Nominate an atheist, redux

The last time the ostentatious religiosity of a presidential candidate stuck in my craw, it was ten-gallon asshat Gov. Rick Perry.  This time it’s Michele Bachmann, whose name in the same sentence as the words “presidential candidate” makes my throat close up.

Via TPM, I found this lovely quote:

“I don’t know how much God has to do to get the attention of the politicians. We’ve had an earthquake; we’ve had a hurricane. He said, ‘Are you going to start listening to me here?’ Listen to the American people because the American people are roaring right now. They know government is on a morbid obesity diet and we’ve got to rein in the spending.”

Please give a moment to collect myself, as I have just spent the last five minutes pounding my head against the wall.

I sincerely hope that Jonathan Bernstein is right, and Bachmann isn’t really going to make it to the nomination.  Because the notion of the Oval Office being occupied by someone who believes in a God who communicates via hurricane gives me the howling fantods.

How is it possible that this woman can say this and get anyone to vote for her?  I realize that I am probably hyperventilating for nothing, since she hasn’t won any actual primaries yet.  But I desperately hope someone

[In trying to edit this post to reflect that video of the event makes it pretty clear that Bachmann was joking, I seem to have screwed it up royally.  Anyhow, the upshot is that as much as I may disagree with Bachmann about… everything, in this case I was too hasty and unfair.]

Russell Saunders

Russell Saunders is the ridiculously flimsy pseudonym of a pediatrician in New England. He has a husband, three sons, daughter, cat and dog, though not in that order. He enjoys reading, running and cooking. He can be contacted at blindeddoc using his Gmail account. Twitter types can follow him @russellsaunder1.


  1. I’d take anybody, religious or otherwise, who was willing to call her statement crazy. It can’t be strictly atheists willing to try to govern from a basis of reason, observation, and evidence rather than trying to use freakish weather, seismic catastrophe, or terrorist attack to divine God’s message.

    • I’m actually not an atheist myself, for what it’s worth.

      And you’re right, I’d be perfectly delighted if a member of any religious tradition or sect were to call out this belief as moronic and dangerous. I just think an atheist would be uniquely positioned to do so.

      • Except an atheist loses any cred against the stupidity simply by being an atheist – You know you can’t trust them. They have no morals or basis for an ethical system of living. Can you imagine if some huge televangelist came out and said that Bachmann was saying idiotic things? I know, me neither, but it would carry a lot more weight and provoke much less hostility than if an atheist says it.

        • There is too much (entirely legitimate) confusion between atheists and anti-theists. An atheist says “What this religious person said is ridiculous!” and it’s an attack on religion, not an attack on the ridiculousness of the statement. Religious people get defensive and defend the statement reflexively, and it becomes tribal and difficult to objectively analyze the content of the statement itself.

          • Unfortunately, it should matter little if the actual statement is ridiculous. Kind of like trying to deny the fact that the earth goes around the sun on the basis that Galileo was fat.

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