Pete Stark, Nontheist and Congressman

Caught this video via the Friendly Atheist.

Back in April I attended a conference on “The New Humanism” at Harvard and the big buzz at the time was that California Congressman Pete Stark was coming to speak at Harvard in five months. Congressman Stark is the highest ranking elected official in the U.S. to publicly identify himself as a nontheist, which requires more guts to do than it ought to — after all, there is still a clause in Article VI Section 3 of our U.S. Constitution which states that “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”

Yet the religious beliefs of candidates and elected officials matter to voters. And for the most part, voters are least likely to vote for atheists or nontheists.

Which tells me that Congressman Stark may not be the highest-ranking nontheist in government, but rather the only one whose seat is safe enough that he can admit it.

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