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Positive Support for Atheist Congressman Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Posted by Henry in atheism, faith, God, Pete Stark, politics, religion.

A US congressman has recently become the first in record to publicly admit his no god-belief. Rep. Pete Stark of Fremont has broken the atheism public taboo stating that:

“When the Secular Coalition asked me to complete a survey on my religious beliefs, I indicated I am a Unitarian who does not believe in a supreme being,” Stark said. “Like our nation’s founders, I strongly support the separation of church and state. I look forward to working with the Secular Coalition to stop the promotion of narrow religious beliefs in science, marriage contracts, the military and the provision of social services.

It is really a brave and commendable gesture for Stark to publicly announce his personal religious belief (or non-belief) under the current political climate. Apparently it is only a generation ago that it has been said that such a statement would have been a political suicide.

A few days later, instead of receiving threats and nasty comments as I expected, it is delightful to know that Stark has receive great positive support for his religious inclination. Even the negative responses have been “polite and reasonable”, and “all in all it has been a pleasurable experience”.

Admittedly this has dampened the stereotype I have on the general public in the US – probably not many people expected this sort of supportive reaction. Together with the fact that Richard Dawkin’s book “The God Delusion” has been one of very best seller on the NY Times for more than half of a year (and similarly for Sam Harris’s book “Letter to a Christian Nation”), we can be more and more confident to conclude that there is a large – and quiet – number of atheists out there, who are silently responding to the religious driven political scene that has characterised the US today.


1. poppies - Wednesday, March 21, 2007

It makes me really sad that this announcement is causing such a stir; I hope that Stark influences people to be upfront with what they believe. Even as a theist, I’d rather live in a society where people feel very free to disagree with theism.

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