Ron Reagan Jr. has been in the news a lot since his father’s death and the more I read about him the more I like about him. If he were running for President I’d definitely vote for him, but even though some folks have suggested that possibility the likelihood of it coming to pass is remote at best. You see, he’s an atheist.
Q: Now that the country is awash in Reagan nostalgia, some observers are predicting that you will enter politics. Would you like to be president of the United States?
I would be unelectable. I’m an atheist. As we all know, that is something people won’t accept.
Q: What would you do if Senator Kerry asked you to be his vice president?
I would question his sanity.
Indeed, it would probably be the best way for Kerry to ensure Bush gets reelected. I’m sure Republicans would salivate at the idea of a Kerry – Reagan ticket. Especially after comments like this one:
Q: How do you account for all the glowing obituaries of him?
I think it was a relief for Americans to look at pictures of something besides men on leashes. If you are going to call yourself a Christian—and I don’t—then you have to ask yourself a fundamental question, and that is: Whom would Jesus torture? Whom would Jesus drag around on a dog’s leash? How can Christians tolerate it? It is unconscionable. It has put our young men and women who are over there, fighting a war that they should not have been asked to fight—it has put them in greater danger.
Reagan gave a eulogy for his father that was considered by many as direct attack on the current Bush administration:
A portion of Ron Reagan’s eulogy for his father—he noted that unlike other politicians, his father did not wear his religious faith “on his sleeve” and did not see it as a political mandate—was widely regarded as critical of Bush even though he wasn’t named. Reagan told CNN he hadn’t meant it that way, but thought it may have been unconsciously aimed at the president, who has cited talking to “a higher father” when deciding whether to go to war in Iraq.
“When you hear somebody justifying a war by citing the almighty, God, I get a little worried, frankly,” said Ron Reagan, who called himself an atheist. “The other guys do that a lot. Osama bin Laden’s always talking about Allah, what Allah wants, that he’s on his side. I think that’s uncomfortable.”
The younger Reagan said he didn’t think his father would have gone to war in Iraq and would have pursued bin Laden instead. “I think we lied our way into the war,” he said, and called the war “a terrible mistake.”
Like I said, the more I read the more I like him. Needless to say, Reagan Jr.‘s comments have pissed off many Conservatives to no end with one in particular—Dennis M. Becklin, columnist for the Applegate Oregon News—suggesting that the media covering President Reagan’s funeral should have been required to put a disclaimer on Reagan Jr.‘s eulogy:
I don’t have any quarrel with Reagan Jr.‘s right to believe that there is no god. I just think it is absurd for him to preach about the misuse of religion in the political process of America and fail to postulate his comments with a statement that he is an atheist.
But what I find really demented is the willingness of the conventional media in America to pick up young Reagan’s comments and to parade them to the American public as if they validated American political secularism. The media has an obligation to let America know that the atheism of Ron Reagan Jr. underlies his opposition to religion in the American body politic. It is calloused beyond comprehension that the opinions of an atheist could be embraced by the American media without such a disclaimer.
I’m curious why Becklin seems to think that someone commenting on the misuse of religion in politics who happens to be an atheist requires some form of disclaimer from the media as opposed to someone of faith? Ron Reagan has made no secret of his stance as an atheist so there’s little reason most folks shouldn’t already be aware of that fact. But even if they are, what difference does it make? Is his opinion somehow less worthy because he doesn’t believe in God? The implication I take away from Becklin’s commentary is that the disclaimer should be presented so that believers can brush off Ron Reagan’s comments as just another atheist foaming at the mouth.
That aside, I have to give kudos to Ron Reagan for his willingness to speak his mind in spite of how he may be perceived by those who would turn his father into a Saint.