Fox priest: ‘Hard to trust’ an atheist president because they don’t fear eternal damnation

Apr 27, 2015

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By David Edwards

Catholic priest and Fox News contributor Father Jonathan Morris argued over the weekend that atheists were not suitable candidates for president because it was “hard to trust” someone who did not believe that God would punish them.

“One thing is very certain, you can’t fake religion,” Morris said of the Republican presidential candidates on Sunday’s edition of Fox & Friends. “Politicians sometimes fall into that, I think. What matters most to us Americans — those who will be voting — is what these guys said before they were running for president, the way in which they lived before they started running for president.”

“I think they need to be very clear about the values they believe in, not making stuff up in order to get votes,” he continued. “And then people will say, ‘Even if I disagree with some of his beliefs, I like the fact that I can trust him to be who he says he is.’”


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40 comments on “Fox priest: ‘Hard to trust’ an atheist president because they don’t fear eternal damnation

  • Usual garbage, where the religious put more credence on sanctimonious words than the often ghastly behaviour of their leaders and adherents. I will not take lessons in morality from groups that encourage suicide bombers, child molesters, climate change denial, evolution denial ………. yawn



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  • I think how or why we choose who to vote for can be a very personal thing and – given that we live in a democracy – there is no right or wrong way to do it. Some believers may have a tendency to vote for the openly believing, seeing in them a basic commonality of viewpoint. On the other hand, some non-believers may have a tendency not to vote for the openly believing, seeing in them a tendency towards irrationalism.

    The only advice on the issue I was given by my parents was that our electoral vote is a precious thing, painfully gained, so it should always be used.



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  • I don’t know what the situation is in the USA but I have the feeling that people in Britain tend to vote for parties rather than candidates in the General Elections.



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  • For once, I find myself in agreement with Ewan. Why on Earth is Boris Johnson so popular ? And as for Nicola Sturgeon, will the SNP tail wag the Westminster dog ? So far in the UK General Election, I have not spotted one reference to God. Have I missed out ?



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  • @OP – Catholic priest and Fox News contributor Father Jonathan Morris argued over the weekend that atheists were not suitable candidates for president because it was “hard to trust” someone who did not believe that God would punish them.

    With sources noted for “trustworthy clear thinking” to the standards of a Catholic priest and Faux News, why am I unimpressed????



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  • Memo to female anchor: speak / shake things up! Such as…

    Hey Padre, for the sake of argument – female atheist candidates – would that make any difference in your mind? How about atheists that are conservative? Last but not least – let’s try to look at it from an atheist’s point of view – they can be moral too, but as of yet can’t really show it (like the simplistic God=Morals label).



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  • 10
    NearlyNakedApe says:

    Catholic priest and Fox News contributor Father Jonathan Morris argued over the weekend that atheists were not suitable candidates for president because it was “hard to trust” someone who did not believe that God would punish them.

    I wonder how “Father” (how did the RCC come up with this ridiculously ironic title for their employees anyway) Morris can reconcile that statement with the fact that fear of divine retribution did not in any way prevent a large number of his believer co-workers from beating and sexually abusing an even larger number of helpless boys.

    And that’s not even the tip of the iceberg in the Hall of Shame of the RCC.

    I think that pathetic demagogues like Father Morris, if they became aware of how immoral their employers truly are and assuming they really have as much of a conscience as they pretend to, would want crawl into a hole in the wall and stay there until they fall out of existence.



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  • Watching Faux News is akin to watching monkeys flinging poo in their cages.
    The unfortunate result of a depressed mentality living an almost pointless existence in captivity.



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  • 14
    Cairsley says:

    Catholic seminaries must have changed a lot since I went through one last century, if a Catholic priest can be observed to talk such drivel on television. I burst out laughing when he demurred on the relative importance of faith vis-à-vis wisdom, thereby actually undermining his initial statement on faith. I wish someone had been there to ask the Revd Mr Morris what reason anyone has for fearing that some pretermundane entity may punish anyone after death. Had someone put that question to him, he would of course have replied that faith was the reason. A kitten chasing its tail is cute, but a priest trying to put his head in his arse is a fool.



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  • This is your intuition, but if you study the statistics, atheists are much more likely to behave better. Why?

    Catholics believe they can sin and magically have the consequences undone. How do you explain Catholic priests raping children without conscience?
    Christians believe you cannot actually kill anyone.
    Christians believe all but 144,000 are bound for hell. You might as well hang for a sheep as a lamb.



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  • What matters most to us Americans — those who will be voting — is what these guys said before they were running for president, the way in which they lived before they started running for president.”

