Photo credit: Matt York, AP
By Tom Krattenmaker
Guess how many of the major-party candidates in next month’s congressional elections are openly atheist. Hint: You can count them on one finger.
It tells you something that in a time when “no religion” is the category of roughly 20% of Americans, virtually none of the hundreds of Democrats and Republicans vying for congressional seats identify as a religious “none.”
Whether it’s because some consider their atheism, agnosticism or indifference a deal-breaker and don’t even try for office, or whether it’s because some non-religious candidates fudge the truth for political viability, this much seems clear: Candidates have to at least feign some religiosity to qualify for prominent political office, despite our Constitution forbidding religion tests of this sort. And atheism and related forms of non-belief are about the worst thing a candidate can be associated with.
This situation should not, and will not, hold for long.
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