Atheist in Politics

36


Discussion by: varunvarmaj

I have lived in the US for a couple of years before returning back to my country India. While in US I was really suprised to see that none of the leading politicians are atheist or atleast they can't claim that they are one and hope to win the elections. Unlike in India where it is ok to be one, infact there are politicians who critisize religion very openly. India's first PM Nehru, the current Defense minister, the leader of one of south india's largest regional party are known atheist.

So, my point is this. If a young democracy like India with so many social, financial problems can be open to the fact that a politician who is an atheist can represent them. Then why is it not OK in the US, why can't someone's religious views be insignificant while running for office? Are people really that irrational, I mean what has religion got to do with politics?

36 COMMENTS

  1. Easy.
    Because this is Jesus Land.
    lol

    No seriously, you must understand that the USA consists of about 85% Christians. They are the majority here. Thus, when one needs to be elected by the people and is not Christian, the odds of them getting elected are very bleak.

    • In reply to #1 by Disturbed:

      Easy.
      Because this is Jesus Land.
      lol

      No seriously, you must understand that the USA consists of about 85% Christians. They are the majority here. Thus, when one needs to be elected by the people and is not Christian, the odds of them getting elected are very bleak.

      Where did you get that statistic because I think its highly inflated. If by Christian you mean they check “Christian” on a public opinion poll then maybe, even then that sounds pretty high but if by Christian you mean they go to church regularly or that Christianity in some way plays a big part in their life no way its 85%.

      And in any case I don’t agree with your reasoning. Its not because most people in the US are Christians that we see this phenomenon, its because of those people who are Christians there is a minority (but still too many for most politicians to ignore) who will not vote for someone who is not a Christian. While the other side, the majority of people who don’t care much about religion, doesn’t use religion as a deciding factor either way.

      • In reply to #3 by Red Dog:

        In reply to #1 by Disturbed:

        Easy.
        Because this is Jesus Land.
        lol

        No seriously, you must understand that the USA consists of about 85% Christians. They are the majority here. Thus, when one needs to be elected by the people and is not Christian, the odds of them getting elected are very bleak.

        W…

        Lol, over inflated? Maybe just a tad but the fact is Christians are the majority here in the US.
        Here is a recent poll:
        In U.S., 77% Identify as Christian
        Eighteen percent have no explicit religious identity
        by Frank Newport

        http://www.gallup.com/poll/159548/identify-christian.aspx
        PRINCETON, NJ — The large majority of Americans — 77% of the adult population — identify with a Christian religion, including 52% who are Protestants or some other non-Catholic Christian religion, 23% who are Catholic, and 2% who affiliate with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Another 18% of Americans do not have an explicit religious identity and 5% identify with a non-Christian religion.

        So spare me the drama.
        Which, supports what I already stated concerning why being Christian is a very important factor in getting elected, because, Christians are the majority here.

        :)

        • In reply to #10 by Disturbed:

          In reply to #3 by Red Dog:

          Lol, over inflated? Maybe just a tad but the fact is Christians are the majority here in the US. Here is a recent poll: In U.S., 77% Identify as Christian

          I’m not sure why you are LOL. 77% is I think correct and less than 85% which is what you originally claimed. I never said they weren’t the majority.

          • In reply to #11 by Red Dog:

            In reply to #10 by Disturbed:

            In reply to #3 by Red Dog:

            Lol, over inflated? Maybe just a tad but the fact is Christians are the majority here in the US. Here is a recent poll: In U.S., 77% Identify as Christian

            I’m not sure why you are LOL. 77% is I think correct and less than 85% which is what…

            Well, its been a bit since last I checked and previously 85% was correct. But, to my pleasure, I find that it has declined to 77%. That gives me hope.

    • In reply to #1 by Disturbed:

      No seriously, you must understand that the USA consists of about 85% Christians.

      That doesn’t really answer it. The problem is that our 85% categorically reject atheists as ineligible.

      • In reply to #20 by zengardener:

        In reply to #1 by Disturbed:

        No seriously, you must understand that the USA consists of about 85% Christians.

        That doesn’t really answer it. The problem is that our 85% categorically reject atheists as ineligible.

