Is Congresswoman-elect Kyrsten Sinema an Evatheist?

Yesterday, Think Progress posted a graphic illustrating the diversity of the soon-to-be 113th Congress:

They list Kyrsten Sinema as the “first non-theist to openly acknowledge her belief prior to getting elected”… though we know her campaign is now doing everything in their power to erase that part of her history.

I’m waiting for her campaign staff to tell Think Progress to issue a correction… so far, that hasn’t happened. (Though they did correct Jezebel.)

John Shook of the Center for Inquiry is equally frustrated about Sinema’s denial of any non-theist label and has created a new word for people like her: Evatheist: Someone who evades non-theistic labels entirely:

The rise of the Agnostics against the Atheists was just the opening salvo. Recent decades have seen the rise of the Nontheist, the Nones, the Faitheist, and the Apatheist. Now we are dealing with a novel yet inevitable phenomenon: discontent with accepting God has now evolved towards discontent with accepting labels. Unlike the Apatheists, who can’t care enough about God or religion to even utter a word of choice either way, Sinema represents a different attitude, of caring just enough to renounce any labeled position on the whole matter.

To conclude with a tone of irony, let’s call these nouveau Nones as the “Evatheists” because they feel the need to evade the whole issue. Don’t you dare call one of them an “evatheist” to their face — although hearing a quick denial only proves that this label fits.

I’m still personally annoyed by this, as you can probably tell. If “bisexual” is a label she embraces, I find it hard to believe that “non-theist” would be so damaging that she can’t accept it.

I have no desire to label her as something she’s not. But if she doesn’t believe in God, she doesn’t get to choose whether or not she’s an atheist. She is, plain and simple, regardless of whether she likes the word. More importantly, it’s 2012, and just admitting the no-god thing up front — whatever she wants to call it — would save us (and her) from a longer discussion about it down the road.

She’s missing a golden opportunity by not embracing the non-theism “label” right now. It would cost her next-to-nothing politically to do so and it would bring together the thousands of us looking for an openly atheistic politician to support.

It’s a sad day when your champions in Congress try to run away from you.

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.