"It might may [sic] no difference, but for KY and WVA can we get someone to ask his belief. Does he believe in a God. He had skated on saying he has a Jewish heritage. I think I read he is an atheist. This could make several points difference with my peeps. My Southern Baptist peeps would draw a big difference between a Jew and an atheist."Last February, I had a post "'Why Not Question Trump’s Faith?'/Why not question everything everyone asserts about religion?" — after an NRO writer (Kevin D. Williamson) questioned whether Donald Trump's faith. I said (boldface added):
I'm inclined to think we should judge each candidate in proportion to how much he or she relies on religion. If someone forefronts sanctimony, we should examine whether it's a lie. But if a candidate takes a minimal position — claiming a faith but grounding himself in morality that can exist apart from religion (which is what Trump does) — there's nothing to delve into. If it's a lie, it's an insignificant social lie, like saying you love your wife when your feelings have in fact gone cold.Last March, I had a post — "How would you recognize an atheist if one appeared in American presidential politics?" — that looked at something Sanders said in a debate. Anderson Cooper prompted him to talk about religion, asking him whether he keeps his "Judaism in the background." Sanders said "No. I am very proud to be Jewish, and being Jewish is so much of what I am." But he proceeded to talk about his Jewishness in terms of history and culture — not religious belief. I was struck by the "absence of forthright atheism":
There are no visible atheists or even agnostics at the presidential level of American politics. Do you want to start outing them? Maybe Bernie Sanders. He might be an atheist. What do you think? Want to try to smoke him out? He said:
“I am not actively involved with organized religion... I think everyone believes in God in their own ways... To me, it means that all of us are connected, all of life is connected, and that we are all tied together.”To my ear, that sounds like an effort to say: Even atheists believe in God... in our own way. A mystical attitude toward all of humanity counts as belief in God.
How would you recognize an atheist if one appeared in American presidential politics? He probably would speak of his family and ethnic background, showing respect and making a connection to a religious tradition, and he would present himself as a moral person with the same kind of values embraced by Americans who find those values in religion. He's not going to say "Look, I'm an atheist. There is no God. I believe in science. And as President, I will consult science, not this 'God' my opponent keeps talking about."ADDED: Maybe Brad Marshall read the Althouse blog: "I think I read he is an atheist." Written in May 2016, after my posts.
AND: "can we get someone to ask"... Anderson Cooper asked. Correlation, not necessarily causation.