A Challenge to Governor John Kasich

This weekend, Ohio Governor John Kasich made comments disparaging actor Daniel Radcliffe because of his atheism. American Atheists President David Silverman challenges Kasich to meet with atheist constituents and learn about the growing community he represents as governor.

Dear Governor Kasich,

kasich3.jpgThis weekend, during a campaign stop at a bookstore in Exeter, New Hampshire, you wondered aloud why “a guy [actor Daniel Radcliffe] who has had all that success” would “declare himself an atheist.” You said it was “a weird thing” and asked, “What the hell is wrong with him?”

To state what should be obvious: There is nothing “wrong” with Mr. Radcliffe nor with the tens of millions of atheists in this country.

Atheists are members of your community. We are your firefighters, your police officers, your teachers, your doctors, and your coworkers. I have no doubt that atheists serve on your staff and volunteered for your presidential campaign. If you think you’ve never met an atheist, you’re wrong.

I challenge you to sit down with a group of your atheist constituents. Talk to us about what we want from our government. Ask us why we’re atheists and what it means to us. You name the time and place and I’ll make it happen.

I will personally come to Ohio and organize the meeting. Ohio is home to five American Atheists affiliate groups and more than 1,000 members and supporters. I know that any number of them would be thrilled to meet with you and share their views.

This is an opportunity for you to show your commitment to representing all Ohioans. In your state, there are more atheists than there are Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and Mormons combined. Nonreligious Ohioans are the second-largest religious demographic.

Our community faces intolerance and bigotry daily. Politicians regularly question our patriotism, say that we are unfit to serve in elected office, and contemplate using even the perceived lack of religious beliefs as a line of attack.

The United States is a nation of countless religions—and atheists. We deserve leaders who acknowledge and celebrate that. Please remember that you represent all of us.

I urge you, Governor Kasich, to use this as an opportunity to learn about millions of people you represent. Rather than saying that we are “weird” or that there is something wrong with us, find out what it means to be an atheist. Let your fellow Ohioans who happen to be atheists show you why we care about the direction of our nation.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.


David Silverman
President, American Atheists


We have sent this letter to Governor Kasich directly and will report back if we receive a response.


Showing 14 reactions

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  • Erin Osborne
    commented 2016-11-21 04:49:22 -0500
    I as of late discovered that Ohio has a republican senator that used to be an analyst for http://www.essayhelpdeal.co.uk/descriptive-essay/ and FOX news…..FOX!?!? In what manner can a man that used to be a pundit for a news program be chosen to ANYTHING. I hope to vote for him next time yet I’ve never voted in favour of something this nearby. At the point when do the races happen and where.
  • Dianne Stephens
    commented 2016-09-15 09:24:39 -0400
    There is no way atheists can be oppressed because of their point of view. Atheists can still be patriots and America is a country of diversity! Leaders, who allow themselves condemn others without a substantial reason, do not deserve that leadership. Team at http://thetermpapers.net/ supports this initiative of open dialogue with political leaders undoubtedly.
  • Jon Lester
    commented 2016-09-09 12:31:20 -0400
    A few months ago, Kasich wanted to attack Russian forces in Syria on behalf of Islamist rebels. Is the governor a secret Muslim? That would explain his theological insecurity.
  • Done with Religion
    commented 2016-09-07 16:46:34 -0400
    Wow, I am sorry to hear of such a negative comment. I would like to think he would issue an apology for making such a statement although I do not think it would do much good. He already said what he really thought. Let me say one thing, coming from a christian perspective, and yes I know… I’m one of those that do believe in God, we are not to be condemning and judgmental. For me I personally believe that my faith in God and in Jesus is right, but I do not believe that way of thinking should be forced on anyone. Each of us has the right and freedom to choose what to believe. I am tired of seeing so many people judging and condemning others for their way of life or faith or lack thereof. Whether we choose to believe in God or not, either way of thought cannot be proved. As christians rather than getting mad and trying to defend our personal belief, we should be accepting of others, respecting each individual or group and the way they choose to live life. So many christians come across thinking we are right and everyone else is wrong, yet we cannot prove there is a God, nor can actual proof be given there is not a God. I can certainly see both ways of thought and how each can defend their way of thinking. As christians believing in God is an act of faith, not proof. To atheists it is an issue of not having any proof their is a God. I know several people who are atheist but say they would accept God is there was actual proof. Personally, I think it is best to stick with what you believe is right for you and be respectful of others who think differently. If we could look past the labels we put on one another and accept each other as human beings, treat each other with kindness and respect and stop poking fun at each other or getting mad and being mean to each other, the world would be a little better place to live. I know we are not going to agree on things and that is OK. As christians, we should stop being mean, judgmental and condemning of others and accept everyone just as they are. If we are claiming to be followers of Jesus we can see in the gospels that he was loving and kind. He told us to love God and love others, not to judge, condemn or treat them as enemies. Just as the comment made by the governor was disrespectful and mean, we all need to stop and think before we speak. Words can be hurtful.
  • M Nochez
    commented 2016-09-07 15:16:48 -0400
    Honestly, I’m tired of trying to explain to these political dinosaurs what atheists are and how we are a (growing) part of the electorate. I say let natural selection do away with them.
    I don’t hope he responds, I hope he doubles down so we can write him off once and for all.
  • William Holman
    commented 2016-09-07 08:50:34 -0400
    Honestly, I’m generally pretty supportive of Kasich – his tendency toward reasonable discourse and non-partisanship enthuse me. This letter set a n even higher bar in reasonable discourse, and I hope he accepts – religious awareness is an area he could improve. Thank you for writing this in such a productive manner!
  • Wayne Smith
    commented 2016-09-07 07:22:26 -0400
    That’s an excellent idea David, I hope he accepts the invitation.
  • Justin Ruggles
    commented 2016-09-07 07:04:49 -0400
  • Brian Lenihan
    commented 2016-09-06 22:15:47 -0400
    Let’s invite John Kasich to speak to the Tri-State Freethinkers or Freethought Dayton.
  • Marc Acampora
    commented 2016-09-06 20:51:45 -0400
    Well written and the right tone and message.
  • Bill Michaels
    commented 2016-09-06 17:43:58 -0400
    Good going, Dave! Let us know if the guy accepts. (Hint: he won’t.)
  • Mary Creger
    commented 2016-09-06 16:50:59 -0400
    I’m a born and raised Ohioan/Buckeye and an Atheist. I would be happy to have a chat with our Governor.