An atheist for Congress?

Sep 2, 2014

By Carlos S. Moreno


This fall, for the first time in U.S. history, an openly atheist candidate is running for Congress. James Woods is fighting an uphill battle as a Democrat seeking to represent the very Republican 5th Congressional District in Arizona.

There are now no openly atheist members of Congress, even though nearly 20% of Americans report having no religious affiliation, according to the Pew Research Center, and between 5% and 10% of Americans do not believe in a supreme being.

So far, only one sitting congressman, Pete Stark of California, has ever admitted to being an atheist while in office. First elected in 1972, Stark came out of the atheist closet back in 2007, but he lost his re-election bid in 2012 after serving in the U.S. House for 40 years.

Apparently, it is easier to be a gay member of Congress than an atheist one, since Barney Frank announced he was gay in 1987 but didn’t announce he was an atheistuntil after leaving office in 2013. A handful of current members of Congress state that their religious affiliation is “unspecified,” but none has stated publicly that he or she doesn’t believe in God.


Read more here.

14 comments on “An atheist for Congress?

  • It’s especially hilarious considering the apparently legendary lack of morals and greed of the american congress. Maybe you’d ought to start dealing with that cancer first?

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  • Oh I so much hope that this chap does well!

    Although, sadly, of course, he won’t, or rather, in the present climate, he can’t.

    But what a hoot it would be if the only argument they could mount against him is that he doesn’t believe in the sky fairy.

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  • It is interesting that the story doesn’t mention his views on anything, other than the fact that he is an atheist. Isn’t that the same thing you guys complain about for other candidates?

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  • 4
    SpaceAtheist says:

    Wesley – It’s real easy to get his views. They provided a link. All you have to do is click on it. I find it interesting that you don’t know about this.

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  • 5
    Thank Evolution says:

    Unfortunately it is still political suicide to admit you’re an Atheist in todays society. And I suspect that the actual percentage of politicians that are truly Atheists is much higher than what people think, so I commend Mr. Woods for treading on this new ground that is laced with cow manure.

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  • I hope he does get elected… but with him being an atheist and hte voters, alas, being mostly morons….
    (they will of course say that he hasn´t been able to see the light and that therefor he doesn´t believe..) ((sorry for my political incorrectness..))

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  • My hope is that is doesn’t take that long. Atheists, and all non-believers should organize nationwide and flood the political process with candidates who are qualified to do the job if they should be elected. There is a lot of money and other resources going to waste in the godless community. It seems the prominent organizations are competing with one another to see who can sell the most magazine or newsletter subscriptions so we can read the latest in the never ending, fruitless debate with theists. If FFRF, The Council for Secular Humanism, Americans United and all other entities that solicit support, financial and otherwise, for their organizations formed a coalition based solely on promoting political action among the vast number of people who want a political process free of bronze age beliefs, then we could get our foot in the door of the political arena,

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  • In 2010, Wynne LeGrow ran for the U.S. Congress in the 4th district of Virginia against incumbent Randy Forbes. Wynne LeGrow is an open atheist and was interviewed on Freethought Radio and some atheists podcasts during the campaign. Mr. LeGrow lost that election (32% – 68%). I don’t know if Mr LeGrow was the first open atheist to run for U.S. Congress, but I do know that James Woods is not the first in U.S. history, but he may be the first in Arizona history.

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  • 12
    Trondesson says:

    No, it won’t. Just look around you: do you think mankind in general is still progressing intellectually? The situation in many parts of the world seems to suggest the opposite.

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  • 13
    vanwin says:

    I would feel a lot safer if all the World’s leaders were atheist. The thought of those who hover their finger over the nuclear red button thinking the voices of their invisible friend can make that decision for them is very scary.

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  • Thank Evolution Sep 4, 2014 at 11:42 am

    Unfortunately it is still political suicide to admit you’re an Atheist in todays society. And I suspect that the actual percentage of politicians that are truly Atheists is much higher than what people think,

    While there is a theocratic atmosphere in parts of the USA at present, actually, there are and have been quite a lot of atheists in politics and law – even in the USA:-

    and many in the UK

    and Europe:

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