        No they don’t. That is false, there are public opinion polls you can look up. Of the people who self identify as Christians many of them wouldn’t care at all about the religion of a candidate. The latest polls show that over half the population would vote for an atheist:

        http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2012/06/24/more-than-50-of-americans-would-vote-for-an-atheist-presidential-candidate-but-would-you/

        The problem isn’t that ALL Christians won’t vote for an atheist. The problem is that almost NO atheists won’t vote for a Christian. See my comment on wedge issues above. If a candidate outs himself as an atheist he will gain few if any votes but he will certainly lose some votes. There is no benefit to admitting to atheism unless you value truth more than votes and these are politicians we are talking about.

  2. I think one reason is that atheism is what poli sci people call a wedge issue for some people and not others. A wedge issue is one that is a deal braker for some voters.

    Most people in the US (like me) that aren’t religious don’t give much thought to a candidates religious beliefs either way. I would happily vote for a Mormon if (which wouldn’t be very likely) he was really for things like women’s rights, addressing climate change, teaching science, not starting pointless wars, etc. At the same time I wouldn’t vote for an atheist who was a follower of Ayn Rand and against all those things. For me things like climate change and women’s rights are wedge issues but not religion. But for a lot of strong believers (mostly Christians) they wouldn’t vote for a candidate who wasn’t a Christian no matter what.

    So the cost of being honest about not having religious beliefs is going to be high and the benefit is going to be low. Even in progressive neighborhoods like where I live in San Francisco there aren’t going to be a lot of people who will change their vote for a candidate because he comes out as an atheist but there are many people who will vote against him for that reason. So except in rare circumstances (e.g. people who represent college towns) its always to the advantage of a US candidate to pretend to be religious.

  3. Calling yourself Christian and actually adhering to Christianity’s rules are two vastly different things. It is too bad that politicians can DO anything as long as they SAY certain things. They remain viable no matter what they do as long as they continue to espouse the same old rhetoric.

  4. One theory about religiosity in the US is that because the US was specifically set up for freedom of religion, there has been a free market, meaning that survival of the fittest has led to a kind of runaway evolution of powerful religious memes. No particular religion or sect has been privileged or protected, so those that survived had to go through a kind of arms race with their competitors. Resulting adaptations presumably (almost tautologically) include an enhanced capacity to instill the idea that adherence to a specific religion is extremely important.

    Its not clear how close this hypothesis is to the truth, nor what its relationship should be to politics, though.

    • In reply to #5 by tom campbell-ricketts:

      One theory about religiosity in the US is that because the US was specifically set up for freedom of religion, there has been a free market, meaning that survival of the fittest has led to a kind of runaway evolution of powerful religious memes. No particular religion or sect has been privileged or…

      If this theory is correct, there is a certain delicious irony to it, considering the evolution/creationist debacle that’s going on over there. As the most common element in the universe is irony, it’s probably true.

      Seriously, though, maybe it’ll work out just fine if someone comes out of the closet after having already established themselves as a successful politician. Does anyone know if this has happened, and if so, what effects have it had on their public careers?

      • In reply to #7 by Imlekk:

        In reply to #5 by tom campbell-ricketts:

        if someone comes out of the closet after having already established themselves as a successful politician. Does anyone know if this has happened, and if so, what effects have it had on their public careers?

        I follow US politics fairly closely and I’ve never heard of this happening. I think there are two reasons this hasn’t happened:

        1) Self Deception. One of the best recommendations I ever received for a book was when Prof. Dawkins recommended The Folly of Fools by Robert Trivers. Its an excellent book because it is one of those rare books that has hard science as well as practical implications for modern life. And the most important thing I took from that book is that humans are amazingly good at believing what its in our interest to believe. So people that want to go into politics will realize they need to appear pious to win. This will not just make them appear to be pious but it will change their internal belief system so that they are more inclined to have some grudging belief in religion.

        2) Even retired politicians are still politicians. Look at someone like Bill Clinton. To some extent you could say that he shouldn’t care what people think now and could just be totally honest. But when you look more closely he is doing good things (and also making good money) representing various charities. For him to come out and say he was never serious about religion would severely damage his image with the people in power who make the invites to CNN and most importantly who write big checks for contributions and speaker’s fees.

  5. Results of an opinion poll about two years ago, showed Americans would vote for a muslim ahead of an atheist in a presidential ballot. I am not sure of the sample size or where the poll was done, which will obviously be major factors, but it does seem to indicate what most people think about the USA.

    I also remember an interview with Ron Reagan, son of the former president, and when asked if he would like to follow his father into the White House, he replied that one, he was not that interested and, two, no one would vote for him because he was an atheist.

