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Ted Cruz: Atheists Aren’t Fit To Be President

Ted Cruz

Ted Cruz says that people who don’t believe in a supreme being are not fit to be President of the United States:

Presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said Friday that he believes anyone who wants to be president must fear God and pray daily.

Speaking at the National Religious Liberties Conference in Iowa, Cruz joined other GOP presidential candidates for a discussion about the persecution of Christians in the U.S. and around the world. After some very extreme, very weird comments about homosexuality, right-wing pastor Kevin Swanson introduced Cruz to the stage to ask him how important it was for candidates to submit to Jesus Christ as “the king of the President of the United States.”

“Any president who doesn’t begin every day on his knees isn’t fit to be commander-in-chief of this country,” responded Cruz.

Christianity has long been a part of Cruz’s political identity. Since his election to the U.S. Senate in 2012, Cruz has been a regular feature at conservative Christian gatherings and on radio programs, where he’s repeatedly taken on “radical atheists and liberals,” whom he’s accused of trying to strip religion out of the public sphere. His father, Rafael Cruz, is an evangelical pastor who has attracted controversy over the past few years with scathing anti-gay sermons and attacks on “Kenyan socialist” President Barack Obama.

(…)

Atheists are one of the most politically underrepresented groups in the U.S. According to the most recent Pew survey on religious affiliation, about 3 percent of Americans identify as atheist and 4 percent identify as “agnostic,” all part of the nearly 23 percent who say they’re “unaffiliated” with any particular religion. Despite those numbers, there are no openly atheistmembers of Congress, and only a handful of U.S. politicians who identify as unaffiliated, or who have chosen not to identify a specific religion.

While Cruz’s remarks about the political viability of nonbelievers may be more of a personal opinion than a legal analysis, his views aren’t out of line with the American mainstream. A Gallup poll published earlier this year found that only 58 percent of Americans would vote for an atheist presidential candidate, a 4 percent increase from a similar survey in 2012.

Here’s the video of Cruz’s remarks:

These comments by Cruz aren’t entirely unsurprising, of course. Like many other Republicans and many of his fellow candidates for President, Cruz has built his political career in no small part by appealing to evangelical Christian voter and other groups for whom religious issues seem to trump nearly everything else in the political sphere. He also isn’t the first candidate in the race for the Republican nomination to exclude an entire school of thought on the subject of religion from eligibility for the White House. Back in September, Ben Carson stated that Americans should never elect a Muslim President because of their alleged loyalty to “Sharia Law” over the Constitution and the laws of the United States. After his remarks were widely condemned, Carson attempted to explain his remarks by saying that “Sharia Law” was incompatible with the Constitution and that no person who adhered to it could be trusted with political power, Obviously, as the polls have shown us, Carson wasn’t hurt at all by the controversy surrounding his remarks, indeed he only seems to have become more popular since that time. Unfortunately, the same thing is likely to happen with Senator Cruz in the wake of these remarks, at least not with the audience for whom they were intended and the people who are likely to vote in Republican primaries. Even beyond the Republican Party, though, it’s unlikely to hurt Cruz at all. The Gallup survey cited above that showed that Americans said they are more likely to vote for a Muslim, openly gay, Mormon, or Jewish candidate for President they are to vote for an atheist. The only type of candidate included in the survey that scored lower than atheists were socialists, which is bad news for Bernie Sanders of course but hardly a surprise given the nature of American politics.

Cruz’s assertions in his comments are utterly absurd and an excellent example of the kind of intolerance common among evangelical Christians. The implications, of course, is that an atheist or agnostic does not have the proper moral guideposts to be a political leader, but this simply isn’t true and neither is the assertion that people who have religious faith can be trust to act in accordance even with their own morality. Numerous philosophers from a wide variety of traditions have demonstrated quite effectively, for example, that morality is not necessarily dependent on religious faith, and the idea that human beings can only be moral out of fear of eternal punishment essentially means that people only cat morally out of fear not because they believe it to be the right thing to do. Additionally, history is replete with plenty of examples of people committing utter atrocities in the name of religion and even our own recent history of political leaders shows us that politicians who profess to have religious faith often act quite differently from how that faith requires, whether in personal matters or in the policies they advocate. Beyond that, the idea that entire classes of people should be considered ineligible for political office because of their religious faith or lack thereof is nothing more than an excellent example of the kind of intolerance that Christians such as Cruz and those he is speaking to claim, usually with no good reason, that they are subjected to by America’s allegedly “secular” society. It’s of a piece with the kind of religious bigotry one sees from the likes of Kim Davis and other opponents of equal rights for people based solely on the fact that a certain group of people act in a way that they believe to be “immoral.” It is, in other words, bigotry plain and simple.

