Atheist in Arizona congress getting it done for non-believers!

Ok, I’m officially a fan of Juan Mendez, a state rep in Arizona.  He got to do the opening prayer for a legislative session recently and this is what he did.

An atheist state lawmaker tasked with delivering the opening prayer for this afternoon’s session of the House of Representatives asked that people not bow their heads.

Democratic Representative Juan Mendez, of Tempe, instead spoke about his “secular humanist tradition” and even quoted author Carl Sagan.

For a guy who makes his living based on the approval of the citizenry, that took some serious brass.  But Mendez wasn’t done.

Mendez, in addition to his God-free invocation, also introduced members of the Secular Coalition for Arizona, sitting in the House gallery. One of the members said she was “witnessing history.”

After the invocation, Mendez called himself one of just one of 1.3 million Arizonans not affiliated with a religious tradition or organization.

“I hope today marks the beginning of a new era in which Arizona’s non believers can feel as welcome and valued here as believers,” he said.

Give that man a fucking trophy.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • Brian Wallace

    Wow, 2 positive news stories about AZ in a row… would have thought it impossible? Lots of kudos belong to Serah Blain, ED of the Coalition – She did a LOT behind the scenes to make this happen, and happen as positively and constructively as it did.

  • greg1466

    I notice that there is no mention of what the response was from his fellow legislators.

  • invivoMark

    I totally just realized that I knew this guy in undergrad. I went to a few parties with the Young Dems at ASU.

    He was a really likeable guy, and smart. I figured he had a promising career ahead of him, but… I had no idea he had already become a representative!