  6. Atheism is yesterday’s news in Australian politics. The earliest atheist Prime Minister we’ve had (that I can say for sure) was elected in 1973. Of the seven Prime Ministers since 1973, three have been openly atheist, including the incumbent. Historically religion has not been a big issue in Australian politics.

    Some politicians make a big thing of being xian here, but it doesn’t seem to make much difference to their prospects of getting elected.

    • In reply to #9 by Grimace:

      Atheism is yesterday’s news in Australian politics. The earliest atheist Prime Minister we’ve had (that I can say for sure) was elected in 1973. Of the seven Prime Ministers since 1973, three have been openly atheist, including the incumbent. Historically religion has not been a big issue in Austral…

      Exactly my point, both US and Australia are similar, I mean majority would be of the same religion, both are developed nations, yet the huge difference in the way majority of the people give importance to religion while taking a decision on politics.

  7. While we see it as a sticky mess, faith remains the glue that yields the largest exploitable voting block for politicians who, like any other sales-profession, go where the numbers are.

    Criticizing religion is easy (even in the USA) compared to criticizing faith. I’d be curious how successful Indian politicians would be, openly criticizing the latter.

    Mike

    • In reply to #13 by Sample:

      While we see it as a sticky mess, faith remains the glue that yields the largest exploitable voting block for politicians who, like any other sales-profession, go where the numbers are.

      Criticizing religion is easy (even in the USA) compared to criticizing faith. I’d be curious how successful India…

      Many were successful. Thats my whole point. I can give you numerous examples
      Periyar E. V. Ramasamy- Started one of india’s largest regional parties-He was anti religion and used to work towards educating people.
      Jawaharlal Nehru: First prime minister of India
      Prakash Karat: The General Secretary of the Communist Party of India

      And many more.

  8. America is an aberration. I don’t honestly know why. It was founded by religious cranks who the increasingly enlightened populations of Old Europe were very happy to evict. They were not fleeing “religious intolerance ” (well, only in a narrow sense), they were fleeing the Enlightenment itself, and what it meant for their superstitions. A lot of that has stuck.

    Then we have the First Amendment, and the Establishment Clause, which generally atheists seem to like. I am less sanguine. By all means have a secular state where all religions are tolerated – but does this mean we have to give $70 billion a year in tax reliefs to any wingnut promoting a new Ponzi scheme? Do we have to call say Scientology a religion just because it claims (wrongly) to be one?

    But worst of all the Establishment Clause keeps religion out of schools. Here in the UK, my young kids do RE at school. I have a right to opt them out of it, and I choose not to. They learn about all the major faiths (we’re incredibly sensitive about multi-culturalism and never saying one religion is better than another – at least not outside faith schools). Learning about religion, without proselytising, is a good thing. Therefore at some point they have little option but to conclude that not all of these faiths can be right. From there it is a short step (aided and abetted by I hope reasonably enlightened parents) to nudging them in the direction of maybe all of them are wrong. RE creates atheists.

    Contrast America, where a child is stuck with his parents’ ‘choice’ of church (as they were by their parents, probably, back to The Mayflower), and will never receive any information, from anyone, to open his mind to the idea that there are other churches, other faiths, and therefore (by implication) also atheists and agnostics and humanists. Short of advertising campaigns, these people have no channel to market.

    I hope I do not sound too patronising when I say I genuinely pity the overwhelming majority of Americans who the Enlightenment has largely completely by-passed. In most countries in Europe, most people do not believe in any god.

    • In reply to #14 by Stevehill:

      America is an aberration. I don’t honestly know why. It was founded by religious cranks who the increasingly enlightened populations of Old Europe were very happy to evict.

      I agree with everything you said except I take issue with saying America was “founded by religious cranks”. Yes, the original colonists were religious cranks but over time the colonies also attracted the kind of people who were restless and unhappy with all the established bullshit and eager to do something different even if they weren’t exactly sure what that was. Those were the people who gave birth to men like Jefferson, Adams, and Madison and in spite of their hypocrisy on slavery they were pretty amazing intellectuals, the kind that aren’t often involved in the operational aspects of politics. To me they are the real “founders” not the religious nuts and they were all the Richard Dawkins of their day. Actually much more radical than Richard given where the rest of the world was at the time.