As I said, Cruz is unlikely to be harmed by remarks like this and indeed it may help him with the group of voters he is appealing to. All that does is confirm how poisonous his rhetoric, and their beliefs, actually are.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Mu says:

    Can’t wait for Trump’s “an American president kneels to no one, Cruz stands for losers” reply.

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  2. Mikey says:

    Well, I think anyone who starts the day genuflecting before an entirely fictional invisible magic man in the sky isn’t fit to be President, so I guess Cruz and I are even.

    Or maybe we could swap out “on his knees” for “facing Mecca” and see how this moron feels about it.

    But really, I don’t much care most of the time. Plenty of Americans profess belief in a deity and it doesn’t affect my life one way or the other–to quote Jefferson, “it neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.” And I don’t really mean my first statement above, I will certainly vote for a professing Christian (or Jew or Muslim or Hindu) for the Presidency if I believe they would be a good President.

    Of course when the Ted Cruz-es of the world start asserting my lack of belief is a disqualifier for the Presidency–a sentiment which clearly contradicts the spirit of the Constitution’s explicit ban on religious tests–I will have something to say.

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  3. grumpy realist says:

    Sounds like Cruz is mad that enough attention isn’t being paid to him.

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  4. legion says:

    …neither are Canadians, Ted.

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  5. Steve Hynd says:

    Some journalist should ask Ted if he believes he’s the Anointed King like his dad keeps saying he is.

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  6. Modulo Myself says:

    Actually, if there’s one class of humans unqualified to be President of the United States it’s Christians.

    Consider:

    “If thou will be perfect go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor and thou shalt have treasure in heaven.”

    Or:

    “But I say unto you, that ye resist not evil: whosever shall smite thee on they right cheek turn to him the other also.”

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  7. C. Clavin says:

    Of course Crux was there…as was Huckabee and Jindal…the National Religious Liberties Conference is organized by Kevin Swanson;

    a far-right pastor who has frequently claimed that the government should put gay people to death, warned that the Girl Scouts and the movie “Frozen” turn girls into lesbians and blamed natural disasters on gay people and women who wear pants.
    Kevin-Swanson_has also said that churches accepting gay couples will lead to the persecution, imprisonment and murder of Christians, and opined for the good ole days when country singer Kacey Musgraves would have been hung for her pro-gay lyrics.

    Clearly a very Christian organization.

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  8. Lit3Bolt says:

    I almost wish Ted Cruz would be elected president, just for his followers to realize he’s just another corporate tool…wait, one of those will never happen.

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  9. Grewgills says:

    “Any president who doesn’t begin every day on his knees isn’t fit to be commander-in-chief of this country,” responded Cruz.

    More juvenile humor lighting my day.

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  10. Davebo says:

    So let’s see. No Muslims, no Atheists, I assume no Hindu’s or Buddhists.

    What is left for Ben and Ted?

    By the way, Ben and Ted’s excellent adventure would make for a great movie title.

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  11. An Interested Party says:

    It never ceases to amaze me how so many so-called “Christians” are completely and totally clueless about the messages supposedly delivered by Christ…if Jesus was around today he would go into many of these churches and start busting things up…

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  12. gVOR08 says:

    @Davebo: Really get down to it, they probably don’t much trust Jews, or even Catholics.

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  13. gVOR08 says:

    @An Interested Party: I tend to think of them as functionally Jewish. They seem way more into the Old Testament wrath of God stuff than into the hippy stuff in the New Testament. Harder for a rich man to enter heaven than for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle indeed! What nonsense. Although they do seem to regard the bit about the poor being among us always as a commandment, not an observation.

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  14. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    Whenever I hear the phrase “persecution of Christians in the US,” I have to chuckle. It’s so ludicrous.

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  15. Kylopod says:

    @gVOR08: Jews are kind of the “honorary Aryans” of the religious right.

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  16. gVOR08 says:

    @Steve Hynd:

    Some journalist should ask Ted if he believes he’s the Anointed King like his dad keeps saying he is.

