An Atheist in Hillary’s Cabinet?

I recently had the opportunity to ask Hillary Clinton two questions at a campaign rally in Hampton, New Hampshire. I asked her, “How is your faith going to affect the decisions you make as president? Also, would you have an atheist in your cabinet?”

Interesting. Good question. I’ve never been asked this. Would I have an atheist in my cabinet? I’m not going to ask people what their religion is for my cabinet. I don’t think that’s appropriate.

[APPLAUSE and CHEERING]

I believe that I will be sustained and supported by my faith. Harry Truman once said that, “the White House was the crown jewel of the American Penal System”. By that he meant that it’s a very difficult and sometimes lonely place because the reponsibilities are so immense. I really will be sustained by my faith and by the faith of the American people, that we can do better, that we can make the decisions that will give us a better future for our kids.

She safely answered my second question. Of course she wouldn’t ask a potential member of her cabinet. Whew! What if it was already known and she didn’t have to ask? Atheists are perhaps the least trusted demographic in America. I wanted to know if Hillary shares this popular view.

I was disappointed that she basically ignored the meat of my first question. Perhaps I asked it poorly. She answered how faith affects her personally. I wanted to know if, and how, it would effect her presidential decisions. I don’t want a president (I don’t have a choice this time around; all the candidates from both parties have affirmed their belief in a theistic god.) who consults an imaginary friend regarding important real-world issues. It also goes to one’s ability to reason. I don’t want to make too much of it, but if someone believes Noah sailed around with two of every “kind” on a huge wooden boat I think we shouldn’t allow them to administer anything important.

1 Comment

  1. i think you framed your question well as it could be asked by both an atheist and a religious person but with very different motivations, so it was interesting to see which way her response leaned.

    but yes, saying “i am not going to ask what their religion is for my cabinet” is not the same as declaring that “i have no issue with having an atheist on my cabinet”.

    i don’t think you asked your first question poorly. it was clear and to the point, but her response was an example of good politicking on her part to distance herself from some of the more religious right candidates in the campaign. it’s always a challenge to get a straight answer from a politician.

    one thing i would’ve liked to ask her would be what role she sees lobby groups and corporate donors as playing in the electoral process, whether she feels lobbyists and corporate donors being able to essentially buy votes is ethical and in the spirit of the democratic process, and how she would justify the fact that she has taken the most donations from the health care industry out of all the democratic candidates.

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