Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Atheist in Congress?

There's apparently an atheist in the House. Or is there? Well, over at Friendly Atheist he's reporting that the congressperson is actually "non-theist" A lot of atheists out there are saying, "What else can they mean?" Some are saying -- before even knowing who the person is - that they're going to donate as much money as they can to their re-election.

To me, it seems a trifle premature. I know that politicians, as a group, are some of the most loathsome cowards in the universe. The person isn't even going to say "atheist" but, instead, "non-theist". My guess is that they're going to angle towards an agnostic angle - which is pretty far away from being an atheist - and are trying to couch things in as neutral of language as possible. They might be an atheist, but they're going to ruffle as few feathers as possible.

When people do that, it seems to me that they're the atheist version of an Uncle Tom. They're what they are, but they're not going to . . . offend anyone. Oh, heavens, no!

Which might be premature of me. But I'm curious to see what the backlash about this is. My thinking? Next to nothing. The person probably comes from a place where religion isn't the hot button issue that it is in, say, the South. A fairly large number of Californian representatives could get away declaring full on godless atheism and keep their jobs. On the other hand, the person coming out might get crucified at which point why not declare yourself a full on atheist and counterattack?

But it is like I said, politicians tend to be gutless. If you take a stand for much of anything at all that isn't deeply conservative you never get to high office.


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