'I Don't Believe in God': Congressman Aims to Bring Other Lawmakers Out of Humanist Closet
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A California congressman recently proclaimed he doesn’t “believe in God” while addressing a secular activist group’s annual convention.
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Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.) “made his views on the nonexistence of God extremely clear” during pretaped remarks before the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s recent convention.
“I feel like I have sort of become the surrogate representative for countless folks across the United States that identify as nonreligious,” Huffman reportedly said. “As many of you know, I am the token humanist in Congress.”
The congressman said others tend to be “coy” about where they stand on faith, but he said he’s “come right out and said it.” Then, Huffman made his position clear.
“I’m a humanist and I don’t believe in God,” he said.
This revelation isn’t entirely surprising considering past statements and advocacy. A 2017 article proclaimed Huffman wasn’t “sure” if there was a God. He said he used to ignore questions about his faith but has changed course in recent years.
“I don’t believe in religious tests, and I don’t believe my religion is all that important to the people I represent, and I think there’s too much religion in politics,” he told the Post at the time. “For those reasons, I felt good about not even answering it.”
Huffman became more vocal, though, crediting former President Donald Trump and others who were relying on Christianity in policy-making; thus, he, too, started speaking up. Rather than embrace the “atheist” label, though, he called himself — much like in the most recent video — a “humanist.”
“I’m not hostile to religion, and I’m not judging other people’s religious views,” Huffman said in his Post interview. “I suppose you could say I don’t believe in God. The only reason I hesitate is — unlike some humanists, I’m not completely closing the door to spiritual possibilities. We all know people who have had experiences they believe are divine … and I’m open to something like that happening.”
He has also been awarded by atheists and secularists for his vocal expression of nonbelief.
The American Humanist Association named Huffman the “2020 Humanist of the Year,” and he co-founded the Congressional Freethought Caucus in 2018, a group devoted to promoting “public policy formed on the basis of reason, science, and moral values.”
Also listed in the caucus’ mission is an effort to “oppose discrimination against atheists, agnostics, humanists, seekers, religious and nonreligious persons, and to champion the value of freedom of thought and conscience worldwide.”
Huffman certainly isn’t the first member of Congress to express his non-theism, as former Rep. Pete Stark, who died in 2020 and served in the House until 2013, was also open about his nonbelief.
FFRF co-president Annie Laurie Gaylor believes Huffman’s recent decision to speak up even clearer on his rejection of God could spark others in Congress to do the same.
“As Rep. Huffman alluded to in his remarks, there are more members of Congress who hold the same view as tens of millions of Americans about the nonexistence of God,” Gaylor said in a statement. “We have no doubt that others will be following in his footsteps in the near future.”
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