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Published:May 13th, 2008 15:05 EST
Can an Atheist or a Pagan Be Elected President?

Can an Atheist or a Pagan Be Elected President?

By Robert Paul Reyes

Polls indicate that the vast majority of Americans wouldn't vote for a presidential candidate who's an atheist or a member of a fringe religion, like a Pagan or Wiccan.

"Many current pagans in industrial societies base their beliefs and practices on a connection to Nature, and a divinity within all living things." Quotation from Wikipedia

What is so threatening about this peaceful ideology that would disqualify an individual from being the President of the United States?

Pagans perceive a touch of divinity within all living things, and atheists see all human beings as equal under the law. Pagans and atheists/freethinkers aren't burdened with the sinner/saint dichotomy. We don't obsess on the differences that divide us; we focus on the similarities that unite us.

But Americans have no problem casting a ballot for a mainstream Christian who doesn't follow the precepts of his faith. Bill Clinton is a Southern Baptist who curses like a sailor, lies like a dog, mates like a bunny, and bears false witness like a jailhouse snitch, but he would still be president if the Constitution didn't have that pesky two-term limit.

Americans need a president who believes in God, because patriotism and religion are so inextricably linked. Most Americans simply can't believe that an atheist can be patriotic; they'd rather elect a hypocritical Christian than a morally-upright unbeliever.

I long for the day when a candidate's religion is as irrelevant as which football team he roots for. But I'm afraid that we'll see a stripper elected president, before an atheist or a Pagan.