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Sat Oct 24, 2015, 12:35 PM

 

Bernie Sanders: Our first agnostic president?

Bernie Sanders: Our first agnostic president?
Aaron Blake
The Washington Post

What many haven't picked up on is that a Sanders presidency would be a first in a couple other ways. First, Sanders would be our first Jewish president. And second, while Sanders is culturally Jewish, he has said that he's "not particularly religious" and has been described by some as agnostic. Labels aside, what we do know is that he would be our first president who hasn't publicly professed to a belief in God.

Asked during an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel's show this week whether he believed in God, Sanders demurred.

"I am who I am," Sanders said. "And what I believe in and what my spirituality is about, is that we're all in this together. That I think it is not a good thing to believe that as human beings we can turn our backs on the suffering of other people."

We have never had a president who publicly subscribed to atheism or agnosticism. And no president has left open the possibility, as Sanders appeared to do Wednesday, that there might not be a God.


My general take on this is someone's religion, spirituality, or lack thereof is really no one's business. Unless a candidate is telling us that God is telling him/her directly what policy positions to take, I don't want to hear about it.

I would like to hear a lot less about people's biographies and piousness and a lot more detail on their views on governance.

George Washington and Religion

In regard to personal spirituality, Washington was generally private about his religious life. Washington is reported to have had regular private prayer sessions, and personal prayer was a large part of his life. One well-known report stated that Washington's nephew witnessed him doing personal devotions with an open Bible while kneeling, in both the morning and evening. It is clear that when it came to religion, Washington was a private man, more so than with other aspects of his life.

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Reply Bernie Sanders: Our first agnostic president? (Original post)
portlander23 Oct 2015 OP
left-of-center2012 Oct 2015 #1
brooklynite Oct 2015 #2
Tierra_y_Libertad Oct 2015 #3
BlueCheese Oct 2015 #4
MohRokTah Oct 2015 #5

Response to portlander23 (Original post)

Sat Oct 24, 2015, 01:46 PM

1. "described by some as agnostic"

Hasn't he said he is a 'non-practicing' Jew?
Would a non-practicing Catholic or Protestant be called agnostic?

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Response to left-of-center2012 (Reply #1)

Sat Oct 24, 2015, 02:12 PM

2. "Practicing" is not the same as "believing" or knowing.

You can believe in God and not practice that belief in any way.

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Response to portlander23 (Original post)

Sat Oct 24, 2015, 02:17 PM

3. EEEk!! And agnostic and a socialist!!!

 

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Response to portlander23 (Original post)

Sat Oct 24, 2015, 02:42 PM

4. I'm an atheist myself, so this would be a point in Sanders' favor for me.

I also would not be surprised to find out that quite a few presidents/presidential candidates are/were either agnostic/atheist, or only nominally religious.

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Response to portlander23 (Original post)

Sat Oct 24, 2015, 02:50 PM

5. Nope.

 

Sanders will never be president so he cannot be the first agnostic president.

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