    Your link is really scary. Seems obvious to me that someone who is expecting the “End Times” in a few years really, really should not be trusted with nuclear launch codes. But the supposedly liberal MSM won’t touch this dominionist holy roller stuff.

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  17. Stan Bloch says:

    I think that he wants to make the White House into a church. What a schmuck.

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  18. Turgid Jacobian says:

    Ted Cruz: Atheists Aren’t Fit To Be President

    If anyone would know all about being unfit to be President…

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  19. gVOR08 says:

    @Kylopod: See @gVOR08: and follow Steve Hynd’s link. These are very strange people and any common cause with Jews is way more complicated than regarding them as “honorary Aryans”. Which, incidentally, sounds uncomfortably like the rationalizations Nazi racial theorists went through to justify alliance with Japan. That the Japanese, while clearly inferior to Aryans, were acceptable temporarily as sort of the Aryans of Asia.

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  20. An Interested Party says:

    Jews are kind of the “honorary Aryans” of the religious right.

    Well of course, considering that in their warped world view, the existence of Israel will help usher in the End Times…what schmucks…

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  21. Kylopod says:

    @gVOR08: I think there always was a sense that if the Nazis and the Japanese had both gotten their way and taken over their respective parts of the world, they would have eventually duked it out with each other. And they both knew it.

    I get a similar feel when I listen to the “alliance” between right-wing Christians and right-wing Jews. I was reading a piece by Norman Podhoretz, that godfather of neoconservatism, a few years back, and he seemed to admit there was some level of underlying anti-Semitism on the Christian Right; he just felt it was benign compared with the hostility toward Israel he saw on the left. Like my mother, Podhoretz attended public schools as a kid where he was forced to recite Christian prayers and hymns. Unlike my mom, he didn’t think it was a big deal. He seems to see it as the price Jews must pay to earn the protection of their Christian hosts.

    As a liberal Jewish Zionist, I have several reactions to this. First, I don’t agree with the maximalist positions on Israel espoused by Christian conservatives, even though many right-wing Jews do; I think they have done more harm than good to Israel.

    Second, the right’s anti-Semitism isn’t simply some abstraction but has an impact in the real world. The right tends to show little respect for the rights of religious minorities in general, and while they make a point of carving out an exception for Jews, it’s very tenuous in practice. For example, a few years back Jewish groups across the religious and political spectrum had to oppose an anti-Sharia bill in Florida, realizing it would impact the ability of Jews to keep religious courts.

    From what I can see, Democrats in the US are, for the most past, friendlier to Jews than Republicans are, both in terms of religious rights and the State of Israel. There are anti-Israel and anti-Jewish factions on the left, but I don’t think they have any more influence on the mainstream party than the Ron Paul and Pat Buchanan people have on the right.

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  22. stonetools says:

    This is a man who gloried in in his role at turning back the drive for modest gun safety legislation after Sandy Hook, virtually dancing the graves of the children.Senator Murphy of Connecticut blasted him here:

    Calling it “sick” and saying it made him “want to throw up” a senator from Connecticut ripped into Republican presidential contender Sen. Ted Cruz and a PAC that supports him over an ad using the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary school as a reason to support his candidacy.

    According to the Hartford Courant, Sen Chris Murphy (D-CT) issued a blistering statement condemning the ad that trades on the deaths of the 26 people — 20 of them children — to commend Cruz for standing up for gun rights after the horrific mass shooting.

    “If Ted Cruz wants to brandish his pro-gun credentials to Republican primary voters, that’s his right,” Murphy said. “But it’s sick that he thinks he’ll win votes by specifically pointing out that in the wake of 20 dead first-graders, he was the face of the fight to ensure no action was taken to stop more deranged killers from walking into elementary schools with military-style assault weapons loaded with 30-round clips of ammunition.”

    The man is a total a$$hole, and the sad thing about it is-he could get elected President. Apparently, there are lot of a$$holes in the USA.

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  23. Guarneri says:

    @An Interested Party:

    Been chat’n with him haveya??

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  24. Kyle Huckins says:

    Most people feel the same way about complete assholes Ted, Doesn’t bode well for you but keep trying to angle for the Trump VP slot.

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  25. An Interested Party says:

    Been chat’n with him haveya??

