Why can’t an Atheist become President?

This question comes to me as I watch the primary race in Iowa and New Hampshire. Every candidate, not just the Republicans, must have their god credentials stamped and ready. Many poles have been run to this effect and the same answer keeps coming back, the American people will not vote for an Atheist President (http://atheism.about.com/od/atheistbigotryprejudice/a/AtheistSurveys.htm). But why is the question.

Pundits and columnists have written on many occasions to explain the gap between Atheists and all other religious minorities. Most of them come down to either “people don’t want to vote for someone with differing views on such a fundamental issue” or if the commentator is less diplomatic “atheists don’t answer to a higher power so they have no set morals”. Both of these points are baseless. First people vote against their “core values” all the time it is called politics. Second, atheists may not answer to a “higher power” but the moral structure of many is stronger than that of many theists because they do what is right not based on some ancient principals set into stories that came down through the generations, but on how the greatest good can be achieved for all people. Not just for other atheists but for the whole world. For some inexplicable reason atheists are the most feared and rejected “religious” sub-set. What did Atheists do to incite such rancor? What mid-evil crime did we commit to be labeled as political untouchables? Even considering the Right’s overwhelming fear of Islam, Atheists still top the list. Why do the theists hate us so much, and what would really be wrong with an Atheist President?