A prominent evangelical preacher has stated that she would never vote for a candidate who considered himself or herself to be an atheist.
Anne Graham Lotz, founder and president of AnGeL Ministries and daughter of the Rev. Billy Graham, made this statement Sunday when she was part of a panel on MSNBC.
"I would not vote for a man who was atheist," said Lotz, adding that she believes "you need to have acknowledgment, a reverence, a fear for almighty God. And I believe that's where wisdom comes from."
Lotz explained that in American society "we have a lot of knowledge," but we need to go beyond just having plentiful knowledge.
"But to know how to use the knowledge in a way that benefits the majority of people in this country, that's what I look for in a president. I want my leader to have – a fear and a respect and a reverence for God," said Lotz.
Lotz's remarks came as she was part of a panel on MSNBC's "Meet The Press" with David Gregory. Other members of the panel included Emanuel Cleaver, Democratic congressman and United Methodist pastor; Bishop William Lori, archbishop designate of Baltimore; Jon Meacham, the executive editor of Random House; and Raul Labrador, Republican Congressman of Idaho who is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association, told The Christian Post that he took issue with Lotz's remarks for multiple reasons.
"I find the idea of a spiritual litmus test for public office to be fundamentally unfair and wrong," said Speckhardt.
"Someone's position on theism and their faith label doesn't give us enough information to disqualify a candidate, even on a personal level."
Speckhardt also believe that while religious belief can be an indicator of a public figure's views, it was not always a sure indicator of ideological leaning.
"With atheists like Karl Rove and faithful liberals like Bishop Spong, the label just doesn't say enough," said Speckhardt.
While stating that she could not vote for an atheist, Lotz also said on "Meet The Press" that there were still other things to look at regarding a prospective candidate.
"So to me I still think we need to look at the policies," said Lotz. "It's interesting that Jimmy Carter and George Bush were both considered evangelicals but [were] very different."