Saturday, February 07, 2009

At least he's not gay

Congressman Pete Stark is a out-of-the-closet atheist in congress. My title is based on one of the comments.


Andrew T. said...

Of course, Pete Stark is 77 years old, has been in office for 18 terms, and represents a district that so liberal it gave John Kerry 71% of the vote in 2004 (and has given Stark more than 70% of the vote for more than a decade).

As an atheist, I'm happy to see that Stark is "out," but this is not exactly Profiles in Courage territory here. What I'd like to see is a single candidate anywhere on an upward trajectory, who might possibly lose an election, who nevertheless has identified as an atheist. And then I look at (for example) the shameful Dole-Hagan NC Senate race from last year, and I'm not surprised that elected atheists have to stay in the closet.

Gordon Knight said...

It was shameful, but Hagen did WIN!

A lot of the prejudice against atheists is really just ideological. Ronald Reagan never went to church and was divorced. Yet fundamentalists and conservative Catholics loved him.

Father Drinan, not so much.

Perezoso said...

Atheism in itself is neither left or right; I'd venture to say atheists have generally been more rightist (or monarchist, in a sense)--like d'Holbach and his cronies (including Hume and Gibbon), or Nietzsche, Barry Goldwater--Hitchens and Harris sort of in that camp.

The rightist-atheist might be as potentially dangerous as the leftist, commie sort, politically speaking: no God means "Fire at will, gents!" for some chicken hawks (including Hitchens, for the most part).

Stark's proclamation of atheism might upset some biblethumpers, but it's fairly meaningless.

Andrew T. said...

Gordon: I agree with you, although I was singularly unimpressed with what Hagan did to win -- disavow all atheists, cut an ad featuring her and her pastor, etc. That's not really the way to begin including atheists into the political process (which was, supposedly, the whole point of meeting with the Godless Americans PAC in the first place)!

Perezoso: I would say that in contemporary American politics, most atheists identify as Democrats, simply because the Republican party has been co-opted as the party of religious nutbags. Hitchens is a prominent counter-example -- but even he denounced torture and endorsed Obama, for example.

I am totally befuddled by your grouping together of Hitchens and Sam Harris. Do you have a source for your claim that Harris is a righty?

Perezoso said...

Do you have a source for your claim that Harris is a righty?

Google for his article on torture as justifiable. While not a Hitchens type hawk, Harris did support the war, at least initially.

I am not sure that skepticism or reasoned atheism is well-represented in the Demos. Obama and Biden both appealed to the religious . Moreover, there's still a certain Goldwater like aspect to GOP--at least like urban areas--which seems secular (not that Goldwaterism is that great).

I agree however that the fundies and RaptureBots are generally with GOP--as with the calvinists attempting to take over this site right now. If they had their way, any blogs or writers opposing protestant theocracy would be shut down/banned/deleted, if not put in the stocks. They are the danger to democracy, nearly as much as jihadists.

Unknown said...

Suggestion of source ''In 18th century's French materialism respect and stand of the Baron D'hollbach''

Anonymous said...