Openly Bisexual and Non-theist Woman (Who Rejected Parents’ Mormonism) Runs For U.S. Congress

Kyrsten Sinema is a Democrat from Phoenix who has resigned her seat in the Arizona state senate to run for the state’s new 9th Congressional District. She is a bisexual with a history of advocacy for gay rights. She is also a non-theist of some variety who openly participated in a 2010 event marking the creation of Secular Coalition for America’s first state affiliate, in Arizona. That same year she spoke to the Humanist Society of Greater Pheonix. Last year The Center for Inquiry gave her their “Award for the Advancement of Science and Reason in Public Policy”.  She has a Twitter account and a Facebook page. She has written a book called Unite and Conquer: How to Build Coalitions That Win and LastHer campaign website is here. In a 2005 interview she attributed her initial interest in politics to her vehement opposition to the politics of the Mormons:

I was just born involved in politics. My family is conservative Mormon, and so I was born – although the Mormon faith is not inherently political, their faith requires some political stands, and those are ones that I happen to disagree with vehemently – so I was just political from a very early age. But I think my political views really became sharper and more solidified during my eight years as a social worker, when I practiced in the Sunnyslope community. One of the things that I found on a daily basis is that I was really hampered in my ability to assist the community and to help people work toward self-sufficiency, which I think is the ultimate goal of social work, to help people until they’re able to become self-sufficient, and then they don’t need your services. I felt like my hands were tied in providing that service because of the political structure, society and the law weren’t allowing me to have the space to create the self-sufficiency for my clients.

Here’s video of her in action, defending science:

Center for Inquiry described the award they gave her and its justification in their announcement last spring:

The award recognizes legislators who support public policy based on scientific thinking, evidence, and reason while maintaining church-state separation and promoting civil rights. Sinema is receiving the award in recognition of her work to protect women’s rights and the separation of church and state, as well as for her support of LGBT rights, science-based sex education, and sound environmental policies. The award will be announced formally March 12, 2011, during a CFI-sponsored conference on “Fostering a Secular Society: Keep Religion Out of Government,” a day of lectures and discussions in Tucson, Arizona. (Senator Sinema will not be present March 12, but will receive the award in person at a later date.)

Sinema was elected to the Arizona Senate in November 2010 after serving three terms in the Arizona House of Representatives. She has worked on initiatives in Arizona and around the country for a number of years and in 2006 chaired Arizona Together, the first and only successful effort in the country to defeat a same-sex marriage ban ballot initiative. In 2008, she chaired Protect Arizona’s Freedom, the coalition that defeated Ward Connerly’s effort to place an initiative on the state ballot to eliminate equal opportunity programs.

“Senator Sinema’s efforts to support civil rights and to prevent religious doctrine from influencing public policy are confirmed by her advocacy both within and outside of the legislature and in her passion for reasonable laws,” said Ronald A. Lindsay, CFI president & CEO. “She has a strong voice on both the state and national level and her legislative efforts are aligned with CFI’s mission.”

Relatedly, for my in depth philosophical defenses of political secularism and gay rights, see the posts below!

On secularism:

9 Vital Points About The Public Relevance of Political Candidates’ Religious Beliefs

Questions For Those Who Oppose The Wall of Separation Between Church and State

Bullying or Debating? Religious Privilege or Freedom of Speech?

On The Conflict Over The Meaning And Cultural Influence of Political Secularism

How Christian Beliefs And Values Are No More Creditable With America’s Founding Than Islamic Ones

The Religious Conservative’s False Choice: “Big Brother” Or “Heavenly Father”

Thoughts On The Ethics Of Private Vs. Publicly-Mediated Generostiy

Why Clergy Rightfully Have No Place At A 9/11 Memorial (Or Any Civic Ceremonies)

On LGBT issues:

An Argument For Gay Marriage And Against Traditionalism

Why Loving The Sinner But Hating The Sin Is Not An Issue When Dealing With Gay People

Gays, Jesus, and Judging

Confronting Conservative Christians With The Consequences Of Their Homophobia

Bishop of Church of England Doesn’t “Share Same Faith” As Those Who Accept Homosexuality

A Follow Up Post On Gays And Christianity

Gays and Christianity 3: If God Exists and Is Good, He Cannot Oppose Gay Love

Your Thoughts?

ISIS’s Iconoclasm, The Bible, and The Problem With Taking Literalism Literally
Before I Deconverted: I Saw My First “Secular Humanist” On TV
Comparing Humanism and Religion and Exploring Their Relationships to Each Other
Comparing Humanism and Religion and Exploring Their Relationships to Each Other
About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.

  • raywhiting

    Good for her! I hope she breaks a few more barriers.

  • michaelbrew

    I wish I were an AZ resident, now. This person needs to get to DC, stat.

    • Daniel Fincke

      There are ways to support candidates from afar…

  • Nick Rogers

    I like some of her positions, I’d like to hear more. I’ll show her my support.