    Don’t need to…the words attributed to him paint a message that prominent Christians like Cruz don’t seem to be following…

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  26. steve says:

    GO read the weird comments link. If you try pointing out that there really are conservatives who believe stuff like that, you will be told you are stereotyping and no one believes that stuff anymore.

    Steve

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  27. stonetools says:

    A conservative who rises to power by advocating for the rich and powerful and demonizing minorities. That never happens, right?

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  28. M. Bouffant says:

    @C. Clavin: Here is Pastor Swanson on a roll at the convention, then introducing the candidates. The “fun” starts at (5:55).

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  29. C. Clavin says:

    Here’s Donald Trump, yesterday:

    “If I become president, we’re all going to be saying Merry Christmas again, that I can tell you.”

    Apparently there is a little problem with the 1st Amendment in the Republican Party.

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  30. Franklin says:

    There were two articles on Slate, yesterday and today, demonstrating that Cruz really does have a decent chance to be the Republican nominee. His fundraising is second only to the floundering Bush, and his primary supporters eat that above statement up. His campaign is nationwide, etc.

    Once he’s the nominee, the only thing preventing him from gaining the White House is a halfway decent economy.

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  31. Franklin says:

    @M. Bouffant: Hey, what’s the problem? The good pastor specifically said he is not calling for the death penalty for gays *today* …

    /wow, that was eye-opening

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  32. Mikey says:

    @Franklin:

    Once he’s the nominee, the only thing preventing him from gaining the White House is a halfway decent economy.

    Well, and the fact he’s slightly less likable than cancer.

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  33. Sherparick says:

    At this very point, Swanson was preaching that Bible commanded Christians to punish homosexuals with death, and the only reason he would not make that the law right now is order to give them an opportunity to repent. Cruz, Huckabee, and Jindal then all went on the platform with him and promised that they would implement “Biblical Law” as the highest authority. So much for all the horror about “Sharia Law.” http://www.rightwingwatch.org/issues/religious-liberty-0 and http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show

    I somehow don’t think any of these guys got the memorandum of “he who is without sin, cast the first stone.”

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  34. Sherparick says:

    Doug, if you find yourself next November facing a choice between Hilary Clinton and Ted Cruz, I expect you may consider the Canadian emigration option:-). The e-mail story seems more and more a big nothing to me.

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  35. Franklin says:

    @Mikey: To you and me, definitely. But after watching that video, I’m not sure what kind of people are in this country.

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  36. Mr. Prosser says:

    @gVOR08: “Although they do seem to regard the bit about the poor being among us always as a commandment, not an observation.” Thanks for that, made my morning.

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  37. al-Ameda says:

    Has anyone else noticed that Canada has been on a very prosperous path since the Cruz family left Canada?

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  38. Jenos Idanian says:

    This is intolerable. How dare Cruz say that atheists shouldn’t be allowed to run for president? That’s just downright…

    Wait. He didn’t say that? He just expressed an opinion? Much like “no evangelical Christian is fit to be president” or “no climate change denier is fit to be president” or “no racist is fit to be president?” Is that it?

    What a complete and total nothingburger.

    Which makes me wonder: is it more insulting to say that Obama is a Christian (who talks to his invisible magic friend in the sky), or to say he’s not a Christian, despite what he says whenever asked or it’s convenient?

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  39. Mikey says:

    @Jenos Idanian: An opinion that so clearly demonstrates contempt for an important part of the Constitution isn’t a “nothingburger.”

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  40. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Mikey: Learn the difference between “is fit” and “should be allowed.”

    By law, I am perfectly qualified to be president. I meet all the Constitutional requirements. So, if someone says that I am “unfit” to be president, are they also demonstrating Constitutional ignorance?

    I don’t think Hillary Clinton is fit to be president. I also think she is perfectly legally qualified to be president. I think Obama is unfit to be president, but perfectly legally qualified to be president, and duly elected twice (despite some shenanigans).

    Stop soiling your nappies whenever someone you don’t like expresses an opinion you don’t like. You sound like a Yale student, for Christ’s sake.

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  41. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Sherparick: They all hold to sanctification as a second definitive work of grace, it seems. Which makes Huckabee more interesting because Baptists specifically don’t believe that.

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  42. Mikey says:

    @Jenos Idanian: Whatever. Obviously I know the difference between “is fit” and “should be allowed,” and I am entirely aware Cruz is not advocating actually banning atheists running for President.

