Bernie Sanders: “I Am Not Actively Involved with Organized Religion”

While Republicans are fighting with one another to get endorsements from leading Religious Right figures — even Donald Trump got a nod from the head of Liberty University yesterday — Sen. Bernie Sanders is doing something radical (even for Bernie Sanders).

He’s not talking about faith at all.


Unless he’s asked about it directly, Sanders is taking a very much live-and-let-live approach to the matter. Now, in an interview with the Washington Post, he’s coming even closer to flat-out admitting he’s a “None”:

… as an adult, Sanders drifted away from Jewish customs. And as his bid for the White House gains momentum, he has the chance to make history. Not just as the first Jewish president — but as one of the few modern presidents to present himself as not religious.

“I am not actively involved with organized religion,” Sanders said in a recent interview.

Sanders said he believes in God, though not necessarily in a traditional manner.

“I think everyone believes in God in their own ways, “ he said. “To me, it means that all of us are connected, all of life is connected, and that we are all tied together.”

That’s really the PC answer, isn’t it? I believe in God… I just never really think about it. You can’t accuse him of being an atheist, but you can’t say he’s overtly religious, either.

This answer falls in line with what he’s said in other places. This past October, when speaking with comedian Jimmy Kimmel, Sanders’ response to the God question was equally telling:

Kimmel: … You say you’re culturally Jewish, you don’t feel religious. Do you believe in God, and do you think that’s important to the people of the United States?

Sanders: Well, you know, I am who I am. And what I believe in and what my spirituality is about is that we’re all in this together. That I think it is not a good thing to believe that, as human beings, we can turn our backs on the suffering of other people…

Sure, he could have said religion shouldn’t matter when it comes to politics, but it does. That’s just the reality of it. People care. So a response that doesn’t belittle anyone’s beliefs, but instead points to what we all have in common, makes for a powerful answer.

And while other politicians might be hurt by responses like this, it’s just another example of Sanders’ authenticity, one of the reasons so many Democrats are drawn to him.

(Image via Crush Rush / Portions of this article were published earlier)

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.