Atheist Politician Speaks to Secular Students About the Need to Get Politically Active

Remember Arizona State Rep. Juan Mendez? He’s the 28-year-old atheist Democrat who delivered a secular invocation on the floor of the House (“I would like to ask that you not bow your heads…”), so enraging some of his colleagues that one of them delivered two Christian invocations the next day.

A couple of weeks ago, Mendez spoke at the Secular Student Alliance conference in Las Vegas. Video of his talk is now online:

We’re so used to hearing representatives at all levels ignore us. Occasionally, we get paid lip service. But Mendez goes so far above and beyond all of that. It’s about why getting involved in politics is so important if we want atheists represented and treated fairly in American politics.

My favorite line comes when Mendez talks about why college activists should get politically active, too (9:05 mark): “If you can work with college kids, you guys can work with politicians” :)

Watch it. And please leave any notable timestamps/summaries in the comments!

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • A3Kr0n
  • pierre

    I agree about Atheists needing to become more engaged in politics, if we want to see greater equality in today’s society. I even started a group at Dailykos called Progressive Atheists with that in mind, even though I’m pretty much a newcomer to both the Atheist movement and political activism. It’s just a drop in the pond compared to what you and pretty much every other prominent Atheist do to further the Atheist movement, but everyone’s gotta start somewhere.

  • kelemi

    Organize, by all means. Freedom of religion also includes the right to not have one. Seven states forbid atheists from holding state government jobs. This clearly is unconstitutional. You need to fight to end this.

    One mistake too many atheists make is, when presenting their views to others, they do so in a malicious, condescending, and hateful way. They act childishly and then call others childish. The end result is to turn people off. Don’t make this mistake.

    Mots of the atheists I know are good people. They should organize to get their rights. Others do.


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