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Can Atheists be Patriotic Americans?

WilliamJB

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George H. W. Bush was once quoted thusly:

Interviewer: What will you do to win the votes of the Americans who are atheists?

Bush: I guess I'm pretty weak in the atheist community. Faith in God is important to me.

Interviewer: Surely you recognize the equal citizenship and patriotism of Americans who are atheists?

Bush: No, I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God.

Interviewer (somewhat taken aback): Do you support as a sound constitutional principle the separation of state and church?

Bush: Yes, I support the separation of church and state. I'm just not very high on atheists.

Glenn Beck's speech at the 8/28 rally seemed to at least echo this sentiment. My questions are:

1. Do you agree with G.H.W. Bush's statement?

2. If so, why, and if not, why not?

3. Is Beck's rhetoric the same or distinguishable from the above quote?
 

Jetboogieman

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Can you prove he said this with a video or link?
 

Teh Internets

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If this quote is legit than I lost what little respect I had for the guy.
 

Hoplite

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I dont know why religious belief (or lack thereof) should be considered a qualifier for citizenship.

EDIT: The quote does seem to only appear on Atheist websites. That casts a shadow on it's credibility. A video would be great.
 
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marduc

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A quick google search leads me to this:
snopes.com: Did George HW Bush say that atheists should not be considered citizens?

which in turn leads me to thi9s from the guy who claims to be the interviewer:

Liberal News March 3, 2002

a quote from the above link:

The entire Chicago political press corps was there, along with members of the White House press corps and national news reporters, but no reporter thought that this anti-atheist bigotry was sufficiently newsworthy to do anything with it, other than me.
make of that what you will, I personally do not consider that substantiated, albeit it does attain status of slightly (very slightly) plausible.


Answer to ? #1: No

I will answer the OP's question #2 with a couple of questions of my own:

Can an atheist care about our nation and their fellow Americans?
and
Have atheists spilled their blood for our Country?

#3 I don't think even Beck wold go so far as saying: "I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots." Subtle, but distinct difference to me is that Beck seems to elevate and attempt to be inclusive of God faring people rather than specifically denigrating atheists, to do so blatantly would damage his current "unity -albeit unity through god" message.
 
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RightinNYC

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Oh, well if a deceased atheist once claimed that a reporter for American Atheist once told her he had had that conversation with GHWB over 20 years ago, then it must have happened!

The original online source for this material...no longer exists. According to the National Secular Society (UK), it was taken from The History of the Issue by Madalyn O'Hair, a "Reprint of American Atheists booklet from the early 1990s."
lol
 

Your Star

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Yes, atheist can be patriotic. America wasn't founded as "One nation under God", that crap was added in the 50's. Religion isn't a precursor to being American.
 
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RightinNYC

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Well, he never retracted the statement despite repeated requests to do so. Seems like if it was simply made up, why not say so?
Bill Clinton has never retracted my claim that he took a **** on my porch despite repeated letters asking him to do so. Accordingly, it's indisputable that Bill Clinton took a **** on my porch.
 

marduc

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Well, he never retracted the statement despite repeated requests to do so. Seems like if it was simply made up, why not say so?
That is right up there with "Beck has not denied raping and killing that little girl in 1990"
 

Hoplite

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Well, he never retracted the statement despite repeated requests to do so. Seems like if it was simply made up, why not say so?
As much of a d-bag as I consider Curious George to be, it's not his responsibility to rebuff every false quote and made up story.
 

WilliamJB

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I don't know why it's so hard to believe that he would have said that. Nixon is on tape saying all sorts of crazy **** that most people ignore, so it doesn't seem out of the realm of possibility.

But, be that as it may, I was really more interested in what people thought of this sentiment and how it relates to Uncle Glenn's speech on Saturday. It seems to me that the constant references to "getting back to god," "our Christian values," etc. (I don't know if those are direct quotes, but you get the idea) necessarily excludes a large portion of the American public. I wonder if this exclusion is intentional, or simply his honest belief that only "Judeo-Christian" values can "save the Republic"?
 

Jetboogieman

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I don't know why it's so hard to believe that he would have said that. Nixon is on tape saying all sorts of crazy **** that most people ignore, so it doesn't seem out of the realm of possibility.
I don't live in the realm of possiblity, I live in the realm of fact.

Who gives a **** what Nixon said? He ain't Bush.