    None of that changes the fact his opinion demonstrates contempt for Constitutional principle. He’s not saying someone is unfit for the Presidency because they are inexperienced, or incompetent, or would promote policies that could damage the country. He’s saying they’re unfit because they aren’t religious.

    Maybe there are some things in all that between which YOU should learn the difference.

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  43. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Mikey: He didn’t advocate changing or breaking the rules, he expressed an opinion about how people should exercise their judgment. He doesn’t think an atheist would be a good president, and for him that’s a deal-breaker.

    I disagree with him, but he has the right to hold that opinion.

    Personally, I don’t think Hillary is fit to be president. She owes her political career to being her husband’s doormat, she has pretty much zero for actual personal accomplishments, is a chronic liar, wildly corrupt, and in general a vile human being. And I question the intelligence and/or sanity of anyone who would be happy with her as president.

    But she’s perfectly legally qualified to be president.

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  44. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Mikey: Do you think Donald Trump or Ben Carson are fit to be president? Why or why not?

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  45. Kylopod says:

    @Jenos Idanian: Let’s say Cruz had stated explicitly that he doesn’t believe Jews are fit to be president. Would your reaction in this thread be the same? Would you say “I disagree with him, but he has the right to hold that opinion” and then spend the rest of your energy parsing the difference between “is fit” and “should be allowed” and comparing it to making a judgment about an individual’s fitness for office?

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  46. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Kylopod: Let’s say Cruz had stated explicitly that he doesn’t believe Jews are fit to president.

    No, let’s not say that. Let’s stick with what he actually said.

    But if Cruz had said such a thing, he would have every right to say it. I would also welcome him saying it, because it would be so utterly self-destructive. I think that it would be more likely for a Democrat to say it, as Republicans get tarred as “Likudniks” and subservient to Israel; it’s the Democrats that are making such a stink about standing up to and cutting off Israel. I can easily see a Democrat declaring that anyone who would not stand up to Israel and renounce our long support for Israel as unfit to be president.

    But yes, I’d welcome it. I love seeing blatant displays of hatred and bigotry. It makes it so easy to identify the real bigots and haters (as opposed to calling anyone who disagrees with you as a “hater” or a “-phobe” or “bigot”), and their immediate self-destruction is wonderfully entertaining.

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  47. Mikey says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    He doesn’t think an atheist would be a good president

    No, he said an atheist is UNFIT to be President. There’s a huge, yawning gulf between the two, and all the spin you want to apply won’t close it.

    He’s basically saying a person who could potentially be the greatest President in American history is unfit based on the single factor of non-belief. He would disregard everything about the person–their experience, their competence, their aptitude, their ability to communicate–and disqualify them, out-of-hand, based on something that has absolutely zero relevance. It’s the basest bigotry.

    Do you think Donald Trump or Ben Carson are fit to be president? Why or why not?

    Of course they’re fit. Why wouldn’t they be? Trump’s a pandering blowhard and Carson inflated his biography, but that doesn’t automatically disqualify them the way non-belief would in Cruz’s eyes.

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  48. Jim R says:

    @Mu:

    Can’t wait for Trump’s “an American president kneels to no one, Cruz stands for losers” reply.

    And for once he would be correct

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  49. Grewgills says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    But yes, I’d welcome it. I love seeing blatant displays of hatred and bigotry. It makes it so easy to identify the real bigots and haters

    Well, at least you have admitted that Cruz is a bigot. That is a big step for you. Congratulations.

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  50. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Mikey: It’s the basest bigotry.

    Yes, it’s bigotry. But the basest? REALLY? Worse than “no woman is fit to be president?” “No black man is fit to be president?” “No gay person is fit to be president?”

    No, I take that back. I won’t agree it’s “bigotry.” I’d call it “discrimination.” Because, sometimes, “discriminating” can be a positive thing. Saying someone has “discriminating taste” is a compliment — or, at least, it used to be. And “discriminate” simply means “to make or constitute a distinction in or between; differentiate.”

    We discriminate all the time. I discriminate against Pepsi in favor of Coke. I discriminate against men when I seek amorous companionship. I discriminate against staunch Evangelicals when I wish to discuss matters that may or may not have a spiritual aspect. I discriminate against wr and cliffy here because they’re so abusively stupid, and against anjin for his/her/its chronic evasiveness and dishonesty.

