SusanMiouw 05:59, 9 February 2008 (EST)
Fascists. I like penguins. --Star of David.png Radioactive Misanthrope 06:02, 9 February 2008 (EST) (I like penguins too, but they do taste rather fishy. SusanMiouw 06:15, 9 February 2008 (EST))
After the last eight years, that idea has a certain merit, I'll admit. (I personally plan to vote a straight Democratic ticket on every position higher than City Councilman for the next decade or three.) But that would be a bad idea in general--all we need to keep these creeps out of office is a media that DOES THEIR DAMN JOB, and CALLS POLITICIANS ON THEIR BULLSHIT once in a while. (ALL politicians. It's just that the Conservative Bullshit is now up to our ankles, and we were thrown into it headfirst, so it's somewhat more noticeable.) --Gulik 06:06, 9 February 2008 (EST)
Sarcasm aside: Susan, let's imagine that you do manage to have all non-atheists banned from holding public office. That means that we theists have effectively, if not formally, been disenfranchised. In a democracy, running for public office is, after all, still the most important way to influence the political process. But given that we are now banned from participation in this process that shapes our society, why should we even bother to participate in civil society at all? Why should we pay taxes? Why should we obey laws which we have had no influence on? Why should we not decide to grab a rifle and take to the hills in a glorious guerilla struggle against this new atheist dictatorship that refuses us representation? Basically, this would completely destroy the legitimacy of the political system, and that is a slightly problematic thing.Understatement --AKjeldsenGodspeed! 06:17, 9 February 2008 (EST)
Mmm ... thinking ... SusanMiouw 06:26, 9 February 2008 (EST) thought ... Unfortunately Akj, you're right. SusanMiouw 06:31, 9 February 2008 (EST)
I love this place. The tubes are wonderful. We need journalists and politicians having this same conversation publicly. The grey areas are great. I'm Jewish. Should I have my beleiefs scrutinized before holding public office? What are my beliefs? "Standard Jew"? Well, it's more cultural for me...what if I decided that all stores should offer a Gefilte Fish section, or a No Pork Zone? The problem comes when people explicitly state that their religious beliefs will conflict with the small-c constitution of the democracy. If Huckabee were to say, "Jesus guides my personal life, but the Constitution guides the State" that would be a different kettle of lutefisk.--PalMD-Did that sound a little harsh? 12:11, 9 February 2008 (EST)
Personally, I'd be all for mandatory gefilte fish sections. --AKjeldsenGodspeed! 13:51, 9 February 2008 (EST)

I find it doubtful that an elected official in a representative democracy (at least the American one) can successfully lead without compromising at least some of his or her personal beliefs. Even though Huckabee is YEC, I find it hard to believe that, if elected, he would or could suspend all scientific funding for projects that don't acknowledge a 6000 year old universe. I also doubt an atheist president would or could successfully shut down all churches/temples/synagogues. What matters isn't necessarily that Huck is YEC; ultimately, what matters is what policies he'd try to push through. Most of which I disagree with.--Bayesupdate 20:43, 9 February 2008 (EST)

He'd never get it past Congress, or The People, but he does want to basically enshrine the Ten Commandments as the basis of all law in the country. Which is why RW picked him as our "ideal" GOP candidate (and why Colbert tirelessly promotes him, I suspect). He's a nut job who could never, ever, win.
How close did William Jennings Bryan get to the Presidency? Remember, the majority of people in the US self-identify as Christians, even if they're not personally in favor of burning witches. --Gulik 14:08, 10 February 2008 (EST)

Personal beliefs v. fitness for office[edit]

I think people are being slightly disingenuous above, given that we have clear precedents for disqualifying individuals from public office on the grounds of their personal beliefs. As far as I can see, being a Young Earth Creationist is no less backward or wrong-headed than being a paid-up Klansman, neo-Nazi or Wahhabist. I'd happily strike any of those fucks off the ticket on the grounds that they couldn't possibly subscribe to basic concepts of universal human rights with anything approaching maximal sincerity, and so would any electoral commission worth its salt. Given that precedent, it then becomes an entirely legitimate question of whether one can sincerely subordinate one's religious faith to the secular rule of law. If not, then fuck off.

