Republican Gov. John Kasich of Ohio mocked "Harry Potter" star Daniel Radcliffe for being an atheist.
Kasich made his remarks while touring downtown Exeter, New Hampshire, on Aug. 29 with Republican gubernatorial candidate Chris Sununu, according to the Concord Monitor.
During a stop inside of a bookstore, Kasich noticed a "Harry Potter" book and said: "You know that Daniel Radcliffe has declared himself an atheist? I’m serious. What a weird thing. Why would a guy who has had all that success just, I mean, what the hell is wrong with him?'
Kasich didn't say why movie stardom would convince one to believe in God's existence, but wondered who would be more financially successful, Michael Phelps or Usain Bolt: "It’s going to be interesting to see who is going to make it big from the Olympics."
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In a 2009 interview with Esquire magazine, Radcliffe publicly declared himself an atheist, according to The Telegraph.
"I'm an atheist, but I'm very relaxed about it," Radcliffe said at the time. "I don't preach my atheism, but I have a huge amount of respect for people like Richard Dawkins who do. Anything he does on television, I will watch."
Radcliffe joked about the ramifications of his comment.
"There we go, Dan," he said. "That's half of America that's not going to see the next 'Harry Potter' film on the back of that comment."
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In response to Kasich's statement, American Atheists president David Silverman sent him an open letter via Atheist Voter:
To state what should be obvious: There is nothing "wrong" with Mr. Radcliffe nor with the tens of millions of atheists in this country...
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.
There's no word if Kasich has responded to the letter.