Proud NYT Atheist Compares Saudi Arabia's Treatment of Adulterers to GOP on Gays

December 14th, 2007 2:26 PM

In his signed editorial today, "Campaigns Like These Make It Hard to Find a Reason to Believe," New York Times reporter turned editorial board member Eduardo Porter came out as a proud atheist and concluded with a bizarre comparison between Saudi Arabia's harsh rules against adultery and the GOP presidential fields' feelings toward gays.

"As I watched Mitt Romney tie himself into a constitutional knot as he argued that religion should provide a guide for public policy but not be used to choose a president, it made me suspect that all the candidates in the race -- Republican and Democratic -- must believe that I lack some essential virtue.

"I'm an atheist. When people trot out the well-worn John Adams quote, 'Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people,' I can't help feeling squeezed out of the polity. Mr. Romney was trying to sound ecumenical. But speeches like his confirm the impossibility for an atheist to be elected to national office in this country. Any atheist with political ambitions would have to drop the atheism first."

Porter concluded with a wacky comparison worthy of former "View" talk show host Rosie O'Donnell, comparing extremist Muslim law on adultery to his imaginative take on what Republican presidential candidates must think about gays

"Belief in God too often spawns reasons to punish sinners -- 'adulterers' in Saudi Arabia, gays for some Republican presidential candidates. Through the ages, it has provided people of all sorts of creeds a great argument to kill and maim the people from the next creed over. If it turns out that God doesn't exist -- having bought into the notion, it seems to me, would prove a pretty bad wager indeed."

What's Porter talking about? Which GOP candidate is seeking to "punish" gays, and how? If Porter means the GOP's general stand against gay marriage, it doesn't fit under the rubric of "punishment." It's simply a refusal to extend a right to gays they don't currently possess. Saudi Arabia has a range of harsh penalties for gays, including the death penalty. Which GOP candidate is advocating a similar s ystem?

(In another deep thought from last month, Porter suggested the U.S. raise taxes to help citizens' "pursuit of happiness").