Pete Stark’s Message at the Reason Rally

Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA) — the only openly non-theistic member of Congress — was one of only two politicians who spoke (via video) at the Reason Rally. These were his comments:

Best line (1:29): “I’ve noticed that, ironically, the more a member of Congress talks about religion, the less they do to help people.”

(via @americnhumanist)

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.

  • Robbie

    That is a fantastic quote.

  • Anonymous

    Pretty logical, just let god take care of it. But send him some more money!

  • Alex

    That seems to be true about religion in general: the more seriously people take it, the more self-serving it becomes.

  • http://www.humanistresources.org/ Humanist Resource Connection

    Here’s a transcript of that speech: http://www.humanistresources.org/blog/transcript-congressman-pete-starks-speech-reason-rally-2012

  • Annie

    I am surprised that religious people do not see the value of having secular congressmen/women to represent them.  Surely Christians must understand that even if we digressed as a nation to become a “Christian nation”, the likelihood of the nation adhering to any person’s particular brand of Christianity would be slim.  I just wish they understood that congressmen like Stark do more to preserve and protect their religious freedom than people like Santorum, Perry or W. Bush.

    • Anonymous

       I think you are vastly overestimating the sophistication of the kinds of Christians who hold anti-atheist bigotry. I highly doubt they’ve thought as far as “If we become officially Christian maybe some other denomination I don’t like will rule”. Mostly they think that we already ARE a Christian nation, without really understanding the distinction between a majority Christian population and an officially Christian government. Hence they think that the government should defend more “Christian values”, with an implicit assumption that “Christian values” means values close to their own and no real thought about how different Christians hold different views of Christian values”. Finally they believe that “Christian = good” and therefore “Non-Christian = not good” so by definition an atheist is a worse choice than a Christian, giving almost no thought at all to the possibility that an atheist might in practice hold values closer to their own than a very different denomination of Christian.

      TLDR version: Stupidity, bigotry and lazy thinking = bad results.

      • Annie

        I agree, Claudia.  I was attempting to give food for thought to the few trolls that visit these parts.   Also, I think it is ironic that Christians are potentially shooting themselves in their collective foot by demanding their imaginary theocracy be recognized.

  • http://twitter.com/TortugaSkeptic A secret red slider

    Who was the other one?

    • Atoswald

      It was Iowa Senator (and a catholic) Tom Harkin. Many atheists were upset by his inclusion, but considering how little coverage the Reason Rally was afforded nationally, I’ll take the attention where we can get it. His speech was inclusive, and it seems reasonable to me to include him if we were aiming to be recognized as a social and political force in this country.

  • Anonymous

    His message turned out to be really great.

  • M Vanroy

    This is the same Congressman who sad “We can do anything we want” when talking about the constitutionally of ObamaCare and refused to answer straight-forward questions about economics when asked of him. He may be an atheist but that does not make him intelligent.

    Why did the first openly atheist Congressman have to be a dumbass?


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