    What matters most to us American Catholics is just the opposite -not what seminarians did undergoing years of rigorous study and discipline in preparation for the priesthood but what they did to children *after taking the most Holy Sacrament of Ordination. Did these priests ask children whose souls were delivered into pastoral care to trust parish leaders because their piety had been forged in the white heat of sacred vows? ” I like the fact that I can trust him to be who he says he is.’” Trust him? A pedophile decked out in vestments faking religion under color of Catholic authority in order to penetrate the bodies of children for achieving orgasms, foul, bestial, soul disfiguring -a sin with eternal consequences beyond damnation.

    ( *Grammatical parallel only. I am not Catholic.)



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  • Fortunately – UK Politics isn’t played against a backdrop of woo-woo – Mind you where I live the Labour candidate is sitting on a massive majority – the local ‘vox populis’ is predominately RED! (Left wing) and thus the Tory (Blue, Right wing) don’t bother with much of a campaign – they are concentrating on seats thay have a chance of taking !!! Politics is a bit like being a football fan – You’re either RED (United) like me or (BLUE) City – and that polarisation sort of sets the precedence for the election!



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  • I tweeted Father Jonathan the following: @fatherjonathan We're better off trusting pedophile priests than atheists. At least they believe in God, right?

    Perhaps others will join in.



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  • If he’s concerned about an atheist being unafraid of the eternal consequences of their actions, then how much more concerned should he be about a person of faith who believes they are doing the lord’s work? Such a person will be both unafraid and motivated by the promise of an eternal reward. Of course it’s unlikely that the faithful person he’s just helped elect will also believe exactly as he does regarding their God’s will for the people.

    Maybe he’ll just pray that the lord show his leader the correct path, in which case he should have said that he can’t trust a politician that can’t be guided from home via his prayer command center.



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  • since every dictator and war criminal from north and south America and Europe in the last 500 years that I can think of has professed Christianity I don.t think he has much evidence! The one atheist exception was Stalin ; but even he intended to train to be a priest in his early career



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  • @OP – Fox priest: ‘Hard to trust’ an atheist president

    Senior public positions require people of integrity!

    As I was pointing out on this thread:-
    https://www.richarddawkins.net/2015/04/paper-claims-pope-rejected-gay-french-diplomat-as-ambassador-to-holy-see/#li-comment-176615

    . . . . When the recent head of the accounting department at the “Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See”, (the treasury of the Vatican), was arrested for fraud!



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  • 25
    NearlyNakedApe says:

    Quite right! And the biggest fakers of all are the atheist catholic priests and protestant ministers who have lost their belief and carefully hide it from their family and congregation for fear of being ostracized by their community. O the irony… Totally lost on this Morris dude of course.

    OTOH, even though Morris’ comments are ridiculous, bigoted and frankly infuriating, I’m actually glad he’s utttering them on TV. People like him are actually working against the Catholic church’s image and help speed up its demise.

    Who knows? As Daniel Dennett has so wittingly posited, maybe our children will get to see the Vatican being recycled into the European Museum of Roman Catholicism? (1:09:11 into the video).

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BvJZQwy9dvE&feature=player_detailpage#t=4151



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  • It is for this reason the phrase “decent, god-fearing people” has come to seem like such an oxymoron to me.

    Are people ruled( or whom apparently NEED to be ruled) by fear really that decent, anyway?



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  • Father Jon must have a considerable sense of the role that the priesthood plays in forming the Catholic character. After all he is an ordained priest himself.

    From the conditioned perspective of clerical or lay Catholics, the priest is not a member of the “general population.” Therefore surveying the scale and severity of sex crimes committed by priests against children, the “few bad apples” excuse does not compute. For secular humanists who have no interest in equivocating, the presumed moral superiority reflected by the priest because of an imagined special relationship with the Holy Spirit, the grooming of the noviate through seminary crowned with the sacrament of ordination is through and through a charade.

    Whatever virtues and good works may be credited to the Catholic clergy and laity, Father Jon must be appalled and dismayed by the magnitude of child sexual abuse charges brought against his colleagues, the most vile moral “lapses” imaginable. But there is a plausible explanation if one cares to look. The priesthood usually recruits pious “mama’s boys” in adolescence or younger men fixated neurologically and physiologically in adolescence. The human brain does not reach maturity until about age 25. Even worse sexual maturation formed by experience is truncated by the imperative of celibacy. Adolescent sexual appetites driven mad by hormones can only run amok in the imagination until the pastoral wolf is unleashed on the flock.

    With some exceptions, I have found priests to be dull men bored with the mechanical repetition of the words they recite in a vacuous loop. But beyond this I have detected a void, a blind side, a lack of affect implying arrested development. (Father Jon is too polished to fit this description). It is no wonder that the inhuman suppression of intellectual and sexual development has erupted so often in an explosion of corruption, nihilism and sexual exploitation.

    The last thing I want to hear from a priest is a sermon on trust.



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  • 28
    TwoReplies says:

    That priest is deluded,
    He (and all myopic fox drones) just ITCH to force everyone else to live under a christian equivalent of Sharia law.
    Seriously, someone needs to ask him….
    How do you trust someone who believes the ONLY (or only one that matters) thing they’re accountable to is a SUBJECTIVE mythical entity, and ONLY AFTER one’s death??