  9. Hi there

    I agree with all the comments below so im going to side track just a little.

    I’m not that knowledgeable about all the religions going on in India, but I have lived here for the past two years (i’m from the UK).

    From my experience in India, peoples faith seems to be a much more personal or family thing and they don’t go about pushing their religion on others (interestingly, I met a man on a train to Chandigarh who’d converted to Christianity who said that “a 1 in 4 conversion rate would be good”). Perhaps this attitude, and the fact that there are so many religions, means that it’s not a factor when voting.

    Id be interested on your thoughts of whether a Brahmin would ever vote for a Shudra politician however – or even if someone of a low caste has ever had the money or education to be a politician.

    • In reply to #15 by alistair.scott.71:

      Hi there

      I agree with all the comments below so im going to side track just a little.

      I’m not that knowledgeable about all the religions going on in India, but I have lived here for the past two years (i’m from the UK).

      From my experience in India, peoples faith seems to be a much more personal o…

      I don’t know a lot about the history of India either but as I understand it they have some pretty horrible examples of violence directly caused by religion. I have to admit some of this is only based on a fiction book I read but the book was supposedly very much based on fact. My understanding is there was a lot of violence when India separated from English control as Hindus and Muslims vied for power, eventually leading to the separate Muslim country of Pakistan while India stayed predominantly Hindu. Shops and houses were trashed in riots and groups where one religion dominated would attack shops or homes of the other religion.

      This is just speculation but I think one reason that many Americans don’t feel the importance to keep church and state separate is compared to history like this (or to the religious wars in Europe) we’ve been much more able to assimilate various religions in our culture without violence and so many average people don’t understand the potential harm it can cause when it gets political. We are in some ways victims of our own success. The founding fathers knew these problems and that is why they set up the country the way they did but its current citizens are unfortunately very ignorant about history.

      • In reply to #17 by Red Dog:

        This is just speculation but I think one reason that many Americans don’t feel the importance to keep church and state separate is compared to history like this (or to the religious wars in Europe) we’ve been much more able to assimilate various religions in our culture without violence and so many average people don’t understand the potential harm it can cause when it gets political. We are in some ways victims of our own success. The founding fathers knew these problems and that is why they set up the country the way they did but its current citizens are unfortunately very ignorant about history.

        Good point. And is why I am a staunch believer that church and state be completely separated. Sadly, this is not always the case here in the USA. At any given opportunity, the religious, try and slide thier views into politics and even succeed at times by getting them validated into law. Examples are blue laws, i.e., no beer on Sundays or until after 12pm. And laws such as it being an extra charge to be caught dealing drugs within 1000 feet of a school or (church). Lolz, church snuck right in on that one. Or even the tax-exempt status is ridiculous because the clergy constantly preaches politics from the pulpit. Our Founding Fathers were very wise men and is why they created the Constitution as a secular document.

      • In reply to #17 by Red Dog:

        In reply to #15 by alistair.scott.71:

        Hi there

        I agree with all the comments below so im going to side track just a little.

        I’m not that knowledgeable about all the religions going on in India, but I have lived here for the past two years (i’m from the UK).

        From my experience in India, peoples f…

        Hey,
        To answer your Q about a brahmin guy voting for a sudhra…..In many parts of India it would not be an issue. There are however a huge number who might still consider that a bit issue. The bigger problem for such people would be he does’nt belong to my community than he belongs to someother one. Brahmins in specific are no longer the once to impose rules, infact a huge number of them are economically very poor.

        Caste is still a big deal, however there are many more “sudra” politicians in India. Caste equations still play a major role in Indian politics. But my Q was what about people who critisize or dnt beleive in religion n god and all tht nonsense.
        Going back to my original subject atheist are not really treated as an untouchables in Indian politics. Your name might play a major role. Let me say if I have a Hindu name and openly critisize the Hindu religion I might still have a decent chance of winning. There are numerous examples of such politicians….below is an example of one such politician. The party that he founded is still considered one of the strongest in southern India
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E.V.Ramasami_Naicker

        Below are some prominent leaders from the backward communities and they infact are very well educated and pretty well off actually. Whether they help the rest of their community after getting to power is a different subject. These guys are currently in the office
        Sushilkumar Shinde: Cabinet Minister for Home Affairs- Similar to the Secretary of state-USA
        Mayawati: Former Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh- The largest state in India and also one of the most corrupt
        Damodar Raja Narasimha: Deputy Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh- 3rd or maybe 4th largest state in India

        My knowledge of american politics is limited but I never really heard of a prominent politician who openly claims he’s atheist. Hence my Q.

