Religion

Freethought Equality Fund PAC Will Support Atheists In Congress

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Although it might seem a little bit surprising, there is not a single admitted atheist currently serving in Congress. Former Rep. Pete Stark (who left Congress in 2012) was the last known atheist to serve. That’s not to say that there are no atheists in Congress; there are just no “admitted” nonbelievers.

In order to help rectify this situation, the Freethought Equality Fund, the first political action committee for the irreligious with fulltime staff members, has launched. The PAC is looking for atheist candidates and allies to support in 2014.

"People need to see ethical nonbelievers in positions of power to rid that negative stigma," said staff member Bishop McNeill.

Backed by the Center for Humanist Activism, the FEF plans to support candidates “who identify as humanist, atheist [and] agnostic," and will likely end up supporting atheist politicians who prefer to remain “closeted.”

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“It's not my place to out anybody," McNeill said, "and we are not just supporting people who are willing to come out of the closet with their religious beliefs." He confirmed that "there are members of the current Congress who are definitely atheists."

Maggie Ardiente, FEF's director of development and communications, explained why the group believes that nonbelievers must be represented in Congress.

"Whether we recognize it or not, Americans are held captive to the will of religious right leaders who remind us of our inferior position by using the power of government to enforce laws that put truth claims about religion in front of us at every turn," Ardiente said. "We have to spend our tax dollars on schools in most states where educators refuse to teach that the evidence massively supports a theory of evolution that unites everything we know about biology."

Herb Silverman of the Secular Coalition of America said in 2011 that his group was aware of 27 members of Congress other than Stark "that have no belief in God." It's unclear who they were and none of them have spoken out, The Huffington Post reported.

Sources: The Huffington Post, U.S. News And Report