If anyone replies to this with strings of rhetorical questions in a row, I'll be deeply disappointed. --Robledo 14:43, 9 February 2008 (EST)

I find it somewhat amusing that you call on the universal human rights to make that point while at the same time essentially denying those same principles yourself. But I guess that's a fundamental paradox in democracy. --AKjeldsenGodspeed! 14:47, 9 February 2008 (EST)

Has it come to this?[edit]

The above begs the question...Are all beliefs valid beliefs?
No, of course not, not for everyone. We cannot hold to that which is diametrically opposed to our own (sometimes strongly held) views. I think though we can agree that even the most loony tunes belief privately held by a public figure (politician) should not be held against that person if the belief is subordinated to the constitution of that person's country and by the "rule of law" in general. CЯacke® PS, No, I haven't read ALL of the above.

Yes. Kiss me , and Kiss me , you lousy , lousy

unthinking reactionary.  And I love the tone of the debate!162.82.215.199 15:50, 9 February 2008 (EST)
Firstly, I should apologise for being grumpy (we got humped 4-1 by Villa). That done, I'll deny AK's paradox. I'd no more let any of my above examples hold public office than I'd let a pensioner with cataracts have a driving license. Demonstrably unfit. Robledo 16:01, 9 February 2008 (EST)
You are entitled to that opinion, of course, but you can't back it up with the human rights. "Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration,without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status." [1] --AKjeldsenGodspeed! 16:08, 9 February 2008 (EST)
Our rights are quite clearly circumscribed by how they impact upon others. I don't have the right to shout "Fire!" in a crowded theatre, and I shouldn't have the right to hold public office if I am unable to subordinate my religious faith to the secular rule of law. Robledo 16:44, 9 February 2008 (EST)
That depends on whether your religious faith compels you to commit actual illegal or unconstitutional acts. If it does, then you are not suitable for holding office - not because of your faith in itself, but because of those acts. If it does not, however, denying you the right to run for office or otherwise participate in the political life of your country is an act of oppression. --AKjeldsenGodspeed! 17:03, 9 February 2008 (EST)
I agree with the doleful Dane. humanUser talk:Human 22:24, 9 February 2008 (EST)

Ha! I see your Thought Gestapo, and I raise you Thought Gulag![edit]

I agree with Susan above. Theism is inherently irrational, and irrational people cannot be trusted with any sort of above average and legally recognized influence over others. But she does not go far enough. Irrational people should not be allowed to run any sort of institution.

Corporations wield an enormous amount of power over others—economic power is just as significant as government and religious power—, and irrational people shouldn't be running such things. We cannot, of course, trust in the system to not hire excessively irrational persons, because people are stupid. We should mandate corporations to elect only atheists. Nor should theists be allowed to hold any position in management—their religion might force them to do something irrational that affects their underlings' lives. What if said underlings like their theist boss enough to tolerate his irrational and even detrimental beliefs? Well, fuck them, Susan and me clearly know what's better for them.

Purchasing power is also a means of influence, so irrational people ("theists") should be prevented from spending any money in a way that might impose their irrational beliefs on others. They shouldn't be allowed to hold jobs with salaries that grant them excessive purchasing power. I think a ceiling of $30,000 a year would be just fine.

Foreign aide should also be determined by theism. Does your one-dollar-a-day starving African tribe worship any sort of deity, or do you have a witch doctor that talks to the dead? Sorry, no aid for you. We shouldn't be supporting irrational beliefs, and there are other, more rational poor people who deserve the aid more than you. What's that? Most atheists are upper-middle class? Well, fuck, there must some poor, disadvantaged atheists out there...

We should also, of course, take away theists' children. How in the world did we ever sit back and let these children be brainwashed?

And stupid people are irrational people, too, so how far a person advances and their degree of influence over others should be determined by a standardized intelligence test.

The ultimate goal, of course, would be to build a giant mind-reading computer that analyzes how irrational your beliefs are, rates them accordingly, and assigns you a position in society based upon that rating. --Star of David.png Radioactive Misanthrope 23:00, 9 February 2008 (EST)

Wait! I take that back! Atheists also can't be trusted with anything—they tolerate religion far too much. Tolerating intolerance is irrational. Antitheists are more rational—they know that religion bad.

