Monday, January 31, 2011

Walter Hudson contradicts himself on atheist politicians

Walter Hudson, co-founder of Minnesota's North Star Tea Party Patriots, is surprised at Teresa Scanlan, the 17-year-old young woman who won the 2011 Miss America title.  The beauty queen was asked during competition if she would vote for an atheist, and Scanlan replied, 'Yes.'

Hudson cites an online poll at the website God Discusssion, where a refreshing 93% of respondents agreed with Ms. Scanlan, and 5% replying they would not vote for an atheist.  But he takes pride in siding with the extreme minority:
I must admit, I am among the 5% who, in this hypothetical context, would not vote for an atheist. There is a very practical and wholly irreligious reason.


Hudson goes on to cite the old canard that atheists can't enforce law because they don't acknowledge the source of Natural Law--meaning Hudson's version of God--as spelled out in the Declaration of Independence. What Hudson doesn't appear to realize--or doesn't want his readers to know--is the the Declaration of Independence is not a legal document for the United States, and thus has no bearing on our laws or lawmakers. The Declaration was little more than a letter written to a king, establishing a moral argument why the American colonies should break free from English rule. It's an important historical document, to be sure, but no one should be citing it for legal arguments anymore than they should be perusing it for baked chicken recipes or how to construct a windmill.

So having set up a strawman for him to take a firm stand against, Hudson goes on to contradict himself by saying that despite one's religious views, a candidate's political views trumps all:

Again, we’re talking about a hypothetical situation where all else is equal. Surely, if my choice were between a professing believer who is also a socialist and an atheist Tea Party candidate, I would vote for the latter.


I suspect Hudson is confused. He'll vote for the Tea Party candidate, even if he believes they don't know right from wrong.

2 comments:

fightinwordsusa said...

It's quite apparent that you did not comprehend my post. Clearly, you were too busy imputing ideas that I neither explicitly conveyed nor implied.

I never said I was "surprised" by Scanlan's response. In point of fact, it doesn't surprise me at all.

Why should I be ashamed of identifying with the minority in God Discussion's unscientific poll? Is there something about siding with the majority that imbues one's opinion with greater merit?

Talk about a strawman (a term you misapply, by the way, as I explicitly stated I was speaking to a hypothetical). The post is right there! You can quote it directly. Where did I say, "atheists can't enforce law?" What I actually said was, "While it is possible for an atheist to still affirm these rights, their inability to acknowledge a divine source removes the essential authority upon which those rights are based. In other words, if you do not believe there is a God whose act of creation established the natural law, any affirmation of that law is merely your opinion. It carries no more weight than the next guy who believes his arbitrarily defined social class is inherently superior." That is substantively different from saying atheists can't enforce the law.

As for your point about the Declaration not being applicable to legal arguments, I'm not making a legal argument! I'm sharing my justification for making a personal decision in a voting booth! Regardless, the Declaration and the Constitution are inseparable in interpreting the intent of the latter.

Finally, my statement that I would vote for Tea Party atheist over a socialist believer was in no way contradictory to my previous statement that "if all else were equal" I would not vote for an atheist.

You really need to work on your reading comprehension.

Tommy Holland said...


I never said I was "surprised" by Scanlan's response.


That you mentioned it all tells me that you found the comment, and nothing else she said, to be remarkable.

Why should I be ashamed of identifying with the minority in God Discussion's unscientific poll? Is there something about siding with the majority that imbues one's opinion with greater merit?

That would depend on what the opinion is.

Where did I say, "atheists can't enforce law?"

You are correct, and I used the wrong term to summarize your point. My apologies.

if you do not believe there is a God whose act of creation established the natural law, any affirmation of that law is merely your opinion.

And what is your evidence that there is such a God or that there is such a natural law? In years past, it was natural for blacks to be discriminated against and enslaved. Today, in the US, that's no longer the case. Was the natural law established by God amended somehow in the last two centuries?

The laws of this country are available for view by any citizen; where can we look up this Natural Law to examine for ourselves the proper position about some thorny ethical issue?

Regardless, the Declaration and the Constitution are inseparable in interpreting the intent of the latter.

What is your basis for that? There is no mention of one document in the other. The Declaration's only mention of any rights we have are "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," none of which are mentioned in the Constitution. The Constitution is even more godless than the Declaration (which only mentions in passing 'the Creator,' reflecting the deism of the document's framers.)