It’s time to play: Find the Atheist! You could win $1,000.

Len of the excellent Blogesque sent me an email all about a contest to find the highest level nontheist in Government service:

The Secular Coalition for America (SCA) will award one thousand dollars ($1,000) to the person who identifies the highest level atheist, humanist, freethinker or other nontheist currently holding elected public office in the United States of America.* The SCA is an advocacy organization representing the interests of nontheists in the nation’s capital.

Although our Constitution states, “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States,” the religion of our elected officials figures prominently in America. As a nation, we have made progress in preventing religious bias from influencing some electoral choices. John F. Kennedy in 1960 was the first Roman Catholic to become President and Keith Ellison from Minnesota, if elected this November, would become the first Muslim to be elected to Congress. Members of other groups once precluded from the political arena because of prejudice (such as women, African Americans, Jews, Mexican Americans, Mormons and gay/lesbians) have been elected to public offices; however, atheists, humanists, freethinkers and other nontheists are invisible in the electoral arena.

[Contest Link]

It seems this was inspired by an exchange between Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and Michael Newdow during the Pledge of Allegiance case the Supreme Court so neatly dodged actually handing down a ruling on by deciding he didn’t have standing to file the lawsuit. I’ll be amazed if anyone finds a nontheist of any stripe above the State level of government anywhere.

4 thoughts on “It’s time to play: Find the Atheist! You could win $1,000.

  1. I’ll be amazed if anyone finds a nontheist of any stripe above the State level of government anywhere.

    That’s a pretty sad thing too, but I’m sure you should get ready to be amazed.  I bet there are plenty of atheists in government – though they may find it hard to stay in government if people really knew they didn’t believe. Hell, according to Ernest Hemmingway, “All thinking men are atheists”, which may be an exaggeration, but it stikes at the heart of the issue: Rationalism and Religion have been at odds for hundreds of years, and the biggest threat to the political and social power weilded by religious institutions is a free thinking, educated public.

    In addition, most of the founding fathers wouldn’t be considered theists in today’s world anyway – at least not according to Robin Morgan’s book, Fighting Words: A Toolkit For Combatting the Religious Right:

    Former Attorney General John Ashcroft invoked “the Christian Fathers of our country,” but actually the Founders were a hodgepodge of freethinkers, Deists, agnostics, Christians, atheists, and Freemasons – and they were radicals.

    For Example:

    Question with boldness even the existence of God.—Thomas Jefferson

    Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind.—James Madison

    I doubt of Revelation itself.—Benjamin Franklin

    My own mind is my church.—Thomas Paine



  2. Wow, no non-theists above state.
    I never realised the situation was that sick.
    I’m fairly sure that in Oz politics religion isn’t an issue, yet.
    In fact wearing a religion on your sleeve would probably lose you more votes than you’d gain.

  3. Now I look after a company that’s in the US and once in a while I come across someone who is clearly religious.. this doesn’t happen so much in the UK. But it makes me wonder, is the voting public of the US still so predominently hung up on religion?
    It would seem to make sense that the most popular politicians were ones that could show their religion to their voting public. So perhaps no wonder they appear to be religious whether they’re believers or no.
    This only compounds the possibilities of their duplicity.. and its nearly home time for me so I’m gonna stop pondering.

  4. Not just in politics- a collegues son who went to work in the states for a major international bank was told that promotion would be more difficult as he was not religeous.

    I’m sure in the ‘book of dumb laws’ a county or town or something in the US (poss in Tennessee) bans athiests from holding local positions.  If I remember next time I see my stepsons copy I’ll double check this.

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