How Will Tammy Duckworth Represent Atheists?

Tammy Duckworth (a Deist) is running for Congress in the same Illinois district as Tea Party-backed Joe Walsh, who was discussed on this thread.

Jacob Kramer of the National Atheist Party was at a Town Hall meeting for Duckworth Wednesday night and asked her how she would represent her atheist constituents should she be elected:

Without pandering to him, I thought she gave a very respectable answer. It’s exactly what we need in regards to contraception (“Contraception is part of a woman’s basic health care”) and she didn’t even seem to flinch at the word “atheist” — something that can’t be said about other candidates.

I quoted Chelsea Link before, but I’ll do it again here (emphasis hers):

These are the types of conversations we need to be having with all our elected officials, because these are the conversations that will actually get us somewhere. If all the NAP did was record and publicize five-minute discussions like this one with every congressperson, they would immediately advance the public discourse on religion and government far more than any other party has in years.

Hats off to Jacob and the NAP folks for putting candidates on the spot like this. Please keep it going. We deserve to know how candidates would vote on our issues and whether they have our best interests at heart.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RZ5VEXJ3IYNGQBHI5APT4DETJI FSq

    I don’t know that I agree with the take that she was open and wonderful for atheists, but she does seem to represent a foot up on the rest.

    One thing that struck out at me was the man mentioning he wanted to see more reality based legistlature. What struck me (and I agree with him) is that there has to be a level of anger from the theists because they truly believe their myths ARE reality, and there in lies the crux of things. They are so deluded as to believe myth = reality, yet when we speak of reality, we mean it. There is a stone. The stone is made of ______.

    They say, that stone was placed there by god, and the stone is_____. They believe their idiocy to be reality, and get pissy when confronted with someone else saying we want “reality”.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_TLHIXVS2CHDJNWYPZJIZ5NNZ3A Robert

    For a politican, she’s pretty gutsy to even call herself a Deist.  Most folks are going to be asking:
     
    “WTF is a Deist, is that like witchcraft or something?” 

    To be safer, she could have said:  Like, Jefferson, I am a Deist….

    • http://stochasticscientist.blogspot.com/ Kathy Orlinsky

      Except that they don’t believe Jefferson was a deist.  Wasn’t he standing at George Washington’s right hand when Jesus handed him the constitution?

  • Michael

    I like her attitude. Time will tell about the rest.

  • JR C

    Tammy Duckworth is more of a Blue Dog (Conservative) Democrat, but she’d be much better than Joe “Deadbeat Dad” Walsh. I’m embarrassed that a guy like him represents a district in my home state. 

  • Annie

    I was a little confused by her statement:  “I want to make sure that a poor woman who needs contraception can afford to get it and so that if she can’t get it from a religious institution that there needs to be some other way that she can access it easily.  But I did support the original decision.”

    Now, I don’t spend much time in religious institutions, so I may not know this, but I doubt there are many religious institutions that are giving out contraceptives.  Perhaps she meant that she would support the fight against religious institutions to supply insurance that allows their employees to get affordable contraceptives if there was another program in place where they could get them?  I’m confused by her stance on this… did anyone feel they understood what she was saying here?

    • ReginaldJooald

      Catholic-run hospitals?

    • Anonymous

      Maybe she was making an oblique reference to single-payer/nationally funded healthcare. Or a system where the government provides contraception for free to anyone who requests it.

    • http://www.facebook.com/eric.montbleau Eric Montbleau

      Shes talking about how churches are not required to cover contraceptives in their insurance policy… she wants to make sure ladies who work at churches have some other means of obtaining contraceptives

  • EM

     Their acronym is NAP. How can I take them seriously with an acronym like that?

    • http://yetanotheratheist.com/ TerranRich

      At least they’re not the Federal Atheist Party…

  • http://www.facebook.com/ChrisYNP Chris Harmon

    How is a deist an atheist?? That makes no sense.

    • Anonymous

      Yeah. Is that some new term used to define some brand of agnosticism?

      • http://yetanotheratheist.com/ TerranRich

        Who the hell is saying that Deism is anything close to atheism? Deism is the concept that a god exists, but it simply created the universe, and does not involve itself in the affairs of humankind at all.

        Jacob was simply asking her how she would represent atheists… you know, like he would ask any candidate, regardless of religion.

        • Michael

          In the video Tammy identifies herself as Deist to explain that she doesn’t personally favour any organised religion. I don’t see where the notion that someone equates it to atheist comes from.

          It would be interesting to hear her views on atheist chaplains in the military, given her strong opinions on the military in general.

    • Anonymous

       As said, no one suggested such a thing.

      But in a way a deist is probably the closest thing a god-believer gets to atheism. A deist god isn’t involved in human affairs and doesn’t listen to prayer. It’s like saying “I believe in some undefined higher power, but we just don’t know exactly”


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