Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

3 Bumps

Can an Atheist be patriotic?

I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God.

GEORGE H.W. BUSH, news conference, Aug. 27, 1987


Asked by IhartU at 8:14 AM on Feb. 20, 2011 in Religious Debate

Level 27 (31,412 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (38)
  • My former military atheist friend would beg to differ with Mr. Bush. =) Patriotism doesn't come with the requirement of religious belief. As for those who obviously do NOT know what the Constitution says regarding separation of church and state: Although the phrase "separation of church and state" wasn't used in the Constitution (it was used by Thomas Jefferson in his letter to the Danbury Baptist Assoc. in 1802 and by James Madison in his Memorial Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments, a letter to Jasper Adams, a 1792 article, and his Detached Memoranda) the concept is there in the Establishment Clause and Free Exercise Clause. The Establishment Clause dictates secularization of government by prohibiting the govt' from privileging any religion or set of beliefs above others or in other words, from "establishing" a state religion. The Free Exercise Clause bans prohibition of religious exercise.

    Answer by KelleyP77 at 3:22 PM on Feb. 20, 2011

  • I don't think one's religious persuasion has any effect on whether or not they can be patriotic, or should be citizens. Our gov't grants the freedom of religion, so exercising that freedom seems pretty patriotic/American to me!

    Answer by bandgeek521 at 8:29 AM on Feb. 20, 2011

  • The man was an idiot and this was a perfect example of why people thought so. Unfortunately, there are many out there that agree with him. We have one around here that likes to write in to the editor of of our local paper, A LOT. This person also believes that anyone who doesn't follow the Christian faith should leave the country. *oy vey*

    Answer by SpiritedWitch at 9:00 AM on Feb. 20, 2011

  • Yes, atheists can be patriotic--if you by patriotism you mean a love for your country that is healthy. I think people sometimes refer to a type of 'blind patriotism' where you're not supposed to question anything and think any and every decision and action we've taken is just, 'God' is on our side, etc. If someone defines patriotism by really using nationalism, it's not going to include many people who are actually patriots too--in his case only Christian Americans. In reality, patriotism is not the same as nationalism though. Anyone who thinks the way he does about atheists is probably unlikely to uphold the First Amendment, and I would question whether they would even treat people of different faiths as equal citizens too. I think that's a pretty disgusting thing for him to say.

    Answer by pam19 at 9:19 AM on Feb. 20, 2011

  • can of worms


    Answer by scout_mom at 8:17 AM on Feb. 20, 2011

  • I do not see why not, one thing has nothing to do with the other.

    Answer by older at 8:47 AM on Feb. 20, 2011

  • Constitution says that there's separation of church and state

    Actually, the Constitution does not say this. The only thing the Constitution says about religion is that "congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion or prohibit the free practice thereof"

    But, I do not think you have to believe in God in order to love this country. Religious freedom is on of the great things about this country. I just wish people would know what the Constitution ACTUALLY says instead of just assuming things.

    Answer by layh41407 at 8:57 AM on Feb. 20, 2011

  • I absolutely do believe that atheists can be as patriotic as ANYONE else. I don't think that a belief in God has anything to do with it.

    However, as far as I know, there is no actual proof that Bush Sr. said this--a reporter said that he said it, but for some strange reason was not recording it and no one else heard it. I'm not trying to challenge you, OP, just curious if there is a verifiable source for the quote because I have never found one.

    Answer by vicesix at 9:32 AM on Feb. 20, 2011

  • Oh I remember this. What an ass.

    I think many people confuse patriotism with the belief that America is purely a "christian" nation founded by "christians". When in reality, it is the furthest thing from the truth.
    It shows the mentality that if you aren't christian, you aren't worthy of recognition within our melting pot of cutlures. Somehow it still surprises me that people don't grasp that concept of 'melting pot".

    Answer by sahmamax2 at 9:43 AM on Feb. 20, 2011

  • I'm not so sure that a person that can leave hurricane Katrina victims dying for days without help should be considered a patriot either. We all have our opinions.

    Answer by Anonymous at 8:36 AM on Feb. 20, 2011