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?

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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.