Sally Quinn’s hollow faith

At the Washington Post, Sally Quinn said something that’s probably much more true than she thought:

This is a religious country. Part of claiming your citizenship is claiming a belief in God, even if you are not Christian.. We’ve got the Creator in our Declaration of Independence. We’ve got “In God We Trust” on our coins. We’ve got “one nation under God” in our Pledge of Allegiance. And we say prayers in the Senate and the House of Representatives to God.

Claiming a belief in God. Even if you are not Christian. It really shows just how much religion matters to Sally Quinn: enough for her to cite America’s unfortunate habit of plastering pointless professions of piety onto our pledges and currency, but not enough for her to care about whether anyone truly believes in this god. The only thing that’s important to her is that we keep on saying it, even as it’s separated from all meaning by her notion that people’s actual beliefs are irrelevant, and her demand that they say the words anyway. Quinn is simply representing the religious America of today: a nation of faithful who have so prioritized devout appearances over walking the walk, they don’t even bother to hide this anymore. They plainly state their expectation that we all do the same, saying the magic words no matter what we believe. It’s so out in the open, it’s right there in the Washington Post for anyone to see.

Sally Quinn’s hollow faith

14 thoughts on “Sally Quinn’s hollow faith

  1. 1

    I had no idea Quinn was such an ideologue. While I am certainly far to the Left of her, I always considered her to be a fairly milquetoast and innocuous centrist. But her comments worry my that this kind of religious goose-stepping is becoming de rigueur even among so-called social liberals.

  2. 2

    Sure does help if your hubbie is on the editorial board.

    “Quinn is simply representing the religious America of today”

    No, she represents the privileged wives of CEO’s of America today. Her opinion is meaningless and this opinion piece has been roundly criticized. There have always been people like her. If anything the very religious Moral Majority have been losing influence since their peak in the ’80s and ’90s.

    She got her soapbox on the WaPo because of who she slept with, not because there are people clamoring to hear her.

  3. 3

    I get so exhausted with these blowhards talking about how religion is on our coins and in our pledges–all that shit was added in the 1950s during the Red Scare. None of it is foundational, none of it has any relationship with the Constitution, none of it even makes any sense. Unsurprisingly with most religious infringement on the state (or religious thought) it was a combination knee-jerk and over-simplified reaction to a chosen external threat. The Cold War is over, the tribal solidarity has dissolved, the symbols and mottos need to be dropped.

    1. 3.1

      I can’t wrap my mind around this.

      Shouldn’t public institutions work for the whole public?

      But stamping “In God We Trust” on the mammon is an attempt, by one part of the public, to insult and exclude other parts of the public. And many of the people pointing to the coinage as proof of religious concern are self-described Christians [as am I], and ought to find both insulting other people, and everything else, rather troubling.

  4. 6

    I’ve noticed something along the same lines as this.

    Having a “belief” seems to not even require having the belief, much less claiming it.

    When I was religious, I actually believed and it was really quite psychologically difficult. Now, I find out that so many religious people really don’t, even when they sort of do.

    I was talking to a co-worker and she asked about my atheism saying, “Do you judge people who believe in God.”

    I replied, “Define ‘judge'”.

    She says, “Well, I believe in God, because, you know just in case…”

    I said, “Whatever – Pascal’s Wager Girl.”

    And she says (I’m not making this up), “Well, I guess I don’t. Yeah, I don’t believe in God.”


    1. 6.1


      To be a True Believer today it helps to be an Atheist. There are none who believe so hard and so fervently as the atheists today. It is the religious believers today who lack all conviction. “Lord I believe, help thou my unbelief” is not something you’d ever hear coming from the mouth of a atheist. For today’s believers on the other hand, it is all show and outward demonstrations, ritual.

      If you want to lose your faith become a priest. If you want to gain it back become an atheist.

      1. “Lord I believe, help thou my unbelief” is not something you’d ever hear coming from the mouth of a atheist

        Because, first, there’s no lord and second, unbelief requires no effort, let alone assistance.

        If you don’t have enough faith to be an atheist, you’re doin it rong.

        1. “unbelief requires no effort”

          Belief is “mental content held as true”. Atheism is the rejection of theism so the atheist believes it is true that theism cannot prove it’s claims.

          Besides, the quotation is meant to point to the fact that the New Atheists of today are true believers in that they do not question their belief system. Everyone has one and you can’t not have one. So…. what I was saying, which you seem to have missed entirely, is that you will not hear atheists questioning or doubting their own beliefs.

          In that sense New Atheists are like Fundamentalists in that they hold their beliefs absolutely and unquestioningly and do not tolerate dissent from their received truths. That is why you have so much conflict. That is why the Dawkin’s forums melted down into a cesspool of hate and vitriol and it is why the conflicts with Rebecca Watson et. al. over feminism or A+ or whatever are so vicious. Because these are internecine political struggles for power. Not rational debates over policy.

          These conflicts will only get worse until you acknowledge what you are: a political group with a set of beliefs and strategy for how to achieve your goals. Until the New Atheist community acknowledges that basic fact you’ll never get anywhere because you will never work together towards a common goal. There’ll just be endless infighting. Like what you have now. Good luck with that.

    2. 6.2

      A being who would punish people for not believing that they exist, and would punish people for coming to the wrong conclusion from the best reasoning and best evidence they have, and would reward people for coming to the right conclusion out of pathological self-doubt about one’s reasoning and one’s perception seems, well, more like someone’s sadistic head-game than like any real being.

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