America Might Be Ready for an Atheist President
New Republic essay thinks another political taboo is poised to fall
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Dec 11, 2013 5:56 PM CST
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(Newser) – A Politico Magazine story sounds a pessimistic note about the prospects for an atheist president, noting that Barney Frank came out as gay 25 years ago but waited until after his political retirement to announce that he was a non-believer. But at the New Republic, Isaac Chotiner finds "surprising reasons for optimism" that the premise is wrong. Look at all the political taboos that have fallen in the last 25 years—pot smoking might once have been a deal-breaker, for example, let alone having a black African father. Plus, more Americans are identifying themselves as non-believers.

An atheist candidate is at least plausible, argues Chotiner. "I agree that there will be challenges, and while it wouldn't be smart to go after someone directly for their atheism, perhaps 'values-based' attacks would have more currency." He also thinks it would have to be an "established" politician to break the barrier. "If, say, John McCain or Hillary Clinton announced that while they respected Christianity and faith, they no longer believed in God, well, I think they could still get elected." So, 2016 or 2020? Probably not, "but I do think that when the moment arises, the American people will show themselves to be surprisingly open-minded." Click for Chotiner's full column.

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Showing 3 of 179 comments
Bill Redd
Dec 21, 2013 12:08 PM CST
It seems to me that we now have a former muslin turned atheist in office now and no one in the ruling democratic cabal cares.
JT119
Dec 15, 2013 12:18 PM CST
You have to be that foolish not to believe that there is some entity ( that we call GOD) that is responsible for all this, the problem is some have attached religion to this entity and different religion have different perspective on this entity named GOD, and this is where confusion come enters the picture, religion. I am not going to pretend to know what or who this GOD is all I know is GOD IS.
JT119
Dec 15, 2013 11:55 AM CST
"America Might Be Ready for an Atheist President" NOT!