Monday, January 05, 2009

My new favorite member of Congress

Pete Stark, a democrat from the northern California city of Fremont. He's the only out-and-not-ashamed-or-apologetic non-believer in Congress. He's considered the highest-serving atheist in the United States. It's all here in this L.A. Times story about the religious demographics of the 111th Congress.

Sadly ...

Nearly 60 members of Congress were nominated. The coalition sent them surveys, and Kaplan said that when he interviewed the lawmakers, 22 confided that they did not believe in a god. Fearful of exposure, all but Stark told the group to keep quiet.

"The perception is it's politically dangerous" to be godless, Kaplan said.

Indeed, a USA Today/Gallup poll in early 2007 showed that atheism would be a huge obstacle for a presidential candidate: 45% of respondents said they would vote for a nonbeliever, compared with 55% for a gay person, 88% for a woman and 95% for a Catholic.

I know many non-Christians who all live in this extremely Christian country. And they are among the most ethical, humanistic and generous people I know. They give to charity; they believe in equal rights for all; they respect differences and embrace intellectualism. Why can't more people bother questioning?

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