Only this remaining 0.1% of the population can be trusted to run things. Statistically, they may be mostly white, privileged males, but everyone knows that it is white, privileged, male theists who caused most of the pointless suffering and dying throughout history—plain old white privileged males never caused any problems at all. --Star of David.png Radioactive Misanthrope 23:00, 9 February 2008 (EST)

Amusing. I liked that! DogP 02:19, 10 February 2008 (EST)
RA clearly knows what he's talking about here, but I think he's missing a very important aspect. As we know, ownership of property is one of the key sources of influence in society, so the question is if all these irrational non-anti-theists should be allowed to own property at all. Maybe we could build some nice camps for them to live in instead. That would make it easier to keep track of them, too. --AKjeldsenGodspeed! 08:58, 10 February 2008 (EST)
Interestingly enough, there is a small movement of ultra-fundamentalists who are trying to get their followers to move to one of the Carolinas and Idaho to create one or two theocracies. Might be an interesting movement to track, for someone who isn't to lazy to dig up the links.--PalMD-Did that sound a little harsh? 13:11, 10 February 2008 (EST)
The Christian Exodus nutbars? --Gulik 14:12, 10 February 2008 (EST)
Because SusanG has not responded to this, I will assume that she does not dispute that I have pursued her suggestion to their logical conclusion. In other words, I "win" by default. --Star of David.png Radioactive Misanthrope 17:40, 11 February 2008 (EST)

Election[edit]

SusanG for President (of the world) ! SusanMiouw 23:37, 9 February 2008 (EST)

I vote "pussy for all." humanUser talk:Human 01:02, 10 February 2008 (EST)

My two cents[edit]

I've just caught my self up (well, I skimmed the last bit) and I had a couple thoughts I would like to contribute. First some silliness:

  • Why is there no "+" button on this page to add a new topic?
    • Seriously.
  • You guys place a lot of faith in rationality.
    • It's not entirely germane, but I thought I'd point it out.

Now my real thoughts. (Caveat: I am not a YEC. I could maybe be described as an OEC, but how the world was created doesn't effect my daily life. Well, other than when I read about it here and at CP, of course).

  1. You do not have to disbelieve all aspects of all mainstream science to believe in YEC
    1. You just don't. Probably the only area of science you would have to completely ignore is cosmology, but there are plenty of areas (chemistry, physics, computer science, and most of biology, for example) where the the method of arriving to the present does not matter for research in the future. In other words, whether the earth was created 6000 years ago or 4.59b years ago, water is still two H's and one O.
      1. Branches of science you have to ignore to believe in Young Earth Creationism --Gulik 23:46, 13 February 2008 (EST)
  2. Believing in YEC does not automatically make you crazy or illogical
    1. With some obvious exceptions, most YEC believers are just that--believers. PJR can argue for days about why he believes what he does, but I would posit that the vast majority have nothing to back up why they believe. It might seem obvious to you why we were evolved from monkeys, but some people don't even have the basic biology background to understand how that could happen, let alone the likelyhood of such a thing occurring.
  3. (Corollary to the last one) Even if they do support YEC and actually know what they are talking about, it doesn't necessarily make them crazy or illogical
    1. Some people just have those certain beliefs that, for whatever reason, they refuse to believe. Additionally, there is conflicting evidence. Some people see what they want to see in order to back up their own argument, instead of looking at all the evidence. Ask Researcher, IR people have to deal with this tendency of humans in determining why people make the decisions they do.
  4. No YEC who has enough political capital to become president could likely make the changes you are suggesting they would make
    1. First an formost, any elected president is a politician. You can't reasonably cut funding to every form of research, cut military spending (what does this have to do with YEC anyway?), repeal the First Ammendment (uh...?) and then still expect him to have a political career.
  5. (Corollary to the last one, and probably my most important point) Unless one is campaigning on a platform of only YEC, it's likely that YEC is a minor portion of their lives.
    1. This whole thing started with "does believing in YEC negate everything else such that you would never vote for them?" What does YEC say about their views on abortion? Nothing. Health care? Nothing. Taxes? Nothing. Immigration? Global warming? Nuclear power? Nothing, nothing and nothing. As I mentioned above, believing in YEC doesn't even tell you much about how he will organize science spending. What can we be fairly confident a YEC will push? Probably teaching YEC alongside evolution in school. That's about all we can reliably say, and this says nothing about how successful they will be. So, the only way a rational person could decide to never vote for a YEC is if the only political issue they cared about was keeping ID out of schools.