  10. Are people really that irrational

    it sould seem so

    I mean what has religion got to do with politics?

    everything! if there’s a “reason override” button politicians can hit to force through a legislation that suits them and their cronies or gets someone elected who is less than their word, they’ll use it. Democracy is a great idea but it’s under constant attack from those who’d subvert it in every country that has it. unfortunately america has been under the control of that button since the days of communist paranoia. politicians in america are like the taliban, an unpleasant self-serving force claiming god.s authority to interfere with people’s human rights left behind since the collapse of the soviet union

  11. In reply to #20 by zengardener:

    In reply to #1 by Disturbed:

    No seriously, you must understand that the USA consists of about 85% Christians.

    That doesn’t really answer it. The problem is that our 85% categorically reject atheists as ineligible.

    Um, That is the point of my post, thought the correct number is now 77%.

  12. Yeah I think that it is only an issue for a small number of people, but that small number is still enough to decide elections..

    you see, an Atheist wouldnt NOT vote for a Christian, but a Christian would NOT vote for an atheist.. so unless both parties simultaneously have atheist candidates, it just is not a sensible tactic.

    Gaining power in America is decided by a tiny number of people.. less than 5% of the popualtion, so you have always got to think about how to get the maximum number of votes.

    Putting an Atheist on the ballot is just a silly idea.

  13. If there are Indian politicians who criticize religion openly, how is it that Sanal Edamaruku, an Indian rationalist, is being persecuted, accused of blasphemy, because he discovered that a supposed miracle in a Mumbai RCC church was no such thing? He has been in hiding for more than a year.

  14. The US is weird like that. It’s slowly changing, but there’s a lot of conservative pressure to keep religion in bed with politics, and more importantly in my opinion, education.

    Take The Atheist Experience show, This very web site, and various debates by Hitchens and cohorts. A lot of the interest is American-centric. Religion is big business in the US, and somehow, bothers a lot of people. Ergo, it is an interests to politicians.

  15. My background: I have lived in the US for 14 years and I am now living in India. I am Indian by birth and citizenship.

    Note: Some of what I state below assumes you know the Indian political scene like the back of your palm. Sorry about that assumption!

    1) In the US, one of the two political parties blatantly panders to religious right. In this atmosphere, there is very little to gain to come out as an agnostic/atheist. It is not as if an agnostic voting bloc is sitting there for easy picking. Coming out as an atheist will completely alienate the “religious right” voting bloc.

    2) It finally boils down to how the election rules are set up. The way they are set up in the US, it is the Ohios, Floridas and Missouries that matter. You cannot win those by being an atheist. If there was a similar case here – say you cannot be a PM without Maharashtra, then every single politician will be a ardent devotee of ganesh.

    3) If Modi is the PM candidate from BJP in 2014, Modi will have to start mellowing down his religious rhetoric. India is much more religiously diverse than the US. Coming out as a strong Hindu would be political suicide (in a national election). A muslim would rather vote for an atheist than a fundamental hindu! This religious diversity is what is helping us to keep religion out of politics at the national level.

    Contrast: India is religiously diverse; but it is not an integrated society. So if you are a small-time player, it really helps to drum up religion for political gains. That explains Shiv Sena, Bajrang Dal , Shiromani Akali Dal etc. So in a way religion in politics is much worse here than in the US.

    4) US has deep suspicion and near-hatred of communism. Up until recently (?), being a communist was grounds for arrest (?). Communists were seen as godless people and religion was as easy way to say I am not one of them. The rise of religion in politics coincided with cold war. “In God We Trust” etc all came in as a way to show solidarity against the communist. “You are a liberal” is a smear campaign in the US. Anywhere else in the world it will be taken as a compliment. India, on the other hand, is the only place I know where communist governments gets democratically elected. This bit of contrasting history does play a big part in today’s political landscape.