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  • The idiocy in US politics and the GOP`s official mouthpiece Fox News (average demographic White and 68) is fast becoming a cause for real concern. This priest and “contributor” is a great example. BTW does Fox have a Muslim Religion contributor, or Orthodox or Hindu ?
    Among other obvious factors my candidate should fear damnation in life rather than after death.



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  • Did he realise that his remarks were broadcast on a network that is mainly watched by old men who tune in hoping to get a slight of flash of underwear from the many female presenters? I pretty much doubt it with most of his fellow priests being more aware of pubescent boys in cassocks.



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  • 31
    moveebuff says:

    LOL….because priests are so trustworthy…..Do we really want decisions made by people that believe in ghosts in the sky & all the violence in the bible?



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  • Wait…there are atheist presidential candidates?!

    It’s been my experience, watching these campaigns, that the candidates fall all over themselves to prove they’re more pious than the other guy. At least, until they get elected.



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  • 34
    Fernando says:

    When I heard a christian saying that he/she cannot trust someone that has no a Good who can punish his/her misbehaviour I become suspicious that many religious people have not faith in themselves. I cannot trust someone who needs of a great punisher (a god) to behave ethically. This is no ethics, just fear of punishment.

    In other words, atheists are more reliable than religious people.

    On the other hand, at least in my country (Spain, historically catholic), we have all been raised as a catholics, and when someone declares himself/herself as atheist, he/she demonstrates that has a thinking mind. By contrast, most of the catholic simply follow the tradition, without even thinking.

    Definitely, one can trust atheists more than religious people. This is the rule (but even this rule has some exceptions, logically).



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  • On the other hand, at least in my country (Spain, historically catholic), we have all been raised as a catholics, and when someone declares himself/herself as atheist, he/she demonstrates that has a thinking mind. By contrast, most of the catholic simply follow the tradition, without even thinking.

    Spain has a theocratic history of Franco selling the education system to, and subsidising the RCC, in exchange for political support for, and integration with, his Fascist regime!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concordat_of_1953
    After Franco’s regime managed to survive World War II, the terms of the Convention of 1941 were formalized in Article 7 of the Concordat of 1953.

    In contrast to the anticlericalism of the Popular Front, the Francoist regime established policies that were highly favorable to the Catholic Church, which was restored to its previous status as the official religion of Spain. In addition to receiving government subsidies, the church regained its dominant position in the education system, and laws conformed to Catholic dogma.

    During the Franco years, Roman Catholicism was the only religion to have legal status; other worship services could not be advertised, and the Roman Catholic Church was the only religious institution that was permitted to own property or publish books. The government not only continued to pay priests’ salaries and to subsidize the church butit also assisted in the reconstruction of church buildings damaged by the war. Laws were passed abolishing divorce and banning the sale of contraceptives. Catholic religious instruction was mandatory, even in state schools.

    In return for granting the Catholic Church these privileges, Franco obtained the right to name Roman Catholic bishops in Spain, as well as veto power over appointments of clergy down to the parish priest level.

    .In 1953 this close cooperation was formalized in a new Concordat with the Vatican, which granted the church an extraordinary set of privileges:

    mandatory canonical marriages for all Catholics;

    exemption from government taxation;

    subsidies for new building construction;

    censorship of materials the church deemed offensive;

    the right to establish universities;

    the right to operate radio stations, and to publish newspapers and magazines;

    protection from police intrusion into church properties;

    and exemption of clergy from military service.

    . . . . . . . . .

    Spain is only now shaking off the decades of damage done by these arrangements.



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  • Alan4 underscores the foundational role played by the Catholic Church throughout history in imposing authoritarian power on societies and governments, a comment well worth reading again. Father Jonathan tries to present the updated human face of the Catholicism, open-minded and benign, tolerant and ecumenical, defanged and secular. The ironic hypocrisy is that in order to acquire these traits the “good” Catholic would have to sell her soul to the Devil. Expressing skepticism on orthodox faith doctrines such as transubstantiation, the Nicene Creed, exclusive salvation within the church, Papal (infallible) authority delegated down the ordained chain of priestly command,…the communicant who espoused adherence to freedom of conscience, critical thinking, open inquiry, Biblical criticism, or opposition to teachings on abortion, homosexuality, the admission of women to the priesthood, would find herself excommunicated from the Catholic community of saved souls and hurled into eternal damnation as a heretic.



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  • “One thing is very certain, you can’t fake religion”

    Tell that to the thousands of freethinkers who have no choice but to do exactly that all the time for fear of their lives, just because they live in a theocratic society where they will be messily murdered if they even step out of the closet.

    The “atheist don’t morality” PRATT I won’t even address.



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