The $1,000 award will go to the person who can identify the highest ranking person holding an elected office who is an atheist/Humanist/non-theist/you-get-the-idea.
That could be a governor… or a mayor… or your local school board president… as long as the SCA can verify that they are really non-religious.
I was once Senior Class President in high school. If only I still held that office, I think I would be atop the leaderboard!
Here’s the official press release:
The Secular Coalition for America (SCA) will award one thousand dollars ($1,000) to the person who identifies the highest level atheist, humanist, freethinker or other nontheist currently holding elected public office in the United States of America.* The SCA (www.secular.org) is an advocacy organization representing the interests of nontheists in the nation’s capital.
Although our Constitution states “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States,” the religion of our elected officials figures prominently in America. As a nation, we have made progress in preventing religious bias from influencing some electoral choices. John F. Kennedy in 1960 was the first Roman Catholic to become President and Keith Ellison from Minnesota, if elected this November, would become the first Muslim to be elected to Congress; however, American atheists, humanists, freethinkers and other nontheists are invisible in the electoral arena.
“Ask most people if they would vote for an atheist and the immediate response would be a firm ‘No!,’ and they would not consider their response to be bigoted” said Lori Lipman Brown, Director of the SCA. “Anyone would think it’s bigoted if we said we wouldn’t vote for
somebody simply because he or she is a Christian, Muslim, or Jew, but very proudly they’ll say ‘I would never vote for an Atheist.'”
Although religious fundamentalists caused the carnage on September 11, 2001, it is the nontheists who appear to be losing ground in the post-9/11 world of public opinion. A 1999 Gallup poll found that 49 percent of Americans would vote for an otherwise-qualified atheist for president; however, in a recent Newsweek poll that number dropped to 37 percent.
Nontheists contribute to the American way of life in all other professions including scientists, entrepreneurs, doctors, authors, engineers, and soldiers; they should not be excluded from public service.
“We’re here to show that nontheists are good citizens and good patriots,” Brown said. “We won’t be left out of the political process any longer, and we won’t allow the religious right to demonize us any longer. We’ll put our morals and our patriotism up against theirs any day.”
Help the Secular Coalition for America find the nontheist public servants who have been able to serve their communities in spite of the irrational bigotry against their religious perspective. For more information on the contest and its rules go to www.secular.org/contest/.
The mission of the Secular Coalition for America is to increase the visibility and respectability of nontheistic viewpoints and strengthen the secular character of our government as the best guarantee of freedom for all.
*pursuant to the rules, terms, and conditions found at www.secular.org/contest/rules.
[tags]Secular Coalition for America, Lori Lipman Brown, contest, atheist, humanist, freethinker, atheism, nontheist[/tags]