February 21, 2007

Could an Atheist be American President?

According to a Gallop Poll, atheists are amongst the most despised groups in the United States today- whereas only four percent could never vote for a Catholic President (so much for William Donohue's war against Catholicism), only five percent could never vote for a Jew, only seven percent could never vote for a black man. But almost half the country would never vote for a homosexual candidate, and more than half the country would never vote for an atheist candidate.

I should note that any poll has a margin of error and one poll can always be an outlier. Its an interesting poll even so.


Welshcakes Limoncello said...

I think that's probably true. I have a friend there - sorry if I've told you this before - who has been virtually ostracised by her circle for buying a video about evolution for her son!

Not Saussure said...

Certainly when I lived there, about 20 years ago, I was surprised by how frequently I was asked where I worshipped -- and this was Berkeley, for heaven's sake, rather than somewhere in the Bible Belt.

Obviously, to a Brit, both the question and the assumption behind it seem rather odd.

I also, for what it's worth, recall chatting with an American political science specialist a few years later who was very surprised to read, while he was over here, an interview in which Neil Kinnock, leader of the Labour Party at the time, said he was an atheist. No American politician would say such a thing, he reckoned, since it would make him completely unelectable.

But, of course, no American politican would claim to be a democratic socialist, either, for the same reason -- I've often thought that we're lulled into a false sense of familiarity by the fact Americans speak English. In reality, when living there I found a far more foreign country, in many ways, than I've found Russia or even, in some respects, India.