    5) Our dominant religion is Hinduism, which is more of a convenient bucket where all non-monotheists got dumped. Outside of you(?), me and three other people I know, caste is what is important and not religion. A typical Indian does not casts his/her vote; (s)he votes his/her caste. The first-to-post election (which is how the rules are set up here) isn’t helping. All that one needs is to secure 20% of the vote share and (s)he is through. In such a situation, disowning your religion is not a political suicide. Disowning your caste will be. Some castes have never considered themselves part of an established religion. If you are pandering to that caste, it does not matter if you are religious or not. All that matters is you don’t disown your caste. DMK (for example) is atheistic when it comes to (what they consider) brahmin Hindu gods (like Rama and Krishna). They have never (will never) ridicule the traditional village gods and rituals of Tamil Nadu (that will be political suicide).

    Contrast: If you are a candidate standing in an Islamic/Christian constituency, forget being an atheist; you better be a Muslim/Christian. (yes, in like in UK, in India you stand in an election; only in the US do you run in an election – I have never been able to figure out why the difference).

    • In reply to #29 by rmanoj:

      Contrast: India is religiously diverse; but it is not an integrated society. So if you are a small-time player, it really helps to drum up religion for political gains.

      I think you hit on an extremely important point there. The way the US system is set up its almost always a two party system. So while there are movements like Greens and Libertarians that might find atheism very appealing and do get on the ballot those groups are almost never taken seriously. So it almost always comes down to a choice between a democrat or a republican. The republicans will never be atheists but the democrats won’t either because they are too afraid of being smeared as godless commies if they are.

      4) US has deep suspicion and near-hatred of communism. Up until recently (?), being a communist was grounds for arrest (?).

      FYI, not exactly true. Strictly speaking Communism was still covered by the first amendment and so it wasn’t illegal to be a communist ever in the US to my knowledge. But you are correct that in some ways it may as well have been illegal. Especially during the 1950′s people were harrassed for being communists sometimes even to the point of suicide. You could lose your job, your mail could be read, your phone tapped, etc. Also, you could be pulled in front of a hearing and subpoenaed to “name names” of other people who were at meetings with you, etc. And if you refused then you could go to jail. (note a lot of these practices actually weren’t constitutional but they happened anyway)

      Its rather a sad story about the US entertainment industry how many Hollywood writers and actors went in front of these groups and ratted out their friends. One guy who wouldn’t (even though he was too much of an individual to actually be a communist anyway) was Dashell Hammett the author of Maltese Falcon and other hardboiled fiction. He ended up going to jail rather than testify. There are some great stories about this part of his life in a book called Scandal Time by his girl friend who was also a famous author Lillian Hellman. As an ex detective Hammett knew the ins and outs of the justice system and helped keep some actual communists who were jailed with him from getting their faces smashed due to their naivete about the informal rules of a prison.

  16. Wikipedia’s article on Christianity in the United States says a 2012 poll identified 73% of Americans surveyed as Christian, in contrast to 86% in 1990. Ever since Nixon, the GOP started campaigning using the Southern Strategy which was to appeal racial intolerance to because, as Nixon’s campaign strategist Kevin Phillips put it, “That’s where the votes are.” Reagan started the introduction of religious morality issues as part of the GOP platform, and George W. Bush pushed the conservative religious agenda to the point that the nation has come to accept (oft with resignation) of Christian dominance over secularism.

    Which also explains why gay rights and reproductive rights are given a lot more press than, say, our foundering economy or our brutal foreign policy.

  17. The US have not yet seperated religion from politics as they claim to have, theres a seedy undercurrent of bowing to religious ideals and bias… and of course corruption is big business, India may have one athiest leader but still has a religious caste system based on seperating types of people with the religious leaders at the top of course…..are untouchables allowed to vote ???

  18. The names you quote are exceptions, but you are right in stating that being an Atheist has not been negatively looked at in India. There could be multiple reasons for it.. but I think the primary reason why this works is because of the connotation of ‘secular’ in India. In India to be secular is to accept all religions or more like being tolerant. In the western world the connotation is being separate from religion.
    So even though these exceptions you note, declare themselves Atheist, the perception attached to them is of a tolerant being. Can you even imagine a politician who is a declared Atheist to pass a bill of Uniform Civil Code in India.

    Also religiosity in India is different from the US. In India religious dogma generally is limited to the personal space, whereas in the US due to it extends to the Universe and beyond. for eg: opposition to Homosexuality in India is not through a religious prism.

    India’s problems and acceptance of some leaders who are Atheists are not related.

    Oh and your views on religion can be very significant while running for office in India. You won’t have Muslims votes for Modi…

    Like to hear what more you have to say

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