Has the RRS considered sending a representative to one of the US 2008 Presidential General Election debates to ask a question?

HeyZeusCreaseToe
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Has the RRS considered sending a representative to one of the US 2008 Presidential General Election debates to ask a question?

There are 3 presidential debates this year, the second of which is a town hall forum in which voters can ask questions on ANY topic. This debate takes place at Belmont University, the largest Christian university in Tennessee, on October 7, 2008. This would be an excellent forum to start a dialog concerning atheists in America and their growing presence as an accepted/unaccepted minority.

I was thinking it would be great if the RRS could get some representative(s) to attend the debate and ask questions regarding separation of church and state, atheism acceptance in America, addressing the contradiction of whether or not the President's confession of a particular set of religious beliefs are a private matter or whether they daily influence his/her decision making abilities, etc. There are a ton of possibilities here.

This is what I would ask:

Previous presidents have reflected on the role of citizens who confess no religious beliefs, especially those who do not believe in the existence of a God or Gods. In 1987 President George H.W. Bush said of atheists, "I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God." As President, how would you address the tacitly accepted discrimination of atheists and nonbelievers in the America of 2008?

“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” Yoda


JillSwift
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oh, I would pay to see that

oh, I would pay to see that (if I had any money). I hope something of the sort can be arranged!

Though I wonder if the question would get up to the candidates.

"Anyone can repress a woman, but you need 'dictated' scriptures to feel you're really right in repressing her. In the same way, homophobes thrive everywhere. But you must feel you've got scripture on your side to come up with the tedious 'Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve' style arguments instead of just recognising that some people are different." - Douglas Murray


Cpt_pineapple
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Bush never said

Bush never said that.

 

http://message.snopes.com/showthread.php?t=13314

 

 

Snopes wrote:

What I find most curious about this issue is the apparent gap between the supposed statement by Bush and the reporting of it. Although Bush allegedly made the "atheists" remark in August 1987, the first generally cited print reference to it is the Fall 1988 issue of Free Inquiry magazine. Why the delay? Even if, for whatever reason, the mainstream media didn't bother with the story, Rob Sherman was the publisher of American Atheist magazine -- why didn't he put this story in the very next issue? Seems to me that a sitting Vice-President (and a major presidential candidate to boot) saying he didn't think atheists should be considered citizens or patriots would be big news in atheism circles, even if the rest of the world didn't care.

 


HeyZeusCreaseToe
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Hmmm....Cpt_pineapple

I suppose it is possible that he never said that, we have to take a journalist's word, who wrote for American Atheists news journal, and who definitely has a bias towards the issue being discussed. That snopes site had a lot of contrasting viewpoints and by no means was the opinion you quoted the only one regarding the authenticity of this matter. Richard Dawkins refers to this actual quote in the God Delusion and says perhaps it can be taken with a grain of salt. That being sad, I would suggest you take it from the horses mouth, and check out what he has to say about the claims against him, which I feel, he has made a fairly decent rebuke of the charges against his lying. Specific corroborating evidence contained in the presidential library confirming the meeting of Sherman and Bush as well as letters submitted to President Bush and responded to by his legal counsel concerning that meeting are presented.  Here is a small snippet from the page, which should be read in its entirety to understand the whole story.

  "The letter from Mr. Murray to the Members of Congress is from a file identified as White House Office of Records Management, Subject Code RM, Document Number 157715 CU.  This document is a letter that Jon Murray sent to every Member of Congress on February 21, 1990.  In this letter, Mr. Murray describes the news conference that I attended, quotes exactly the conversation between Mr. Bush and myself, and then states:

Subsequent to these astonishing statements, I wrote to (then) Vice President Bush demanding a clarification of these remarks.  More than two months later, on February 21, 1989, C. Boyden Gray, Counsel to the President, wrote to me from the White House as follows:

Your letter of December 19, 1988, to President Bush has been referred to me for reply.  As you are aware, the President is a religious man who neither supports atheism nor believes that atheism should be unnecessarily encouraged or supported by the government.  Needless to say, the President supports the Constitution and laws of the United States, and you may rest assured that this Administration will proceed at all times with due regard for the legal rights of atheists, as will as others with whom the President disagrees.

This letter was a clear admission by the President, through his counsel, that he had indeed made the remarks and was not backing down from them."

 

Here is Sherman's site containing the rebuttal:sherman

That being said, the question I asked doesn't have to be the one the RRS asks, but was merely one I thought was important. Something can be said about using a controversial quote in a debate question that might lead to a lessening of credibility of the questioner's reputation. Thanks for bringing this up.

 

“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” Yoda