An atheist or an openly gay candidate?
It’s an interesting cultural clash, but I think the antigay impulse is stronger.
It’s possible that an atheist has already been elected as President: neither Abe Lincoln nor Andrew Johnson seems to have had strong Christian beliefs or affiliations, while if Tom Jefferson ran today, he’d be sure to be attacked for his unconventional deism.
Let’s make the person an openly atheist candidate.
The openly gay candidate has a much better chance than an atheist. It is not possible to over-estimate how much atheists are distrusted and otherwise maligned.
As an openly-gay atheist, I’d have to say the gay person has a better chance of being elected. Most people, except the hardcore homophobic, understand that sexual orientation is not a choice. But most people recognize that atheists have chosen their beliefs, or lack thereof.
There’s one key difference: Being gay does not mean having to oppose heterosexuality. Whereas being an openly proud atheist, to a certain extent, means having to *oppose *religion - claiming that there is no God, etc., especially if asked during a debate, Q&A, etc. In fact, many atheists thrive off of ridiculing and mocking Christians, etc.
For that reason, many religious people would consider an atheist candidate more of a threat than a gay candidate, because the atheist is claiming that their religion is fake.
The viewpoint that God does not exist, and the belief that He does exist, are mutually incompatible. Whereas a gay person and a straight person don’t automatically have reason to clash.
To further elaborate:
A straight person’s sexual orientation isn’t at odds with a gay person’s sexual orientation. Everyone minds their own business.
But theism and atheism are by their very nature contradictory, with each claiming that the other is false.
Yes, but I think it matters how militant the atheist is, and how effeminate the gay man is. A lesbian probably wouldn’t have too much of an issue, relatively speaking, especially if she was conventionally attractive. I think a gay man of the Anderson Cooper mold would have few issues whereas a gay man of the J Alexander mold would NEVER be elected. In short, I think it depends on the man or the woman.
The latest poll data I’m aware of has the homosexual candidate winning over the atheist candidate. (Heck, it has the Muslim candidate winning over the atheist candidate.)
Tell me about them.
If they’re both standard liberal Democrats, I’d never vote for either.
But hey, George Will is a self-described agnostic and I’d certainly vote for him over my fellow Catholics Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden.
I need to know more about these hypothetical candidates, and about their opponents.
I’d say a gay person. In today’s climate opposing a candidate for being gay would result in scorn (which is a good thing); opposing a candidate for being atheist is reasonable.