    There is nothing innately wrong about “discriminating,” and there are degrees of badness when it’s used badly.

    When you rush so indiscriminately to use the superlative, you dilute the actual power of the terms and make yourself look like a hysterical fool.

    Not “The worst type of hysterical fool,” of course, but still a hysterical fool.

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  51. Mikey says:

    @Jenos Idanian: Yes. It’s the basest bigotry. It reduces an individual to a single factor and dismisses them from eligibility based on that factor alone. It doesn’t get much baser than that.

    But you’re entirely free to keep making fatuous excuses for it.

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  52. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Mikey: So bigotry against atheists is worse than bigotry against gays or women or blacks or conservatives or any other group.

    It’s certainly your right to hold that belief, but I think it’s a pretty stupid one. And I will defend your right to hold what I see as an incredibly stupid belief. (But not the stupidest!!!!)

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  53. Kylopod says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    No, let’s not say that. Let’s stick with what he actually said.

    Why should we? What is the fundamental difference other than that singling out Jews would offend far more people?

    Just to be clear, I am Jewish and not an atheist. The problem isn’t which group he singled out for being unfit for the presidency, it’s that he was singling out a group at all. Calling out an individual candidate as unfit is one thing. Calling out an entire group based on whether or how they worship is one of the cornerstones of bigotry.

    That’s what’s missing from your analysis of Cruz’s remarks. You aren’t outraged by what he said, you merely “disagree” with it, as if he had simply taken a different position than you on tariff policy. But at the prospect of his directing his comments at Jews, suddenly it falls into the category of “blatant displays of hatred and bigotry.” To you, singling out Jews as unfit for office is categorically worse than singling out atheists–and I’d like to know why.

    I think that it would be more likely for a Democrat to say it

    I’ve never heard of a Democratic official or candidate suggesting that Jews are unfit for public office. I have heard it on occasion from Republicans–like former Florida Sec. of State and Congress member Katherine Harris, who in 2006 suggested that only Christians should hold public office. Considering her greatest claim to fame was stopping a recount that could have resulted in the first Jewish vice president of the US, it puts a rather sinister pall over her actions in 2000.

    For that matter, while Cruz doesn’t explicitly say Jews (or other non-Christians) are unfit for office, I think that’s exactly what he’s insinuating.

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  54. Pinky says:

    Jenos, you’re having the same conversation as Doug is elsewhere. The subject is different, but the point of contention is the same: how can you defend something if its outcome isn’t what you want? “Because the thing I’m defending is correct” doesn’t seem to be an accepted answer.

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  55. C. Clavin says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    I discriminate against men when I seek amorous companionship.

    Muwahahahahhahahahahahahahhahahahahahahah

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  56. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Do you think Donald Trump or Ben Carson are fit to be president? Why or why not?

    “Fit to be President”? Completely subjective.

    Republicans might well nominate a guy who has a great somewhat fictionalized life story, is a well-regarded neurosurgeon, and who believes that the Earth is 6,00 years old and Obamacare (ACA) = worst thing since slavery. I personally don’t think that that makes Carson “fit to be president” but, it does not matter.

    Ted Cruz? I think he has the personality type of Nixon, but without Nixon’s warmth and political skills. “Fit?” Not to me, but irrelevant.

    All that anyone needs – Trump, Carson, Palin, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders … anyone – is to win their Party nomination and get 270 electoral votes.

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  57. DrDaveT says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    So bigotry against atheists is worse than bigotry against gays or women or blacks or conservatives or any other group.

    No, it’s exactly as bad as bigotry against gays or women or blacks, because it’s the same thing. (I’d have to see an actual instance of discrimination against conservatives to judge whether it, too, is the same thing. If by ‘conservative’ you mean someone who acts like Ted Cruz, then I’d say any contempt is earned…)

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  58. Mikey says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    So bigotry against atheists is worse than bigotry against gays or women or blacks or conservatives or any other group.

    No, it’s the same. You are drawing an inference from the word “basest” which is causing you to misinterpret my comment. All of the above are examples of the basest bigotry.

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  59. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Pinky: It’s largely my fault. I keep forgetting that, to the left, respecting someone’s right to choose means you endorse what they choose. That people only have the right to choose from left-approved choices. You can choose between A or B. Should you want C, or simply neither A nor B — that’s not acceptable.

