27 Secret Gays in Congress

Read this and see how it makes you feel:

The president of a gay rights group says that there are 28 members of Congress who are gay or lesbian, but only one of them feels comfortable revealing that fact.

Gay Coalition of America (GCA) president Bob Silverman told The Guardian that his group was aware of many members of Congress who weren’t ready to make their orientation known.

“Privately, we know that there are 27 other members of Congress who have same-sex attractions and relationships,” Silverman claimed. “But we don’t ‘out’ people.”

Bad, huh?

I’m purposely misquoting the real article, here:

The president of a secular group says that there are 28 members of Congress who do not believe in God, but only one of them feels comfortable revealing his lack of faith.

Secular Coalition of America (SCA) president Herb Silverman told The Guardian that his group was aware of many members of Congress who weren’t ready to make their non-beliefs known.

“Privately, we know that there are 27 other members of Congress that have no belief in God,” Silverman claimed. “But we don’t ‘out’ people.”

… to make a point about the need to mask one’s real beliefs in our Christian-dominated society.

Bear in mind that I am NOT suggesting an exact parallel. Though I feel that I, personally, couldn’t be anything but an atheist, knowing what I know, the element of choice in atheism makes it significantly different from sexual orientation.

But the two situations are similar in other ways, including the issue of hiding/outing.

Revealing yourself as an atheist in any state in the U.S. would probably be the death of a state- or national-level political career.

“Nontheistic Americans, including humanists, are the group most likely to be discriminated against for their convictions,” Edwords said in a press release congratulating [Pete] Stark. “Recent polls show that fewer than 50 percent of Americans would vote for an atheist presidential candidate, even if that candidate is well qualified… Americans still feel it’s acceptable to discriminate against atheists in ways considered beyond the pale for other groups.”

California Democrat Pete Stark, the one admitted humanist, says something cool:

I would confine God to currency, constitutional control, and colloquialisms like ‘Godspeed’ and ‘gadzooks.’ Then we can begin to deal with the real problems in the world, such as those related to education, health care, poverty, and human rights. But we can’t move ahead if we’re going to tolerate abstinence-only training, creationism, denial of environmental destruction, and oppression of reason.

But on the issue of hiding, masking your true self … Hey, I wrote a book about atheism, and I STILL find myself shutting my mouth in certain social situations. To keep the peace. I’m still, sometimes, the shocking freak who has to hide in order to avoid causing a scene.

Society-wide, I would like that to change.

We still have quite some distance to go.

  • http://freethoughtblogs.com/camelswithhammers Camels With Hammers

    Though I feel that I, personally, couldn’t be anything but an atheist, knowing what I know, the element of choice in atheism makes it significantly different from sexual orientation.

    So what? Even if gays could choose otherwise, if it were a violation of their conscience and their autonomy to do so , it would still be immoral to force them to do so. Discrimination against atheists because we are true to our consciences and want to live our lives autonomously consistent with them, is no less serious an issue than the rights of gays to express their sexuality and their conscience on issues of sex.

    • Hank Fox

      I agree.

      I just want to be careful not to seem to minimize the struggles of the LGBT community, or other groups who have faced discrimination.

      • Nentuaby

        As a queer atheist, the two statements didn’t sound a damn bit different to me. So there’s that.

        Also- be careful with the “not a choice” rhetoric. It’s got its place, but it’s dangerously easy to overstate it. A lot of that comes from homosexual activists who phrase it in very absolutist ways; some of them love to say “well, yes, I’ll concede that if I could actually make that choice I’d be wrong to do so” because they think it makes them sound so bloody reasonable. Meanwhile, bi[/pan]sexual folks like myself are off in a corner going “Oi! Hands off my damn choice!”

  • Abdul Alhazred

    That’s 27 atheists who told Herb Silverman.

    You know the stereotype of an atheist having no principles whatsoever? If such people exist how would they behave?

    Would they be shamefaced atheists like Silverman’s 27? Or would they be the loudest Bible thumpers?

    To be sure these are not the kind of atheist who do us any good. But I’m sure plenty exist in politics and above all in the clergy.

    • Kiwi Sauce

      But I’m sure plenty exist in politics and above all in the clergy.

      Hi Abdul. What evidence do you have for that statement?

    • drlake

      Well, given how many “family values” congressmen are apparently cheating on their wives, and how many homophobic congressmen are gay or bi, I guess I wouldn’t find it at all surprising if some of the loudest bible-thumpers are closet atheists.

  • Abdul Alhazred

    Because they do not behave as if they actually believe in that shit.

  • Gordon

    Going back to religion would be like forgetting how to read.

  • Mommiest

    I think the actual number is higher.

    If voters insist on a religious litmus test for elected officials, they’re going to get two kinds of candidates: those who believe as they do, and those who fake it really well.

  • Cor (formerly evil)

    Good one Gordon. Can I use that?

  • geocatherder

    I’m not sure atheism is a choice, either; I look at religion and, to misquote someone, there’s no there there. I could no more go back to belief than I could become gay. That’s not meant to belittle the difficulties of my GLBT fellow humans. That’s just the way it is.

  • AlanMacandCheese

    I’m not sure it is even possible to honestly choose to believe. Wouldn’t that validate Pascal’s wager?

  • http://hadirentcar.wordpress.com/ Rental Mobil

    many thanks to write article

  • Joel Hess

    Try being an atheist AND gay (as well as of Jewish origin and intellectual) in this society. I could never even be considered for dog catcher anywhere in this country, even here in oh-so-liberal Portland.

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