Newly elected Austrailian prime minister Julia Gillard, Australia’s first female prime minister, is not a religious person. President Barack Obama is the first U.S. president to acknowledge nonreligious Americans in his Inaugural Address. However, Gov. Mitch Daniels, who is being considered by some as a candidate for president in 2012, in an interview with WANE.com in December, said, “And atheism leads to brutality. All the horrific crimes of the last century were committed by atheists — Stalin and Hitler and Mao and so forth — because it flows very naturally from an idea that there is no judgment and there is nothing other than the brief time we spend on this Earth.”
This statement categorizes the 16 percent of Hoosiers who are not religious as atheists and makes false statements about them. Had he made a statement of this type about Muslims, Jews, gays or other minority groups, they would be calling for his resignation.
A letter was sent twice to Daniels inviting him to visit the Center for Inquiry Indiana, which is about five blocks from his office, so that he can learn more about people who are not religious. No acknowledgement of the receipt of either letter has been received.
Are the nonreligious the only group about whom a governor and aspiring presidential candidate can make derogatory remarks with no consequences? Does he think that 16 percent of his constituents are not worthy of respect from their governor?
Is America a Christian nation?
Sarah Palin said on Friday that it’s “mind-boggling” to suggest otherwise.
But two groups dedicated to the separation of church and state are now speaking out against her, arguing that she is misreading the founders’ intent.
“It’s incredibly hypocritical that Sarah Palin, who disapproves of government involvement in just about anything, now suddenly wants the government to help people be religious,” Barry Lynn, the executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, told ABC News.
“It is wildly inconsistent with her views on limited government to get the government involved in matters of faith.”
Lynn was reacting to remarks Palin gave last Friday in Louisville, Ky., one day after a federal judge in Wisconsin ruled that the National Day of Prayer, created in 1952 by Congress, violated the First Amendment.
“We hear of a judge’s ruling that our National Day of Prayer is unconstitutional,” said Palin. “I think we’ll be challenging that one.”
“God truly has shed his grace on thee — on this country,” Palin told the Women of Joy conference. “He’s blessed us, and we better not blow it.”