Stark was the only “out” atheist in Congress, having stepped out of the godless closet in 2007. American Atheists president David Silverman just told us there are 20 other closeted atheists currently on The Hill, according to a tally taken by what Silverstein described as members of “The Movement” (i.e. the atheist movement) who have canvassed lawmakers.

But don’t look for any of the Congressional closet-dwellers to be outed. “No, no way,” Silverman said. “That’s not what we’re about.”

Many closeted atheist politicos fear that if they come out, they’ll be politically doomed. In that way, Silverman said Stark was a terrific role model, proving that one could be re-elected regardless of their religious or a-religious views. “The reason he wasn’t re-elected had nothing to do with his being an atheist.”

No, it had more to do with scenes like this. And this.

For, well, ever, Congress was the playpen of white Protestants. But the just-elected 113th Congress “includes the first Buddhist to serve in the Senate, the first Hindu to serve in either chamber and the first member of Congress to describe her religion as ‘none,’ continuing a gradual increase in religious diversity that mirrors trends in the country as a whole,” according to a recent Pew survey.