    Or if it’s not outright banned, it’s heavily punished.

    Suppose I have a large family. I want a large vehicle to transport them. I want that vehicle to be safe, and I want it to have enough engine power to move in what I consider an adequate fashion. To me, gas mileage is a very low priority — I can live with it getting very poor mileage, as I have higher priorities.

    I could get such a vehicle — but I will also pay a “gas guzzler” tax on it. Further, the government will make it hard for me to get such a vehicle, because they are imposing higher and higher gas mileage standards on the companies. No matter that the customer might want to buy such a vehicle and the manufacturer wants to sell it to me — the government wants to make it more and more difficult.

    Or on guns — I saw this wonderful poster regarding “common sense” on gun control.

    For those who don’t want to click on the link, here’s the text:

    “Nobody is trying to take your guns!

    We only want to make you register them, restrict transfers, ban certain guns, limit magazine capacity, prohibit carrying them, ban or limit ammo, make other arbitrary laws, and if we catch you violating any of these made-up rules, throw you in prison…

    AT WHICH POINT WE WILL TAKE YOUR GUNS!”

    BTW, one “common-sense gun control law” was enacted in Maryland — a “ballistic fingerprinting” database. It was recently repealed, because it had proven utterly useless. Over 10 years ago, this guy who actually knows guns wrote exactly why it was so worthless, and five million dollars later, Maryland has admitted that yeah, it was a bad idea.

    So yes, i do support people’s right to make choices. Even dumb ones, choices I’d never make and of which I do not approve. Because if you don’t allow people to make choices of which you don’t approve, then you don’t support choice.

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  60. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Mikey: My apologies, then. I assumed that we were speaking a common language — where “baser” and “basest” were the comparative and superlative forms of “base.” And in that common language, “basest” means “most base,” above (or, if you prefer, below) all others.

    That’s the problem when you make every bad thing THE WORST EVAR!!!!!! and THE MOST OUTRAGEOUS!!!!! — when something that is actually really bad, people are tired of hearing it.

    Plus, you run the risk of driving the people you’re overcharging into actually becoming what you’re calling them. Imagine a legal system where every felony carried the death penalty. Suppose I get caught committing a burglary by the homeowner — why shouldn’t I kill them? If I get caught, I’m going to die anyway. So why not reduce the chances of getting caught by killing the witness? I’m dead already if I get caught, so why not make it harder to get caught?

    Likewise — take someone who is uncomfortable with gay marriage, but not inclined to take any action about it. Someone asks him to cater a gay wedding; he politely declines, as he wouldn’t want to participate or actively support it. He then has his life destroyed over that decision. At that point, why the hell shouldn’t he then go all out against gay marriage? And against gay rights in general? What more can you do, and why shouldn’t he hit back against those who ruined his life?

    Call someone an extremist who doesn’t see themselves as an extremist, treat them as an extremist, punish them as an extremist, and you run the risk of making them into a real extremist. See the old aphorism “I might as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb.”

    But back to the original topic… Cruz has an opinion, and expressed it. I disagree with him on it, but it’s so abstract and irrelevant that it’s not a deal-breaker for me. It will not persuade me to vote for him, or to not vote for him.

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  61. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Likewise — take someone who is uncomfortable with gay marriage, but not inclined to take any action about it. Someone asks him to cater a gay wedding; he politely declines, as he wouldn’t want to participate or actively support it.

    Sorry junior, you don’t get to discriminate if you are in the public accommodations business, politely or otherwise.

    those who ruined his life?

    If this hypothetical person had simply done their job – caterers cater, florists make flower arrangements, bakers make cakes, and so on – he would have never had a problem. If you don’t want to work with the public, make better career choices.

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  62. Jenos Idanian says:

    @anjin-san: I could point out that this person most likely made their career choice before gay marriage became the new MOST IMPORTANT THING EVAR, but you’ve repeatedly said that you don’t want to engage in actual conversation with me, so I won’t waste my time.

    Instead, I’ll pull one of your favorite tactics and try a diversion.

    Hey, remember how terrible it was when some nobody called Obama a Muslim and Donald Trump didn’t immediately leap to Obama’s defense? Wasn’t that just awful?

