Atheists are decrying Ted Cruz's recent claim that any president who does not pray to God each day is unfit to serve as commander-in-chief.
The Center for Freethought Equality, a secular lobbying group, released a statement on Monday condemning the Texas senator and Republican presidential candidate over a response that he gave to a question at the National Religious Liberties Conference in Des Moines, Iowa, on Friday.
Cruz, who was asked how important he believes it is for "the president of the United States to fear God," responded, "Any president who doesn’t begin every day on his knees isn’t fit to be commander-in-chief of this country."
He added, "We’re a nation that has enjoyed God’s blessing, providential blessing, from the very beginning."
Watch Cruz's comments below:
It was a response that led Bishop McNeill, head of the Center for Freethought Equality's Freethought Equality Fund PAC, to speak out, claiming that Cruz perpetuated a "prejudiced myth."
"By claiming that those who do not pray are not fit for office, Senator Cruz is perpetuating the prejudiced myth that humanists and atheists are not moral people," McNeill said. "There are a number of recent studies that show that despite how religious Americans remain, a majority of people would vote for a qualified atheist for president."
The activist cited a recent report from the Pew Research Center that showed a growing proportion of Americans — the so-called unaffiliated "nones" — who are either atheist, agnostic or unattached to a religion, accounting for nearly 23 percent of the population.
"In his callous dismissal of humanists, atheists and other secular Americans, Senator Cruz also shows that he is out-of-touch with the growing number of Americans who are not affiliated with any religion," McNeill said.
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