During the October 18th debate, the Republican presidential candidates were asked about the role religion should play when assessing a candidate.[i]
Newt Gingrich, who is certainly no paragon of Christian virtue, had this to say:
How can you have judgment if you have no faith? How can I trust you with power if you don’t pray? Who you pray to, how you pray, how you come close to god is between you and god. But the notion that you are endowed by your creator sets a certain boundary on what we mean by American.
For a man presenting himself as the Party’s thought leader, this is utterly stupid. Let’s look at a few of the absurdities that follow from this:
- You have to have faith in order to have judgment: The only thing this can mean is that people by themselves have no ability to judge. They must hand this judgment over to a god or goddess. This ironically means that he does not have judgment even though he does have faith, which contradicts the original idea.
- You have to pray in order to have power, but who you pray to doesn’t matter: Gingrich, as a Christian, believes he has the one true god, which means everyone else is just talking to a wall. So, he thinks, if this quote is to be believed, that you can be trusted with power if you talk to a wall for advice. On the other hand, if you use reason and evidence to make decisions, you’re less equipped because you don’t talk to a wall.
- Any religion is better than no religion: Again, this is ridiculous when compared against Gingrich being a Christian. Does he seriously want to say that believing the Ganges River flowed out of the penis of a god makes you a better leader than being an atheist? Or how about believing that Mohammed rode to heaven on a winged horse? Would a Gingrich prefer a Muslim to an atheist? I wonder…
- To be an American, you must believe in a creator: I think Gingrich is seriously confused here. Being an American is some status conferred upon you by the United States of America. If he would like to say otherwise, I might suggest that Gingrich isn’t as loyal to the Constitution as he claims.
So, there you have it. Gingrich admits to not having any judgment. He admits that he does not respect the Constitutional requirements for citizenship or the spirit of Article VI. He believes that talking to a wall is more important than talking to advisors. And he thinks that following any ridiculous belief system is a pre-requisite for power.
Clearly, he does not think much of me or my fellow non-believers.