    She’s also quite pretty, I must say. I hope I don’t offend anyone in saying so.

    • Karen Briggs

      No offense taken. Unfortunately, I think the fact that she’s a young, attractive woman will only work against her in a lot of ways. Sarah Palin was unfit for political office in almost every aspect, but for some reason many trivialized her candidacy by bringing up her gender and “MILF” status.

      I just hope people don’t do the same to Miss Sinema, because she seems like she could be actually help change some things in our country.

    • A Portlander

      I think she’s brilliantly positioned in that respect. With her campaign following directly on the heels of Palin, O’Donnell, et al, anyone belittling her for her sex and appearance is just asking to get slapped with the hypocrisy card.

  • Vire

    Nice to see not all politicians in the U.S are money hungry corrupt religious retards with a hunger for war.

    • RickRay

      Hear, hear ! Embryonic stem cell research must continue if we are to save thousands/millions of people in the future.

  • Anonyman

    AZ-09 has 35.5% Republican voters, 33.5% independents, and 30.8% Democrats. She has a decent chance, but will an open nontheist be able to get the votes of many independents if the Republicans start up the attack ads?

  • Rex

    I am an Arizona, sadly not in the district to be able to vote for her. When she first came to my attention several years ago, I had many of the same initial reactions. Namely that she is an out atheist and that she is open about her lifestyle, and that she is extremely intelligent as well as being an attractive woman. I was ready to embrace her as a candidate for this exact congressional step right then.

    However, she has now spent several years in our dysfunctional State becoming a hardened politician, and the rumors of Arizona being in some respects a very backward and conservative state are true. I have seen Ms. Sinema take actions in the last few years that seem very suspicious, in a back room deal kind of way. She is successful with a surprising number of different interests. She wields a level of influence that could be making a huge difference in Arizona. Oddly enough though, when some of the most egregious conservative legislation, like SB1070 (immigration) and some of the new abortion restriction legislation has been voted on, and there are many other examples, she and several of her high profile liberal cohorts have been absent from those votes. The excuse is always that they are off on an activist mission of some kind, but it seems odd to me that when these votes were taken, she was not providing resistance and an eviscerating dissenting opinion. I know she is capable of that because I have seen it in action on many occasions. The question is will she truly be the idealist activist that I personally want to see, or will she learn to play Washington’s games, and become like most of the rest of the politicians. Time will tell.

    tl;dr: continue to evaluate her record before you just embrace her because she is an attractive intelligent out atheist.

    • Rex

      Good post.

    • Josh

      You should probably log out and create a second troll account before you reply to your own post. Just saying.

    • captaiineo

      El oh mother flippin el.

    • DSimon

      Rex, why does it even matter if she’s attractive or not? You’re bringing it up like it’s relevant, but as far as I can tell you’re the first person to introduce it to the discussion.

    • Rex

      2 points:

      First, I was giving my first impressions of her when she came to my attention several years ago. The attractive comment may not have been appropriate, but it was part of my initial impression, mostly in that it was different for a typical politician, and possibly an advantage for a fresh face.

      Second, I did not make the comment supporting my comment. Perhaps there are others who share my name? It is unusual, but I speak from personal experience that it is not unique.

  • niccolo and donkey

    Sounds like another useless politician. America has more than enough already.

  • http://none Russell Beurle

    Live in Az and let me tell you shes not bi. Just claims that for political reasons.. the area she represents. We in Arizona know she is a phony. Shes agnostic to not an atheist. Rex is right research her first there is plenty you wont liek

    • Josh

      So you’re saying you have definitive proof that Ms. Sinema is not aroused by members of both genders? This should be an awesome story.

      Okay, go on…

    • Crommunist

      The fact that she won’t sleep with you doesn’t mean she’s lying about being bisexual. She just doesn’t like cretins. Get over it.

    • Matt

      There is a political advantage to being bisexual?? Sounds to me like it’s a HUGE disadvantage, but what do I know?

  • Jeff Francis

    FYI: It is spelled Phoenix…not Pheonix.

    • Daniel Fincke

      Fixed. (How embarrassing)

  • Tony C

    She is the future.
    Looks brilliant from my point of view, power to the people and so on!

  • Carmel Cratin

    I was just searching for other Arizona-based bloggers when I found you. Are you planning to keep the gatherings at Four Peaks, or maybe drop in on Sonora, Papago, etc.? Either way, I’m up for joining the next gathering!

  • dainty

    Being bi-sexual is a perverated person. They want it both ways. Homosexuals like same sex people , this Kyrsten Sinema wants both. The ice cream and the cake. I do not believe homosexuals are born that way but it’s their business and not mine. We are not equipped with the proper equipment for same sex and the act is actually is digusting to me but as long as I don’t do it I don’t care what homos do. Now bi-sexual is not a preference, it’s wanting it all. I repect a homosexual more than a bi-sexual anytime. This woman is a pig to me even if she is of my party. I would not have voted for her. To me she has no morals. But that again is my opinion.