Bishop Tobin ask, «Is Jorge Elorza an atheist or not?»

Rhode IslandProvidence Bishop Thomas Tobin post on Facebook Tuesday afternoon questioning the position of Democratic Mayoral candidate Jorge Elorza in relation to God. Tobin’s comment gives it a new twist to the controversy over religious beliefs, or rather the lack of God in the life of Elorza especially in a city where the Latino population overwhelmingly BELIEVES IN GOD.

The question presented by Tobin: Is Jorge Elorza an Atheist? The question emerged early in the campaign and has reappeared in newspaper articles. The case comes as a result of an article Elorza wrote for the University of Pittsburgh Law Review. Tobin writes Since the question arose, I’ve had the chance to read the article and I’ve come across the following quotes…

«Specifically, science has disconfirmed the claim that the theist God has the power to violate the laws of physics.» And again, «In this section I argue that the disconfirmation of the theist God is not only hypothetically possible, but that it has already been achieved.»

When Mr. Elorza uses the term «theist God» I think he’s referring to the kind of God most of us believe in, the God who’s revealed in the Bible — a personal God, a God who can and has intervened in history, a God who cares about you and me every day.

In another section Mr. Elorza turns to psychiatry to argue that many religious experiences can be explained by epilepsy and that many religious founders and leaders have had epilepsy which he refers to as a «sacred disease.»

This theory might come as a shock to many believers who have had personal religious experiences of their own.    Now I should emphasize that being an atheist would neither recommend nor disqualify him from being Mayor of Providence. But I wonder if an atheist mayor would be in a position to respect the sincere convictions of believers (of all faiths) and to encourage and support the many contributions the faith community makes in our city and state.    So, can anyone help determine: Is Jorge Elorza an atheist or not? It would be good to know before Election Day.  

In addition, Independent Mayoral candidate  Buddy Cianci hosted a visit and endorsement from PC Basketball great Ray Flynn – he also served as Mayor of Boston and was the Ambassador to the Vatican.

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