Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA) comes out...as a non-theist

UPDATE: Dude, he's a Unitarian! I love it when people from my little religion are in the news! Note that not all Unitarians are atheists. It so happens that Rep. Stark is both. Also, I identify as a "Unitarian Universalist", rather than just "Unitarian" because I joined after the Unitarians and Universalists merged. Many people who were part of one church or the other before the merge call themselves "Unitarian" or "Universalist" rather than "Unitarian Universalist."

Great news for those of us championing the cause of unbelievers (the most scorned group, if recent polls are to be believed) in American politics: Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA) has come out as a non-theist. Here's the Secular Coalition for America (whom I did not know existed until now):

There is only one member of Congress who is on record as not holding a god-belief.

Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.), a member of Congress since 1973, acknowledged his nontheism in response to an inquiry by the Secular Coalition for America. Rep. Stark is a senior member of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee and is Chair of the Health Subcommittee.

Although the Constitution prohibits religious tests for public office, the Coalition's research reveals that Rep. Stark is the first open nontheist in the history of the Congress. Recent polls show that Americans without a god-belief are, as a group, more distrusted than any other minority in America. Surveys show that the majority of Americans would not vote for an atheist for president even if he or she were the most qualified for the office.

(HT: poputonian). Yay for Pete Stark! I long for the day when this won't be news, and I won't have to celebrate the coming out of an unbeliever in American politics. But apparently we have some work to do if we're going to bring that about.

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