Is atheism politically deadly?
When I first asked myself this question, I concluded admitting to the American population that you are not a believer equates political seppuku. All of the 22 closet atheists sitting in Congress today agree, save one: Pete Stark.
The Democratic senator from Northern California has stated he’s an agnostic, but also admitted to not believing in a higher power. I can appreciate his diplomatic stance on religion in this sense, but for all intents and purposes, he’s really an atheist. And so far, he’s received thousands of emails from around the world congratulating him for ‘coming out’.
It’s crazy when you think about it: that fundamentally your personal and private beliefs could destroy your political career. California is a bit of a unique place, and I’m not sure if the rest of the US could be so kind as to re-elect a heathen.
Truth be told, I want to see this sort of debate happen in politics. It would highlight the fact religious zealots are forcing individuals to hide their true beliefs simply because of the intolerance of believers. I don’t personally care if a candidate is religious, so long as it does not interfere with his duties. The same cannot be said for the religious right, and so the playing field is uneven, I guess the American Dream is Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness (so long as Jesus makes you happy). Lame.