Ted Cruz: Atheists Shouldn't Be President of the United States

As the Republican race heats up, the candidates are scrambling to see who can more shamelessly pander to the most extreme elements of the party. Not to be outdone by noted Jesus-lover, amateur Egyptologist, and now front-runner Ben Carson, Texas Senator Ted Cruz told the National Religious Liberties Conference in Iowa on Friday that Atheists shouldn't be in the Oval Office.

"Any president," Cruz said, "who doesn't begin every day on his knees isn't fit to be commander in chief of this nation." The crowd applauded with glee; the irony that such a bigoted statement was said at a "religious liberties" conference was apparently lost on everyone.

There is, of course, no religious litmus test for the White House, or any virtually any job in the United States, because such a thing would be a gross violation of the Constitution and/or the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Nonetheless, Americans have routinely shown contempt for the idea of an atheist in the White House, with some polls showing only 58% approve of a commander-in-chief who is a non-believer (though, in fairness, this is up from 18% in 1958.)

Ted Cruz's conservative beliefs are so extreme, former U.S. Speaker of the House and fellow Republican John Boehner once called him a "rightwing Marxist." Whether or not these overtures to the flat-earth crowd will pay political dividends is unclear, but Cruz has ticked up slightly in the polls over the past week so maybe he's on to something.

Watch the clip below:

h/t Rightwing Watch.

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