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Friday, March 16, 2007

Highest Ranking Atheist in American Politics Breaks Long Standing Taboo

From the New York Sun (3/13/07):

'Rep. Fortney 'Pete' Stark Jr. of California is breaking long-standing taboo by declaring himself a nonbeliever. The 18-term Democrat made the unusual declaration after being queried by secular groups running a contest to find the highest ranking atheist in American politics.'

' "...When the Secular Coalition asked me to complete a survey on my religious beliefs, I indicated I an a Unitarian who does not believe in a supreme being," Mr. Stark, 75, said in a statement mailed to The New York Sun.'

'Atheist groups hailed Mr. Stark...as the first member of Congress to declare that he does not believe in God...'

'...Mr. Stark's declaration notwithstanding, the contest sponsored by the Secular Coalition of America hardly had politicians clamoring to embrace nonbelief. A spokesman for thr group...said...the only other politicians willing to identify themselves as nonbelievers were two school board members and one town meeting member. Aside from Mr. Stark, no state or federal official at any level agreed to be named as an atheist.'

'...A recent USA Today/Gallup Poll...found that 53% of Americans would not consider voting for an atheist presidential candidate. Homosexuals, the repeatedly divorced, Jews, Mormons, Catholics, and women all fared better..."People who don't believe in God are the most distrusted minority in the United States," said a spokesperson for the secular group...'

Mr Ken points out how "conservative/religious zealots" or "CRZ'ys"- like the consistently misinformed 'spinmeister' Bill O'Reilly and t college-dropout Sean Hannity grossly misrepresent the true state of affairs in the U.S., when claiming "secular-progressives" or "S-Ps" have taken over American society. As a spokesman for the American Humanist Association indicated in the Sun article,

"The meager results of the contest undercut claims that secularists have taken over American society. When people say there's a war on Christianity or there's a war on Christmas, they're talking through their hats...He (Mr. Edwords) regularly sees claims that atheists are dominating Congress, the bureacracy, public schools, universities, and the courts. The few of us that exist would be spread pretty thin if we're supposed to be overrepresented in so many places."

Mr Ken observes that most of the world's ills can be placed squarely on the provincialism, fanaticism and prejudices that superstition and its most virulent offshoot, religion, nourish. Logical thought and problem solving do not flourish in such an environment. Faith is the enemy of logic and science.

"...It is thought virtuous to have faith--that is to say, to have a conviction that can not be shaken by contrary evidence. Or, if contrary evidence might induce doubt, it is held that contrary evidence must be suppressed...The consequence is that the minds of the young are stunted and are filled with fanatical hostility both to those who have other fanaticisms and, even more virulently, to those who object to all fanaticisms. A habit of basing conclusions upon evidence, and of giving to them only that degree of certainty which the evidence warrants, would, if it became general, cure most of the ills from which the world is suffering. But at present, in most countries education aims at preventing the growth of such a habit, and men who refuse to profess belief in some system of unfounded dogmas are not considered suitable as teachers of the young..."

from 'Why I Am Not a Christian' (1957), Bertrand Russell (bolding/coloring for emphasis by MrKen)

...and are not considered suitable to be in positions of political power, either, MrKen would add...

for more on Mr. Stark, follow this link... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pete_Stark

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