A lot of people have written lately about the disgustingly homophobic comments Mike Huckabee made recently (I recommend Alvin McEwen’s two posts), but most have ignored his smears on atheists in the same interview.
There are two reasons these atheophobic comments have been ignored. The first is that many folks just don’t care about atheist issues or the oppression and slander that nonbelievers frequently endure. The second is because what Huckabee said first sounded really positive:
In what may come as a surprise for some, Huckabee agreed that an atheist could be fit to serve as president. “I’d rather have an honest atheist than a dishonest religious person,” he said.
Given that studies show an atheist would be least likely to be elected out of various underrepresented groups, this is refreshing. But you must read on!
“It’s better to have a person who says, ‘Look, I just don’t believe, and that’s where my honest position happens to be,’” he said. “I’m frankly more OK with that than a person who says, ‘Oh, I am very much a Christian. I very much love God.’ And then they live as if they are atheists, as if they have no moral groundings at all. That’s more troubling.”
“I think it’s nice if a person believes in God,” Huckabee said. “I’d hate to think somebody was making decisions who thought that he couldn’t be higher than himself.”
Ugh. Sorry, Mike, but you don’t even realize how repugnant that sounds. The suggestion that atheists have no moral groundings doesn’t make a lot of sense, but we hear it all the time. It’s a conclusion made without thinking. First, people have to believe they get all their morals from religion (which they don’t), and then they have to believe that their religion is the ONLY place to get morals (which it isn’t). It just sounds dumb. Do you see Richard, Christopher, Hemant, Sam, PZ, vjack and I all scheming against the rest of the world? No! Richard’s trying to protect children from indoctrination, PZ’s trying to protect scientific literacy, Sam is giving speeches on how to be moral without religion, and Hemant’s just being friendly!
As for Huckabee’s other comment, all I have to say is this: I’d hate to think somebody was making decisions who believed that he was answering the will of a delusional higher power!
That was a little insensitive, or at least blunt, so let me frame it a different way. Which is scarier:
1) An individual who recognizes his own limits, takes responsibility for all his decisions, and works to achieve his full potential as a human,
2) An individual who claims to answer to a higher power he hears in his head, who uses this higher power as a scapegoat for all his decisions, and who cares more about what he believes the will of that power is than the experience of any of the fellow humans he interacts with?
What’s scary is how many people would pick #2.
If you didn’t think there was regular demonization of atheists in 2010, you just saw a vivid example. Think about what Huckabee’s saying… he’d rather an honest person with no morals than a dishonest person with morals. Though I’m not apt to give Huckabee credit for wit, I think he’s actually being ironic. What he’s really saying is he prefers someone who acts like they believe in God, regardless of whether they’re actual believers or not, because that’s what is important.
Especially when you consider the kinds of other awful things believers like Huckabee say. Because so many others have addressed his homophobic comments, here’s the expedited version.
On Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell:
I wouldn’t support a repeal if I were commander-in-chief.
Why? Because nobody’s asking for it, it doesn’t affect many people, and it’s just political posturing.
On same-sex relationships:
You don’t go ahead and accommodate every behavioral pattern that is against the ideal.
Mmm… nothing like the smell of santorum in the morning. What is Huckabee’s point? Being gay is like engaging in drug use, incest, and polygamy.
On same-sex couples as adoptive or foster parents:
Children are not puppies.
Because obviously gay couples keep their kids (you know, the thousands we already have) in cages and we make them drink out of bowls and defecate in the yard.
Mike Huckabee is a self-righteously ignorant hate-monger and we should keep him far away from all media outlets and political opportunities.
Hey Dan Savage, I think “huckabee” needs a new definition.