    Well, at one of her rallies, a woman told Hillary Clinton that she wanted to strangle Carly Fiorina, and Hillary didn’t immediately denounce the death threat, but actually LAUGHED. Doesn’t that disqualify her from being president?

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  63. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Jenos Idanian: My error; it was a man who wanted to strangle Carly Fiorina Why am I not surprised that Hillary finds violence against women funny?

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  64. Pinky says:

    @Jenos Idanian: Yes. As T.H. White wrote about the kingdom of the ants, “everything not forbidden is compulsory”, Not really a great grasp of true liberality there. But there’s another thing at work; today’s supposed liberals don’t consider means, only ends. More to the point, they don’t apply principles to means, only to ends. “Preventing voter fraud” is a principle applied to a means, so it’s not taken seriously. The end, “more votes for Democrats” overrides it. “Expansion of government” is an end; “sound climate change modeling” would be nice to achieve it, but unsound climate change modeling accomplishes the same thing. The Supreme Court ruling that a law is what the law is – that’s suspicious to them. They feel the need to look at what the law does before they decide whether the law is. And of course the media by definition are a means, so journalism is judged not on its truth but on what it accomplishes.

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  65. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    I could point out that this person most likely made their career choice before gay marriage

    And it would still be a debate fail. If you take a job where you work with the public, you work with the public – not some subset of them that consist of people you approve of.

    Now it’s far past time for you to ask me a moronic gun related question – do it!

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  66. wr says:

    @Pinky: Shorter Pinky: I’ve never actually met a human being who wasn’t exactly like me, so I’m sure they’re all evil.

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  67. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @wr: How the eff did you get there from… no, I withdraw the question. I’m terrified you might actually try to explain it.

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  68. Grewgills says:

    @Pinky:
    Seriously Pinky? What a bunch of pop psychology bullsh!t. I hope it makes you feel better to turn those who disagree with you politically into cartoon characters. The next time you plan to denounce MR or anyone else for what you feel is a false characterization of Republicans or their motives remember this tripe.

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  69. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Grewgills: I could cite examples of every single thing Pinky spoke of, and i wager he/she could, as well.

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  70. wr says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: “I could cite examples of every single thing Pinky spoke of, and i wager he/she could, as well.”

    No one here doubts that you are every bit as capable as Pinky of cutting and pasting from The Blaze.

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  71. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @wr: Sod off, Swampy.

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  72. Grewgills says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    and I’d wager every one of those examples would be a self serving cartoon version of the truth.
    You and Pinky are constantly doing exactly what you complain that so called liberals do, just from the other side. You both construct realities where your political opponents are caricatures of themselves to further your false narratives and boost ‘your team’. Your are fooling no one but yourselves.

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  73. An Interested Party says:

    “Preventing voter fraud” is a principle applied to a means, so it’s not taken seriously.

    Perhaps you could cite substantial actual voter fraud, then maybe preventing it could be taken seriously…on the other hand, burdens that Republicans are putting in place do affect those groups who don’t substantially vote for the GOP, so the motive of Republicans is quite clear…

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  74. Grewgills says:

    @Pinky:
    To play your little game

    Today’s supposed conservatives don’t care about unfair, discriminatory or racist outcomes, they only care if their means can be rationalized. More to the point, they don’t apply principles to ends, only rationalizable means. Preventing the poor and minorities from voting is an outcome, so it’s not taken seriously. The means can be rationalized despite their being no evidence for a problem it needs to solve, so that overrides the racist outcome. “Cutting government” is an end, but that is inconvenient for this false dichotomy, so you ignore it. Sound climate change modeling shows something I don’t like, so I’ll pretend that the modeling is unsound based on a few internet cranks so I can believe that it is a plot by big science to expand the government. Any Supreme Court ruling I favor is only just and proper, the Supreme Court (or any other court) ruling counter to my preferred outcome is “judicial activism”. And of course talk radio and Fox ‘News’ are by definition also means, so I will also conveniently ignore that and judge all media based on whether or not it reinforces by biases.

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  75. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Grewgills: What dressing goes best with that word salad — French or Thousand Island?

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  76. Grewgills says:

    @Jenos Idanian:
    Ask Pinky, he made it I just shifted the target.
    Nice try though.

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  77. Mikey says:

    @Jenos Idanian: I’ll accept this extended exercise in semantic nitpicking as the concession it is. Thanks for playing.

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