According to Fox contributor and Catholic priest Father Jonathan Morris, an atheist wouldn’t be a suitable presidential candidate because it was “hard to trust” a person who didn’t fear eternal damnation.
Speaking of the Republican presidential clown posse (c/o 2016, woot!) on Sunday’s show, the good father told the host of Fox & Friends, “One thing is very certain, you can’t fake religion.”
Which, of course, is a bald faced lie, but we’ll let that pass. He continued:
Politicians sometimes fall into that, I think. What matters most to us Americans — those who will be voting — is what these guys said before they were running for president, the way in which they lived before they started running for president.
I think they need to be very clear about the values they believe in, not making stuff up in order to get votes. And then people will say, ‘Even if I disagree with some of his beliefs, I like the fact that I can trust him to be who he says he is.’
Morris said that anything that didn’t “inform” a public official’s life was not faith “because faith is a set of beliefs.”
It’s a belief in God, it’s a belief that there are eternal consequences for your actions. And I think that a leader that doesn’t have that — a set of core beliefs that help him to make justice an important part of his life and his decisions because he knows that there are eternal consequences, well, it’s somebody that it’s hard to trust
Peter Johnson Jr., one of the Fox hosts, wondered whether voters should be judging people based on their faith, saying, “For example, if someone running for president is an atheist. Are they qualified to be the president.”
Morris answered: “You know, I would say faith is not the most important thing, but wisdom. But yes, it certainly makes a difference who that person is.”
A belief in Hell engenders an infantile form of moral nihilism, full stop. This morality only matters because there’s a jackbooted supernatural thug with a big stick threatening to hurt you if you don’t follow it. If that thug arbitrary decides that something isn’t moral — say, loving your gay neighbor — then you follow that dictum. Not because it’s got any sort of social usefulness to it, or because it increases net happiness and makes the world a better place, but because the bully said so, and the bully has a stick, and the bully will abuse you if you don’t do exactly what he says.
And we already determined, during the Nuremberg Trials, “I was just following orders” isn’t an excuse for socially harmful behavior.
This isn’t to say lacking a belief in Hell automatically makes you a good person — because it doesn’t. However, having a belief in Hell is incompatible with adult morality. It’s even incompatible with proper moral nihilism.
You can watch the remarks below:
[h/t and cover picture RS]