Atheism Hasn’t Hurt Pete Stark
Congressman Pete Stark’s public profession of atheism hasn’t hurt him, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.
Atheism might be the last political taboo, but it doesn’t seem to have hurt Rep. Pete Stark in his East Bay district. In town hall meetings in Newark and San Leandro [Saturday], the 35-year congressional veteran received only cheers and applause when a speaker brought up a survey this week that named Stark as the highest-ranking politician in America who was willing to admit he doesn’t believe in God.
Stark waved away any suggestion that he was being courageous when he described himself to the Secular Coalition for America, an association of atheist and humanist groups, as “a Unitarian who does not believe in a Supreme Being.”
“It’s not courageous to make a simple statement about personal beliefs,” he told about 70 people at the San Leandro City Hall. “What is courageous is to stand up in Congress and say, ‘Let’s tax the rich and give the money to poor kids.’ Now that’s courageous.”
Standing up and saying you’re an atheist might be political suicide in most of the country; the San Francisco Bay area isn’t among them.
And, surely, saying, “Let’s tax the rich and give the money to poor kids” is anything but “courageous.” Indeed, it’s the height of demagoguery, targeting an unpopular minority and citing perhaps the most sympathetic beneficiary group.