The Pledge

My fellow unbelievers, if you didn’t like it when the Republicans in power used you as whipping boys, you’re not going to like it when the Democrats in power do the same thing. And they are not only able, but willing to do so — as this video from the Secular Coalition of America demonstrates. Note how it dispenses criticism at both parties, but puts heavier focus on atheophobia exhibited by Democrats:

What Liddy Dole did was to say “Don’t vote for Kay Hagan, because she likes atheists.” Hagan said back, “Liddy Dole is a liar — I don’t like atheists.” Substitute “Jews” for “atheists” and you’ll see right away why the whole thing is offensive and both sides come out smelling bad.

Fact of the matter is, religious beliefs ought to be considered to be, and in fact truly are, utterly irrelevant to a candidate’s qualifications for any kind of political office. Which is why the Constitution prohibits religious tests for holding public office, and why it’s obnoxious to create de facto religious tests as part of the campaigning process.

So let me make this suggestion. Candidates for political office should take the following pledge:

I promise, in conducting my campaign and in serving my term of service if elected, to not exploit anyone’s beliefs about religion, including my own, for political advantage, and to condemn any other candidate or officeholder who does so.

Simple enough, right? But how many political candidates would be willing to take and stick to that pledge?

Burt Likko

Pseudonymous Portlander. Homebrewer. Atheist. Recovering litigator. Recovering Republican. Recovering Catholic. Recovering divorcé. Recovering Former Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. House Likko's Words: Scite Verum. Colite Iusticia. Vivere Con Gaudium.

One Comment

  1. Obviously a pipe dream, but a decent one. No politician would swear that oath because that would imply that politicians do exploit religion. I have a counter-proposal. How about Congress create a special committee that investigates allegations of political candidates and elected officials using religion in an exploitative manner. If it’s found that the subjects of the investigations have done so, they’re either disqualified from the election, or are disciplined appropriately.(btw, hopped over here from Atheist Ethicist)

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