Contest to Find Top Nontheist Official!

The Secular Coalition for America is running a contest that anyone can enter… if they can fill out the form in the first place.

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.

Good luck!

[tags]Secular Coalition for America, Lori Lipman Brown, contest, atheist, humanist, freethinker, atheism, nontheist[/tags]

  • Siamang

    I think it’s a clever contest. I however wouldn’t have name-checked 9/11 in the press release.

    Boy, these folks really don’t know how they come across to non atheists, do they?

  • txatheist

    I have to admit I am absolutely stumped.

  • http://paroikos.wordpress.com Brett Varner

    This comment is not directly related to the contest, so I’ll be brief.

    Is there really such a thing as a “freethinker”? The term suggest that an individual is free to think outside of any world-view construct. Am I not right in saying that every person, including the so-called freethinker, has drawn his or her conclusions in dependence on all the ideas that they’ve encountered through life? The Freethinker, the Muslim, the Atheist, the Christian, and the Other have all gone through the process of selecting and rejecting those ideas presented to them throughout life. So in the end, the Freethinker is bound by his or her conclusions just as much as the non-Freethinker.

    The term is a misnomer. Freethinkers think within world-view constructs as well, which bind them in their thinking.

  • Julie Marie

    Herb Silverman, a math instructor at the College of Charleston, ran for Governor as “the man without a prayer.” He lost, but successfully challenged SC’s “you must profess faith in God” rule as a prerequisite for public office and was eventually granted the right to become a notary public. I know thats not an elected office, but he did fight the good fight – and win.

  • http://www.friendlyatheist.com Hemant

    Julie Marie– Incidentally, Herb Silverman is the President of the Secular Coalition for America :) Great guy.

    – Hemant

  • Julie Marie

    what a small world we live in! :)

  • jim

    Can you out someone who doesnt want it to be known that they are an atheist or non theist (better title I think as well)

  • http://www.friendlyatheist.com Hemant

    Jim– The Secular Coalition for America is looking for atheists who are open about it. If they’re secretive about their non-belief, it defeats the whole purpose of the contest. Which is in part to show how atheists are so despised despite being qualified to hold office

    – Hemant.

  • Karen Boyd

    My first thought it would be hard to find an elected official who would admit to being a non-theist. After reading the 10/12 comment, I found it interesting that he seems to assume that the reason it is hard to find such a person is that atheists are “so dispised.” I assume it is because politicians tend to avoid any label. Politicians (if we generalize) seem to avoid taking any ‘belief’ label. While they may bow at prayer, they generally do not admit the depth or lack of depth of their belief, choosing instead a more politically correct and nebulous position.

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