Conservative commentator S. E. Cupp got stuck in a dilemma of her own making Thursday when the topic of atheism and politics came up on her new MSNBC news show. The debacle that followed was painful to watch, video below.
So much to unpack. Cupp clearly felt obligated to praise believers, the bread and butter of her party, why she’s downright envious and defensive of them! She repeatedly insulted all atheists by claiming how intolerant atheists are, talk about projection, and then in practically the same breath professed her intolerance of atheists by saying she would never vote for one because they only represent five or ten percent of the country and think the rest are crazy. Wouldn’t a faithful Jewish candidate, or a Mormon for that matter, represent only a few percent of the electorate and also believe the majority of Americans hold false religious beliefs? If we take her at her word, Cupp would refuse to vote for Eric Cantor or Mitt Romney for the same reason. But we all know this ad hoc rationalization is applied selectively and hypocritically.
Speaking of hypocrisy, Cupp’s single example of purported militant atheist intolerance was a release grading presidential candidates on their religious beliefs vs the policies they espouse by the Secular Coalition of America. Which, for reasons that remain baffling, she described as “abominable and arrogant”. Presumably, Cupp is qualified to be a conservative political expert worthy of hosting a show on cable news in the midst of a presidential election, she holds a master in religious studies, and yet she’s never heard of any other organization that has ever graded candidates on their religious-political views. And despite the resources of MSNBC at her disposal, the only trusted media source she could find on the SCA’s report was in a newspaper run by Moonies. You have got to be fucking kidding me.
Watching Cupp dance around, nay loathe her own lack of belief, seeing the frightened look in her eyes as it dawned on her that her shot at pundacious fame was suddenly in peril, and worst of all the open pity expressed by other panelists as they tried to gently guide her back to sanity, made me very thankful I’m not a conservative atheist. For the average non sociopath, the mental contortions required to juggle those two hot potatoes must be intellectually and morally exhausting.
It’s not easy to be a conservative atheist these days, the religious right has seen to that. But one would think a professional talking head, who selected and prepared for that very topic, could at least give it a go. Alas, Cupp is clearly not up to the task.