Penn Jillette: An Atheist's Guide to the 2012 Election (UPDATED WITH VIDEO)

Religious groups, labor groups, women's rights groups, environmental groups and various business interests all offer "scorecards" that rate politicians. So why not atheists? Penn Jillette fills the void.

If you visit The Family Research Council (FRC) website, you can examine the "Pro-family voting record of your Member of Congress." The FRC, a conservative Christian lobbying group, is not alone in providing so-called "scorecards" that rate politicians according to how well they mesh with the group's core beliefs. Many labor groups, women's rights groups, environmental groups and various business interests offer similar services to their members and constituents.


What you won't see very often, however, is a scorecard for atheists. Until now. Penn Jillette, the talking member of Penn and Teller, prominent atheist and author of God, No! Signs You May Already Be an Atheist and Other Magical Tales, sized up the major candidates in the 2012 presidential race in a recent interview with Big Think. Jillette's scorecard is unique in a number of ways. For one thing, it's decidedly non-partisan. Jillette directs his criticism at Democrats and Republicans alike. Another noticeable attribute: you'll be hard-pressed to find another voting guide out there that is quite so colorful, and so laced with profanity, as Jillette's.

Watch the video here:

A few highlights:

Bill Clinton is the most religious president we’ve had.

Penn Jillette points out that Bill Clinton attended more church services and made more references to the Bible than any other President, including George W. Bush and Jimmy Carter.

On Mitt Romney:

 Under his pants, he is wearing magic underwear. Magic underwear.  And he believes that a convicted con man got golden tablets that no one else could see, and sat with an angel to find out that the original Jews of the Bible were living in North America. Crazy, crazy, crazy, crazy.

However, according to Jillette, Romney is "the same as Obama."

On Barack Obama:

You have two choices with Obama. You either believe that he is a man of Christ...or you think he’s a liar. And I’m surprised by the number of atheist free thinkers that support Obama and their argument is essentially, he’s lying about being religious ‘cause you have to do that to get elected. It’s a horrible reason to like somebody. I like him because he might be a liar. Horrible.

If Obama believes what he was being taught in that church in Chicago, okay, he is bat-shit crazy.  And Obama is demonstratively not bat shit crazy.   

On Michelle Bachmann:

I have tried with friends to say the most blasphemous sentence I can possibly say and it does not come close to the blasphemy of Michelle Bachman saying that earthquakes and hurricanes were the way God was trying to get the attention of politicians.

Follow Penn Jillette on Twitter @pennjillette.

Follow Daniel Honan on Twitter @DanielHonan

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

In a first for humankind, China successfully sprouts a seed on the Moon

China's Chang'e 4 biosphere experiment marks a first for humankind.

Image source: CNSA
Surprising Science
  • China's Chang'e 4 lunar lander touched down on the far side of the moon on January 3.
  • In addition to a lunar rover, the lander carried a biosphere experiment that contains five sets of plants and some insects.
  • The experiment is designed to test how astronauts might someday grow plants in space to sustain long-term settlements.
Keep reading Show less

A world map of Virgin Mary apparitions

She met mere mortals with and without the Vatican's approval.

Strange Maps
  • For centuries, the Virgin Mary has appeared to the faithful, requesting devotion and promising comfort.
  • These maps show the geography of Marian apparitions – the handful approved by the Vatican, and many others.
  • Historically, Europe is where most apparitions have been reported, but the U.S. is pretty fertile ground too.
Keep reading Show less

Love in a time of migrants: on rethinking arranged marriages

Arranged marriages and Western romantic practices have more in common than we might think.

Culture & Religion

In his book In Praise of Love (2009), the French communist philosopher Alain Badiou attacks the notion of 'risk-free love', which he sees written in the commercial language of dating services that promise their customers 'love, without falling in love'.

Keep reading Show less