But, be that as it may, I was really more interested in what people thought of this sentiment and how it relates to Uncle Glenn's speech on Saturday. It seems to me that the constant references to "getting back to god," "our Christian values," etc. (I don't know if those are direct quotes, but you get the idea) necessarily excludes a large portion of the American public. I wonder if this exclusion is intentional, or simply his honest belief that only "Judeo-Christian" values can "save the Republic"?
Yeah that whole thing is stupid. Going "back to god"... for what? Is he gonna reduce the deficit and all of a sudden provide victory in Afghanistan :2razz:
 

TurtleDude

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Its like asking can a ballerina enjoy watching football or can a catholic prefer chips over pretzals

its a non issue

I know most of the founders of the federalist society and the four I knew were not exactly church (or temple) goers
yet they are extremely patriotic
 

Hoplite

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I don't know why it's so hard to believe that he would have said that. Nixon is on tape saying all sorts of crazy **** that most people ignore, so it doesn't seem out of the realm of possibility.
I agree, however I have no reason to suppose he DIDNT wear women's underwear. Seems like the kind of thing he'd do, he's an Evengelical which means he probably had a serious case of sexual repression, and, seriously have you ever had sex with a hardcore Evangelical? Frickin' CRAZY! The similarity between your statement and my theory is that neither are supported by reliable information and thus must be discarded as viable ideas.
 

TheGirlNextDoor

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Can atheists be patriotic Americans?

Yes, we can.

I could give a flying rats ass what GWB or Beck says - their points (or lack of) are irrelevant. Politicians and pundits have a tendancy to speak out of both sides of their mouths and trying to give credibility to what one says by example of another is a complete waste of time.
 

tacomancer

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Religion and Nationalism can have as much or as little to do with each other as each person desires and both still be completely valid.
 

RightinNYC

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I don't know why it's so hard to believe that he would have said that.
I don't know why it's so hard to understand that "he didn't deny it so he must have done it" is really terrible logic.

Nixon is on tape saying all sorts of crazy **** that most people ignore, so it doesn't seem out of the realm of possibility.
"One person once said some things that were controversial on tape, so it's not out of the realm of possibility that another person once said something that was also controversial."

But, be that as it may, I was really more interested in what people thought of this sentiment and how it relates to Uncle Glenn's speech on Saturday. It seems to me that the constant references to "getting back to god," "our Christian values," etc. (I don't know if those are direct quotes, but you get the idea) necessarily excludes a large portion of the American public. I wonder if this exclusion is intentional, or simply his honest belief that only "Judeo-Christian" values can "save the Republic"?
I'm unaware of any statement from this event that is even remotely similar to the made up quote in your OP. If you actually wanted to have a discussion about the things that were said this weekend, one would think that you'd include some quotes.
 

Coronado

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Well, he never retracted the statement despite repeated requests to do so. Seems like if it was simply made up, why not say so?
How does a person retract a statement they never made?
 

Harshaw

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I don't know why it's so hard to believe that he would have said that.
Probably because it doesn't sound like anything he would have said -- not in substance, and not in language cadence, either. It wasn't an idea he'd ever expressed before, and he simply didn't speak the way he's quoted. He would not have used those words to express those ideas.
 

Ikari

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Bill Clinton has never retracted my claim that he took a **** on my porch despite repeated letters asking him to do so. Accordingly, it's indisputable that Bill Clinton took a **** on my porch.
He did. I told him to light it on fire and right your doorbell...but he was high and looking for a twinkie.
 

Coronado

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He did. I told him to light it on fire and right your doorbell...but he was high and looking for a twinkie.
It was probably Robert Reich. You can never trust midgets.
 

WilliamJB

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I'm unaware of any statement from this event that is even remotely similar to the made up quote in your OP. If you actually wanted to have a discussion about the things that were said this weekend, one would think that you'd include some quotes.
Oh, come now, RightinNYC, you really didn't hear anything remotely close to that at the 8/28 rally? I haven't found written transcripts of the speech yet, but feel free to listen:

Glenn Beck - Current Events & Politics - Glenn Beck's 8/28 Restoring Honor Keynote Speech

Or just as a quick sound-bite:

"Something beyond imagination is happening," he [Beck] told participants who packed the National Mall in Washington. "America today begins to turn back to God. For too long, this country has wandered in darkness."
 
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