In conclusion (and I know I've said this before) you can't use Andy & Co as a rule for anything (neither can you use Richard Dawkins et al), and doing so leads to illogical conclusions. Lurker 15:03, 10 February 2008 (EST)

No replies? I'm counting this one as a win. Lurker 13:48, 13 February 2008 (EST)
Can you replace the *'s with #'s so your points have numbers? So much easier to reply to then... humanUser talk:Human 15:15, 13 February 2008 (EST)
Probably people are too lazy to read all of your text (me too). For me, being YEC means being lazy (oops), intellectually dishonest, but most importantly and above all, not putting enough faith in science. Maybe YEC doesn't matter so much, but Global Warming is on top of my list, but there are plenty of examples. You may also be rational and get it wrong (too few environmentally conscious rational types favour nuclear power, for instance), but at least I have the presumption that they are open to discussion and to listen to who knows more. In summary, being YEC per se is ok, but to me it says too much about the person in question. Editor at CPBring TK back 15:18, 13 February 2008 (EST)
To summarize, I think I disagree with points 1, 2 and 2bis (the corollary). Better, I disagree with what is meant by "crazy or illogical". Editor at CPBring TK back 15:20, 13 February 2008 (EST)
To me it is simply that they can't be trusted. It seems as though if you were to ever give an inch to a YEC, they'd want a mile. The line must be drawn here. This far, no further. --Edgerunner76 Buddy christ.jpg 15:22, 13 February 2008 (EST)
Why are YECcers supposed to be entitled to any more respect than homeopaths, Flat Earthers, or telephone psychics? --SockOfGulik 15:59, 13 February 2008 (EST)
Regarding 4 & 5, what about Huckabee? Perhaps he won't/can't win, but he is making a reasonable showing in the primaries. (PS, he wants to amend the constitution to fit his god's laws). humanUser talk:Human 20:09, 13 February 2008 (EST)
E@CP: What part of "crazy or illogical" to you disagree with? Do you mean that it's all or nothing, or do you mean something else?
Edge: That's fine, but as I (tried) to argue, that inch says nothing about the mile.
Sock: I would use a similar argument to "defend" those people except in those cases where they are knowingly selling false goods. I think it's fair to say that most YECs are sincere, whereas most sellers of homeopathy and telephone psychitry (?) know that they are full of BS. I don't think I would give as big of a benefit of the doubt to the flat earthers, simply because we've actually flown around the earth. I'm not very familiar with their arguments though.
Human: That's an interesting issue. I will say that I don't know a ton about Huckabee; I picked my candidate and it wasn't him. However, I think at this point I would chalk up most of that kind of stuff up to rhetoric. He has to say that he wants to add the Ten Commandments to the Constitution to win the Andys, but even if he were elected into office and Congress was 100% Republican, I don't think he'd actually be able to do it. (Also a minor point, I was trying to separate the YEC issues from the "YEC's tend to..." issues. I was taking as a premise that some people are deciding to vote against a YEC, no matter what his other qualities. Small point though). Now, maybe I'm naïve and idealistic (I mentioned I support Ron Paul, right?) but I still think Huckabee, if voted President (which he won't be), would have to come down a peg or 11 just to survive in Washington. But then again, I might be wrong. Lurker 21:53, 13 February 2008 (EST)
Lurker, I agree with you up to a point. I agree in that I also don't think that being YEC, or Catholic, or believing that life on Earth was planted by aliens, necessarily has much of an effect on governing ability in and of itself (although for some people, depending on how extreme their beliefs are, it could). I also doubt that Huckabee would be able to replace the Constitution with the Ten Commandments, and that he's blowing smoke up everyone's butt with that kind of rhetoric. He's certainly not the first or last politician to do that. The problem is, when he says stuff like that, it's because he wants people to vote for him solely because he says he wants the Ten Commandments duct taped to every stop sign. It shouldn't be surprising, then, that when a candidate uses the "vote for me because I hold personal belief X" card, he'll generate anti-votes from the voters who don't believe in X. And personally, although I expect to select my candidate for 2008 based on more than that kind of stuff, I don't see a huge problem with that. I think it's rational to vote against someone who's trying to "buy" votes with some crappy polarizing rhetoric that's ultimately meaningless with respect to the person's ability to lead. After all, if a candidate is selling himself/herself primarily by pandering irrelevant rhetoric to the Andys of the world (either liberal Andys or conservative Andys) then I tend to think he or she is most likely full of crap and doesn't deserve to be president. I don't know if Huckabee has explicitly said something like "vote for me 'cuz I'm YEC" but he has (in my impression anyway) established himself as that type of candidate. If he kept his mouth shut about that kind of thing and allowed people who don't know that much about him (like me) to associate him with realistic goals for his prospective administration instead of smoke up the butt, I doubt people would care about his personal views as much.--Bayesyikes 00:05, 14 February 2008 (EST)
Lurker, you asked "E@CP: What part of "crazy or illogical" to you disagree with? Do you mean that it's all or nothing, or do you mean something else?". I mean this: being a YEC doesn't make you crazy or illogical in an absolute or common sense and I am sure you can be a YEC and a sensible person. BUT it makes you "crazy or illogical" enough for not being a good candidate for a public office. In other words, as a YEC, you are not open to put knowledge and scientific authority above all in your decisions, and that, in my book, makes you unsuitable for public office, that is, "too crazy/illogical/biased for that profession". Editor at CPBring TK back 05:35, 14 February 2008 (EST)

