10 Reasons Why America Needs an Atheist President


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It’s another U.S. presidential election year, and current President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump are the presumptive nominees. Both speak openly about religion and whoever emerges victorious in November will continue the unbroken streak of religious presidents that the United States has been electing since the 18th century.

According to a 2024 Pew Research poll, 48% of respondents said it is at least “somewhat important” that their president has strong religious beliefs. However, despite both candidates checking that box, the same Pew poll showed over half the respondents have unfavorable views of each candidate. To them, we propose a radical measure – elect an atheist president next time around. There’s no legal prohibition against it, and it might even benefit the country.

Here are a few reasons Americans might do well to take a chance on an atheist president. Since people seem to complain nonstop, no matter who the president is, what do you have to lose?

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1. Separation of Church and State

Some religious Americans are wary of the separation of church and state because they view the church as an entity requiring governmental protection from the secular. This fails to recognize that such separation protects the religious from the government. The First Amendment provides that Congress “make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting its free exercise,” and an atheist president, who by definition would have no dog in this fight, might be impartial enough to stress equal protection for both church and state from one another.

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2. Non-Religious Groups Would Have More of a Voice

Religious and non-religious groups are due the same protections, and in the past few years, the number of Americans in that latter group has only increased. According to Pew Research, 28% of Americans describe themselves as “religiously unaffiliated,” and just like their fellow religious citizens, that group consists of people who pay taxes, vote, and actively participate in our communities. While a religious president would likely still offer equal protection to non-religious people, an atheist president might help better amplify the voices of this growing population segment.

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3. Reduced Influence of Religious Lobbying Groups

If you don’t like the direction the country is moving in, chances are that you can probably thank (or blame) a lobbyist. While an atheist president wouldn’t be able to reduce the impact of lobbying in American politics one iota, that president is much less likely to be sympathetic to lobbying groups that represent a particular religion, whether it’s Christianity, Judaism, Islam, or Scientology.

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4. Emphasis on Critical Thinking in Policy-Making

Most elected officials must pander to certain groups of voters if they wish to stay in office beyond their first term. Many such groups are religious, and if the Constitution is anything to go by, one religious group should not have more sway over American life than another. An atheist president is more likely to be evenhanded in applying the law to various religious groups, so the guiding principles for making policy would, by necessity, become more reliant on critical thinking than upon making the adherents to a particular religion happy at the expense of another.

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5. Prioritization of Evidence-Based Healthcare Policies

In February 2024, Alabama Senator Tommy Tuberville said that he supported his state supreme court’s ruling declaring embryos to be children because “We need to have more kids.” When it was brought to his attention that the ruling had an adverse effect on people seeking in vitro fertilization – thereby stopping “more kids” from happening – he appeared as though he had never considered the possibility that limiting medical care in the name of the pro-life movement might cause an undue burden to those seeking the procedure. One would hope that an atheist president would prioritize evidence-based healthcare policies and keep religion out of the doctor’s office.

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6. Addressing Socio-Economic Issues Without Religious Bias

Former President George W. Bush supported faith-based initiatives as a solution to societal ills and used executive orders to implement them. As a result, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) actively promoted abstinence-only-until-marriage programs with the involvement of faith-based groups. In 2024, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) reported that abstinence-only programs were ineffective in achieving their goals, such as delaying sex until marriage or reducing rates of teenage pregnancy. In other words, it was a complete failure and a waste of taxpayer dollars, and an atheist president would be highly unlikely to craft or endorse such policies.

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7. Promotion of Freedom of Speech

Freedom of speech works both ways. If you want to say that anyone who doesn’t get baptized will not go to heaven, you have the constitutional right to say that out loud, and the government cannot jail you. If you say, “No, that’s not true,” you likewise have the constitutional right to say that out loud, and the government cannot jail you, either. Few groups of people have more experience with saying unpopular things than atheists, and an atheist president would hopefully consider that and make sure to protect everyone’s right to express themselves, no matter how unpopular or unwelcome the expressed sentiment might be.

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8. Respect for Personal Autonomy

Here’s another one that works both ways. An atheist president is unlikely to be sympathetic to efforts to limit a woman’s right to reproductive freedom, as there would be no religious inclination to oppose access to abortion, contraceptives, or in vitro fertilization. An atheist president would also be unlikely to make abortions, contraception, and in vitro fertilization compulsory among those who don’t want them because, again, the atheist has no dog in this fight and would be unlikely to care if you had no abortions or fifty abortions.

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9. Emphasis on the Constitution as the Guiding Legal Document, Not the Bible

To hear some politicians tell it, the Bible should be the guiding document when it comes to crafting the law, despite the presence of this country’s many Jews, Muslims, and other adherents to faiths not based on Christian scripture. An atheist president would be unlikely to agree, using the Constitution as the default document when navigating and crafting policy instead. Some politicians saying the church should “direct the government” also claim to revere the Constitution, so prioritizing that document over the Bible would result in a lovely moment of bluff-calling that would, at the very least, be fun to watch.

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10. Better Representation for “Nones” in Government

According to Pew Research, the American citizens proclaiming themselves atheists, agnostics, or “nothing in particular” are not scattered into three separate groups but one, which in some quarters is called the “Nones.” These people don’t participate in religion, or they may hold more esoteric views than the adherents of major beliefs. Whatever you think of them personally, they’re U.S. citizens and have the same rights as their religious counterparts. An atheist president would likely be sympathetic to their views and perhaps even put a few in cabinet positions. Hey, we’re all supposed to be equal, right?

This article was produced and syndicated by MediaFeed.

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