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Old 03-13-2007, 03:36 AM   #1
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First Atheist in US Congress

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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.

Herb Silverman, president of the Secular Coalition for America, attributes these attitudes to the demonization of people who don't believe in God. "The truth is," says Silverman, "the vast majority of us follow the Golden Rule and are as likely to be good citizens, just like Rep. Stark with over 30 years of exemplary public service. The only way to counter the prejudice against nontheists is for more people to publicly identify as nontheists. Rep. Stark shows remarkable courage in being the first member of Congress to do so."

In October, 2006 the Secular Coalition for America, a national lobby representing the interests of atheists, humanists, freethinkers, and other nontheists, announced a contest. At the time, few if any elected officials, even at the lowest level, would self-identify as a nontheist. So the Coalition offered $1,000 to the person who could identify the highest level atheist, agnostic, humanist or any other kind of nontheist currently holding elected public office in the United States.

In addition to Rep. Stark only three other elected officials agreed to do so: Terry S. Doran, president of the School Board in Berkeley, Calif.; Nancy Glista on the School Committee in Franklin, Maine; and Michael Cerone, a Town Meeting Member from Arlington, Mass.

Surveys vary in the percentage of atheists, humanists, freethinkers and other nontheists in the U.S, with about 10% (30 million people) a fair middle point. "If the number of nontheists in Congress reflected the percentage of nontheists in the population," Lori Lipman Brown, director of the Secular Coalition, observes, "there would be 53-54 nontheistic Congress members instead of one."
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Old 03-13-2007, 03:48 AM   #2
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Definitely under-represented demographic.
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Old 03-13-2007, 04:08 AM   #3
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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.
I don't get this? I don't understand why its so hard for believers to see that its easy to <i> not </i> believe. I also don't see why we are not trustworthy simply because we don't follow others and come to our on conclusions and sometimes, have too in the face of adversity and propoganda!

Also I really don't agree with 'if you believ ein God you are more trustworthy and moral' because their is a lot LOT LOT of evidence to the contrary.

ridiculous.
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Old 03-13-2007, 04:14 AM   #4
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Sometimes I think that much of the US is afraid of thought not sugarcoated by symbolism. It really doesn't matter what you really believe or do as long as you drape it properly. God, country, flag, family. Gets old. I'm looking for some new blood.
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Old 03-13-2007, 04:19 AM   #5
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"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."



This kind of a survey question should be taken with a grain of salt, though - we don't know who the sample is. Probably very different numbers between Charleston and San Francisco.
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Old 03-13-2007, 04:21 AM   #6
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That is true, but still it disappoints me. I also believe that government and religion should be poles apart and therefore atheists should be welcomed as politicians rather then shunned.
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Old 03-13-2007, 04:30 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by DaveC
"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."



This kind of a survey question should be taken with a grain of salt, though - we don't know who the sample is. Probably very different numbers between Charleston and San Francisco.
The survey was pretty large, the "average" American would want their daughter marrying a gay Muslim before an atheist.
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Old 03-13-2007, 04:33 AM   #8
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Never mind.
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Old 03-13-2007, 07:16 AM   #9
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Ah, the devil is inside! He's an infiltrator and has gotten into the holiest of the holy.

You will all die! Sorry.
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Old 03-13-2007, 09:24 AM   #10
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It takes alot of strength for this man to stand up and say what he believes (or doesn't) and for that I commend him.

It's unfortunate that so much of America is infested by total idiots that they can't see Athiests are generally very moral and intelligent people. And in so many ways we can be more moral than religious types obviously.....
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Old 03-13-2007, 11:08 AM   #11
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This so much reminds me of that woman:

http://www.myconfinedspace.com/2007/...on-on-atheists

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It’s time to stomp out atheists in America. The majority of Americans would love to see atheists kicked out of America. If you don’t believe in God, then get out of this country.

The United States is based on having freedom of religion, speech, etc., which means you can believe in God any way you want (Baptist, Catholic, Methodist, etc.), but you must believe.

I don’t recall freedom of religion meaning no religion. Our currency even says, “In God We Trust.” So, to all the atheists in America: Get off of our country.

Atheists have casued the ruin of this great nation by taking prayer out of our school sna being able to rpactice what can only be called evil. I don’t care if they have never committed a crime, atheists are the reason crime is rampant.
I mean, this seems not to be a single opinion, but quite accepted. That's scary.

It least this Representative won't have to walk to Canossa
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Old 03-13-2007, 11:13 AM   #12
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Or George Bush
Quote:

Sherman: What will you do to win the votes of the Americans who are atheists?

Bush: I guess I'm pretty weak in the atheist community. Faith in God is important to me.

Sherman: Surely you recognize the equal citizenship and patriotism of Americans who are atheists?

Bush: No, I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God.

Sherman (somewhat taken aback): Do you support as a sound constitutional principle the separation of state and church?

Bush: Yes, I support the separation of church and state. I'm just not very high on atheists.
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Old 03-13-2007, 11:21 AM   #13
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As a Christian Myself. I say good for him. I am happy he is representing atheists. Even though he and some of you don't believe in a god. I respect that and could care less. It's how we act as people that matters not belief.
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Old 03-13-2007, 11:22 AM   #14
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Well, it's Bush

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Originally posted by Justin24
As a Christian Myself. I say good for him. I am happy he is representing atheists. Even though he and some of you don't believe in a god. I respect that and could care less. It's how we act as people that matters not belief.
That's exactly it.
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Old 03-13-2007, 11:24 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by AussieU2fanman


It's unfortunate that so much of America is infested by total idiots that they can't see Athiests are generally very moral and intelligent people. And in so many ways we can be more moral than religious types obviously.....
What's unfortunate is that the people who have the above said attitude are the only ones that get any press these days, thus making it seem like they are a vast majority, when really they are just shouting louder than anyone else cares to. I live in a very religious and conservative community, but I don't know anyone that's against atheists in office simply because they are atheists. Normal people will examine each issue for what it is and make decisions on candidates based on how they feel about particular issues. But normal people don't make good press and have better things to do than making such absurd statements as Bush or pumping out surveys "proving" that people hate atheists, etc.
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