Bush: Atheists Aren’t Citizens?

While George Bush’s lack of eloquence is hardly something to write about, there are so many of his beliefs that are just plain scary.  One of these (which received surprisingly little news coverage at the time) was when George Bush Senior mentioned his views on atheism.  The Rob Sherman Advocacy web site offers the following quote:

I asked Mr. Bush, “What are you going to do to win the votes of Americans who are atheists?”

Mr. Bush replied, “I guess I’m pretty weak in the atheist community.  Faith in God is important to me.”

I followed up:  “Do you support the equal citizenship and patriotism of Americans who are atheists?”

Mr. Bush replied, “I don’t know that atheists should be regarded as citizens, nor should they be regarded as patriotic.  This is one nation under God.”

After other reporters asked a few questions about issues that they were concerned about, I was then able to get in one more follow-up question on my subject:  “Do you support the constitutionality of state/church separation?”

Vice President Bush responded, “I support separation of church and state.  I’m just not very high on atheists.”

If that’s not enough to make your stomach turn, Positive Atheism offers The Big Scary List of George W. Bush Quotations.

Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised that George isn’t “very high” on atheists (it does make me wonder, though, what he is “high” on).  But people should see this is an outrage.  Here, a politician of the United States is claiming that one must be religious (and probably Christian) to be protected by the Constitution of the United States of America.  And, better yet, the whole “under God” phrase was added to the Pledge of Allegiance in the 1960s.  For those that don’t realize it, this guy is the highest ranking public official in the United States.

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8 Comments

  1. renaissanceguy said,

    August 23, 2007 at 9:27 pm

    I’m highly skeptical of that quotation.

  2. AtypicalGuy said,

    August 23, 2007 at 9:41 pm

    Thanks for your comment.

    Are you skeptical because you don’t want to believe it or because you have a reason to be? A simple web search will find many references to these quotes. You don’t have to believe “the Internet”, but many reputable journalists (including the one who asked the question originally) have reported on the story. I’m wondering why you would question this particular quotation, when it hardly seems inconsistent with other Bushisms.

  3. Bad said,

    August 23, 2007 at 10:40 pm

    The quotation is cited by am activist journalist, which is generally the reason given for doubting it. On the other hand, when asked if Bush had indeed said it, Bush’s people said that he stood by his remarks, so at the very least, Bush isn’t denying that he said it.

    More recently, a FOI request produced documents that seem to confirm that the exchange did, in fact, take place, and again, that the President or his people do not deny that he said what he was quoted to say.

  4. September 20, 2007 at 7:36 am

    […] of the word).  As I mentioned in the past, George Bush apparently doesn’t believe that atheists should be considered citizens.  Clearly, religious (or anti-religious) persecution is quite alive and well in the United […]

  5. larry said,

    October 13, 2008 at 5:12 pm

    what you wrote shows an extreme ignorance. “separation of church and state” is NOT IN THE CONSTITUTION. next time, read it before asking about it!
    there is NOTHING in the constitution about separation of church and state. PERIOD. it’s a concept that people who want it refer to. but it has no roots in our founding document. AT ALL.

  6. Meredith said,

    December 16, 2008 at 2:19 am

    Larry, technically you are right. Technically, the First Amendment reads “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” and not “separation of church and state.” However, the phrase can be traced back to the guy who wrote the Constitution, Thomas Jefferson, who wrote it in a letter in 1802. In 1879, the Supreme Court cited that letter in a decision about polygamy (at the time, Mormons were polygamous, but to be so was illegal in the United States; the Supreme Court found that just because your religion says to do something, doesn’t mean you get a free pass if it’s something illegal). And in 1947, the Supreme Court confirmed the Jefferson letter to say that the First Amendment “was intended to” create a separation between church and state.

    In other words: Your ideas, while interesting, have already occurred to others and been proven useless.

  7. Meredith said,

    December 16, 2008 at 2:22 am

    Atypicalguy, your post really makes it seem as if the quote about atheists is from W. You do say that it’s from 41 (“Senior”) but the rest of the time you’re ambiguous and refer to it as being from “George Bush” when it’s really from the guy who is nowadays know as George H.W. Bush (ie, Senior). Although I understand your frustrations completely, and I loathe Bush as much as the next homosexual atheist, it is a bit confusing to attribute a quote from a somewhat intelligent guy (41) to a complete bumbling idiot (43).

    However, while writing the above, I just realized: President Clinton is the answer to Life, The Universe, and Everything. Excuse me while I go blog that. 🙂

  8. Bdox said,

    November 7, 2009 at 1:21 am

    The “under god” thingy was added to the pledge of allegiance in 1954. I was ten years old, going to school in Washington DC and had just learned about the separation of church and state in my civics class. I had just learned about the many reasons it was so important and the next week, I heard on the radio that Ike had just signed onto that crap.
    And then the “in god we trust” on our money!!!
    I am still devastated!


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