Conservative Washington Post columnist Max Boot is proposing a very non-conservative idea: an atheist as president. While most conservatives observe right-leaning Christian ideology, Boot wants to lose it.
It's unclear what President Donald Trump's actual beliefs are, but it's clear he hasn't read enough of the Bible to know anything about it, talk about it or quote it. But Trump tries to pretend he's a holy man, placating to the religious right, which is neither religious nor right.
Even among Democrats, there is no atheist representation among the 2020 primary pool, Boot noted. The closest person to it is what Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has said he believes.
“It’s a guiding principle in my life, absolutely. You know, everyone practices religion in a different way," Sanders said, acknowledging that he is “not actively involved in organized religion.”
He cited a 2015 Gallup poll that said respondents would rather vote for a Muslim president over an atheist president or gay president.
"I identify with Judaism ethnically and culturally, but I’m not religiously observant," Boot disclosed. He noted that surveys about those who identify as atheists are flawed because they're not necessarily asking the right questions. Conventional polls show there are only 3 percent of Americans who consider themselves atheist, but a more extensive survey showed that number is closer to 26 percent.
"Atheists are looked down upon because of the erroneous assumption that you can’t be good without God," Boot noted. It pre-supposes that people only behave ethically out of fear of the afterlife and operates on the assumption that all people are inherently evil. Where agnostics, atheists or secular Humanists believe in values and social good for the sake of others.
"An international survey showed that people are likely to assume that a serial killer is an atheist," Boot continued. "This is despite all of the terrible acts, such as the Easter Sunday suicide bombings in Sri Lanka, carried out by religious zealots. And it’s not just Muslim extremists who are culpable. The gunman who is accused of attacking a Poway, Calif., synagogue was a conservative Presbyterian who blamed Jews for the death of Jesus. No doubt the Catholic priests who sexually abused children also considered themselves to be paragons of faith."
There are centuries of evil carried out in the name of God, Boot noted.
"Some evangelicals condemn Pete Buttigieg, a Christian combat veteran, for being gay, yet insist that God selected Donald Trump — a thrice-married adulterer and serial liar whose life has been devoted to the pursuit of mammon — as president," he noted.
By contrast, Winston Churchill was an Anglican, but didn't believe in a higher power. "If atheism was good enough for Britain’s greatest prime minister, it should be good enough for an American president," Boot said."
He cited Thomas Jefferson, a deist, as a freethinker, but he was one of very few who had non-traditional Christian beliefs.
It's high time, there be an atheist in office, he said, but he doesn't see it happening any time soon.