In February 2006 Mitt Romney said: "Well, I think people in this country want a person of faith to lead them as their governor, as their senator, as their president" Effectively stating that anyone who didn't have faith in their imaginary friend wasn't fit for office.
This enraging/insulting/hopelessly misguided point has been put to my 11 year old sister on a number of occasions by adults. However, as I was out of the country at the time it didn't come to my attention until I started reading backlogs of The Carnival of the Godless. Unfortunately the exact article I was reading eludes me, if it was you please let me know! But the blog entry I read basically encouraged readers to do the following: Ask Mitt Romney what message he wants to send to godless children? And why does he think they'll never be qualified for office?
I decided not to ask Mitt Romney anything, as I feel even buying a ticket to one of his events qualifies as a statement somewhere along the lines of: Joseph-Smith-though-he's-dead-should-still-have-an-influence -over-policies. Instead I sent an email (and in one case a fax) to all presidential hopefuls, except Mitt Romney, asking what they thought of us "Godless Heathens" and how they would try and curb our villification.
I wasn't exactly sober when I did it, but the letter went something like this:
As a first time voter, I am delighted that on looking through your website and throughout internet, I am provided with a vast wealth of information regarding your opinions and beliefs about almost every problem facing America, and the world today.
I have a concern regarding your lack of opinion, and policy ideas, regarding faith and the lack thereof. I have yet to find a candidate who will address the issue of non-believers. Mitt Romney is quoted as saying: I'm convinced that the nation . . . needs a person of faith to lead the country. A statement basically telling me and my younger brother and sister that just because we don't believe in God, we are not authorized to be president. This is regardless of our compassion for humanity, knowledge on foreign policy or any other distinguishing feature which may qualify us for the job.
Mitt Romney received a standing ovation for that statement, and it gets worse. Atheists are said to be less trustworthy than any other group of Americans. My 11 year old sister has been told, by grown women, that she is going to hell. Parents have told their children to deliberately ostracize my siblings due to their lack of belief. A teacher, in a public school, mentioned God and that evolution was "sinful" to a classroom and when we protested were told that, as the minority, we were unable to have a voice on the matter. I will be contacting the ACLU about this.
So my question is: What do you plan on doing to ensure that we have freedom 'from' religion. And how will you help others understand that atheists are not "the anti-christ" and not out to get Christians, or Muslims, or Hindu's. We want what the religious want, tolerance and understanding.
I look forward to your reply,
Not the best worded letter, and yes it's presumptuous of me to say We want... but I'm sure you understand the general premise, and hopefully the candidates will too!