Vivek Ramaswamy responds to atheist voter, says Christian nationalism not 'major threat'

Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy
Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy | Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Entrepreneur and GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy suggested during a town hall last week in Iowa that he doesn't see Christian nationalism as a major threat to the U.S.

Ramaswamy, 38, was responding to an audience member who asked him to provide a line for an atheist, secular, or even "satanic" voters that is "not a kitschy conservative catchphrase."

The man, who was wearing a T-shirt that said, "Science Doesn't Care What You Believe," claimed that the U.S. has a government that "is propping up Christianity, instead is excusing Christianity's bad actors, that isn't doing anything to fight Christian nationalism."

Ramaswamy pushed back against the audience's member's assertion, saying that while some of his criticism might have been applicable in the past, he believes "wokeism and transgenderism" are now the more pressing cultural issues.

"Respectfully, I don't think that's actually a major threat in this country compared to the threats that I named," Ramaswamy told the man, who cut in to suggest that the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, was perpetrated by Christian nationalists.

Regarding what he would say to potential atheist voters, Ramaswamy said, "You are free to live your life and practice your faith or absence thereof freely without anybody standing in your way, because that's what the First Amendment of the Constitution ensures." He promised to uphold that constitutional guarantee if he becomes president.

Ramaswamy, who has said during his campaign that he believes the U.S. is facing "a revolutionary moment," went on to pick up a copy of his pamphlet, "Truth. For the Patriots of America."

He noted that literature handed out during his events was modeled after the 18th century pamphlets of Thomas Paine, who helped to lay the intellectual groundwork for the American Revolution.

He claimed that while many of the Founding Fathers were Christian, Paine was an atheist and Thomas Jefferson was deist. Historians generally also consider Paine to be a deist, though he was disdainful of organized religion in his writings.

He noted that despite their beliefs, Jefferson remains his favorite president and that while he admires Paine less, he "still [respects] the hell out of him" because of the philosophical role he played in the American founding.

"I recognize that about our history," he said. "And I recognize that about our Constitution. And I recognize that even people of diverse faiths in this country were bound together by the ideals enshrined in that Constitution."

The audience member concluded by asking Ramaswamy to explain if he believes human rights come from God or man, to which he replied: "I believe that our natural rights, outside of a government, come from God, our natural rights."

"In the context of a constitutional republic, the rights that we enjoy are the ones enshrined and codified in our Constitution, and I recognize the difference between being a president and a pastor," he added.

Ramaswamy is a Hindu, and spoke during the FAMiLY Leader’s Thanksgiving Family Forum in Des Moines last November about how his faith helped him and his wife deal with the loss of their first child to miscarriage.

Jon Brown is a reporter for The Christian Post. Send news tips to

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