Must Conservatives Be Religious?

AllahPundit asks why he's excluded for lack of religion

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AllahPundit, the pseudonymous blogger who co-anchors the conservative site Hot Air, is also an avowed atheist, making him something of a rarity among opinion leaders on the right. The tension between AllahPundit's (lack of) religion and the religiosity of his peers hit a breaking point last night, when the blogger took umbrage with Glenn Beck's 9/12 Project, a conservative movement to "bring us all back to the place we were on September 12, 2001." Of Beck's "nine priniciples," number two states, "I believe in God and He is the Center of my Life." AllahPundit called this "discrimination," noting, "Religious tests violate the Constitution."

"Which 'core' principles are negotiable?" AllahPundit asked. "I'm honestly amazed that belief in God is some core plank of the 9/12 Project," he wrote. "I need to worship a supreme being to oppose federal spending?" Underlying the particulars of his questions, AllahPundit explored a deeper question: Why do conservative movements like the 9/12 Project require religion and struggle to make room for atheists?

AllahPundit spent several hours sparring on Twitter with Beck acolytes, arguing that excluding atheists misunderstands American conservatism and goes against what conservatives should stand for. "The limited gov movement needs to realize their position on religion is that we are free to believe what we want," he wrote. "You're not the one being told your beliefs violate a 'core principle,'" he told a Beck supporter. "If religious belief is a core principle of his movement, then I have no use for it," he wrote.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.