This Atheist Gal in Love With John Kerry.

Didn’t know what forum to put this in, but since it involves politics . . . I was out of town this weekend but caught the debate Friday night, and I nearly kissed the TV screen when John Kerry said:

" . . . I’m a Catholic - raised a Catholic. I was an altar boy. Religion has been a huge part of my life, helped lead me through a war, leads me today. But I can’t take what is an article of faith for me and legislate it for someone who doesn’t share that article of faith, whether they be agnostic, atheist, Jew, Protestant, whatever . . . . as a president, I have to represent all the people in the nation and I have to make that judgment . . . That’s why I think it’s important for the United States, for instance, not to have this rigid ideological restriction on helping families around the world to be able to make a smart decision about family planning - you’ll help prevent AIDS; you’ll help prevent unwanted children, unwanted pregnancies; you’ll actually do a better job, I think, of passing on the moral responsibility that is expressed in your question. And I truly respect it."

I have other reasons for voting for Kerry, but this was the cherry on top. A candidate who will not only stand behind the separation of church and state, but who publicly includes atheists and agnostics as Americans!

I don’t care that he looks like Frankenstein’s horse, I’d do him.

We’re very happy for you, Eve darling. What’s the debate? :stuck_out_tongue:

Funny you should mention Frankenstein in connection with Kerry. According to some historians, he might be descended from Rabbi Judah Loew (1525-1609), the Maharal of Prague – the one who, according to legend, created the Golem of Prague! (See and

If Kerry wins, we might be in for four to eight years of golem-themed political cartoons.

Good to see I’m not the only one who was thrilled by that part of the debate. Not that I’d be voting for Bush anyway, but that was very cool :slight_smile:

Yes, I agree, that was a very admirable declaration from Kerry, for several reasons. But in that light, I’d like him to explain his opposition to same-sex marriage in Massachusetts.

Probably 'cause he wants to win. I’m giving him a pass on that one; he is against the Constitutional Ammendment, yes?

This agnostic (who cares more about policy than personality) cringed at the remark, fearing that it would hurt him more than help him.

Admittedly, though, I suspect that it merely presages a more prominent discussion of Kerry’s religious background.

Permit me to pre-empt certain remarks by Kerry opposers: If Bush is so gung-ho about his faith, why doesn’t he belong to a congregation in DC? Why doesn’t he attend church regularly? [/hijack]

Reagan once said he didn’t go to church because the presence of the POTUS, a natural target of assassins (one of whom had already shot him), would put the congregation in danger. I guess any POTUS could use that argument.

IIRC, Clinton attended church quite often while he was President.

IRC. The Clintons regularly attended Foundry Methodist Church in DC. Here’s an article about the place (from a right-wing talk host who doesn’t like its pastor’s political stances, by the way):

So it sounds as though the “I can’t go to church because it would put the congregation in danger” line is just an excuse. In fact, I’d wager that a congregation screened by metal detectors and surrounded by SS agents is probably one of the safest in the land! :slight_smile:

The security argument is addressed here.

Briefly, yes Clinton attended church; Carter attended a Babtist church and even taught Sunday School on occasion.

My guess is that the President has a relatively narrow comfort zone for a politician. Regular church going might make him uneasy.

My theory:

In my experience, disputes between Christians and non-Christians, or even between Protestants and Catholics, often have nothing on the disputes among Protestant denominations themselves. The county I grew up in has eight or nine institutions called the Beattyville Church of God (or some minor variation), each of which was formed in a schism over one seemingly minor point of theology or another.

If Bush attends church, he is placed into the position of defending that church’s theological and political positions. What’s worse, Bush’s stated denom is Methodist, and they’ve had some fairly liberal positions (as they go). Actually picking a church and attending it would bring those issues to the forefront–not good for someone whose continued political success depends on every old-regular hard shell Baptist showing up to vote for him.

(Clinton and Carter had no such worries, since by and large those people wouldn’t have voted for them anyway.)

Well, a lot of conservative Protestants did vote for Carter. The Moral Majority’s unholy alliance to the GOP wasn’t yet the Great And Uncompromising Article Of The Faith it became after Reagan appointed apocalyptic Christians like James Watt & Ed Meese.

That’s a great answer. Too bad the question was probably, “Do you think you will do a better job at protecting the US from terrorism than President Bush?” :smiley:
But seriously, what was the question he was answering? Was it something about helping with AIDS in Africa or something? What exactly was the “moral responsibility that [was] expressed in [her] question?”

Let’s hope Edwards doesn’t turn into another Holy Joe Lieberman and spoil it…

IIRC, the question was on abortion.

DoctorJ Along the same lines, if Bush doesn’t choose a church, lots of people can imagine that he’s part of their congregation. I’m still a little puzzled though; perhaps, like Reagan, he isn’t really particularly religious.

I was committed to voting for Kerry a long time ago, but at this stage I’m still glad to hear a Presidential candidate even mention atheists. It did give me a warm fuzzy feeling. Who knew Kerry was good for that? :wink:

Me, too. The only president I recall mentioning atheists or agnostics in an inclusive way was Clinton–and that was after he’d already been elected, not as a candidate. And hell, I’m old enough to remember how upset Mother was when McKinley was shot . . .

Yet, he is Christian (capital C or little c?) who pushes “faith this” and “faith that” and talks to God directly (hears voices?), slayer of the heathen, defender of the faith, saver of souls, purveyor of “christian conservative family blah blah”, lion of “etc etc etc”, high mucky muck of the holier than thou. So what is this? Maybe a bit too much hypocrisy, for the sake of political expediency? Anyone have a quick answer?

I give Kerry this, he had the cojones to say he would make his decisions in light of what he thinks will benefit everyone, not just the religious right or the mega rich. In the current climate, just mentioning Jews (nonChristians), atheists (nonChristians), and/or agnostics (nonChristians), takes guts.

Well, no, if that had been the question, I’m pretty sure Kerry would have said “Yes”, and then explained why. Come to think of it, somebody did ask that question, and that’s what he did.

Now, Bush has been accused of having said that he didn’t consider atheists to be real Americans, but I can’t find any confirmation of that, so I’ll assume it’s just a rumor. He did say, however, that Wicca wasn’t a “real religion” and didn’t deserve the protection that religious practice gets, which indicates he may have an incomplete understanding of the subject.

In answering a question about embryonic stem cell research, Kerry had to walk a narrow line, and did pretty well. One reason I’ll never be President is I would answer a question like that by saying, “Look, except to religous fanatics, it’s not even an ethical question. They’re just embryos, for Christ’s sake! A tiny cluster of cells, not even close to being a fetus. If the NIH wants to artificially fertilize ten million human eggs just to extract stem cells, that’s okey-dokey with me. Preventing research that might make Christopher Reeve walk again because you think embryos have the same rights as people is lunatic.”