Whoo![edit]

I've always wanted to use that function. :) --Linus(plot evil tech) 17:46, 11 February 2008 (EST)

What does it do? humanUser talk:Human 20:40, 11 February 2008 (EST)
Nevermind, I figured it out. It adds the talk page style "+" tab at the top. Nice. humanUser talk:Human 20:43, 11 February 2008 (EST)

Please tell when your being sarcastic[edit]

Or else I just lost all faith in humanity with this no religious people should be able to hold influence.

Would you vote for an adult who believed in the tooth fairy or unicorns or Santa Claus? How is believing in God any different? TheoryOfPractice (talk) 04:40, 13 August 2009 (UTC)
There is nothing wrong with religious people holding powers of influence as long as their religion remains a personal belief. Not one for public digestion nor guidance. Ace McWickedModel 500 04:57, 13 August 2009 (UTC)
I could care less what someone's beliefs are as long as they don't affect your policy decisions. If anyone who believed in God was cut out of serving public office, we'd lose a gigantic amount of qualified people. I do have a huge problem with people like Mike Huckabee saying that the U.S. Constitution needs to be realigned to the rules of the Bible. That kind of thinking is dangerous and isn't even appropriate for a mayor.--الملعب الاسود العقل Am I asleep or awake? 05:30, 13 August 2009 (UTC)
like this fucking nit-wit. Whats wrong with you Yanks? Ace McWickedModel 500 05:40, 13 August 2009 (UTC)
Eh, it's fucking illiterate anyway: "A mayoral candidate in Tulsa, Okla., is reportedly putting a Christian creationism exhibit in the Tulsa Zoo among her top priorities, along with addressing crime and budget issues." My fave pet peeve, a comma between subject and pregnicate. ħumanUser talk:Human 06:56, 13 August 2009 (UTC)

My Say[edit]

Personally, I am really confused why most Americans are worried about a Catholic President. I mean, it seems like Jesus's Love™ would be enough to unite them, but no, of course they disagree on everything from eating Christ to how tall the pope's hat should be. Also, wasn't anybody a bit confused on how Richard Nixon, a Quaker, got elected? Whatever, I'm boredּּּּּ. ּּּּּבכסווושלמ 03:15, 12 February 2010 (UTC)

Your Nixon point is actually interesting. How, indeed, did his religion not come up? Maybe it did? Maybe JFK defused that bomb... although look at what Romney went through a year or to ago... ħumanUser talk:Human 03:47, 12 February 2010 (UTC)

Please add new sections above this one[edit]

United States 2008 presidential election articles on RationalWiki
Topics: Debate:Religious beliefs and public office - Mission accomplished - Same-sex marriage - United States Electoral College - Values Voter Debate 2007

Parties: Constitution Party - Democratic Party - Green Party - Libertarian Party - Republican Party
Candidates: Baldwin (Con) - Brownback (R) - Clinton (D) - Giuliani (R) - Huckabee (R) - Keyes (R) - McCain (R) - McKinney (Green) - Obama (D) - Paul (R) - Romney (R) Running mates: Biden (D) - Palin (R)
Winner: Barack Obama