As mentioned here last week, Democrat Congressman Pete Stark from California has outed himself. Wonkette says he is a “Unitarian”.

“When the Secular Coalition asked me to complete a survey on my religious beliefs, I indicated I am a Unitarian who does not believe in a supreme being,” Stark said. “Like our nation’s founders, I strongly support the separation of church and state. I look forward to working with the Secular Coalition to stop the promotion of narrow religious beliefs in science, marriage contracts, the military and the provision of social services.”

Unitarian Universalism describes itself as creedless, meaning that it has no underlying authoritative statement of religious belief. While some members believe in God, not all do.

I still find it almost unbelievable that in 2007 this is such big news but there you have it. Do you think this means the rest of the US politicians actually believe in mythical beings? Or that they are just too scared to front up? Either way, it’s pretty scary. The LA Times says:

A USA Today/Gallup poll last month found that only 45 percent of respondents said they would vote for a “well qualified” presidential candidate who was an atheist. Ninety-five percent said they would vote for a Catholic candidate, 92 percent a Jewish candidate and 72 percent a Mormon candidate.

I would love to run a similar survey in Australia. Perhaps the Secular Coalition needs an Aussie operation?

And what’s with this “nontheist” crap? What’s that?

According to this blog:

a nontheist is someone who does not accept a theistic understanding of God, as described in the preceding paragraph. Such a person may reject all understandings of God, may embrace certain non-theistic understandings of God, may find God language useful and rich in trying to describe their experience of the world but not true in a literal sense, may believe in certain non-material, transcendent realities that have little in common with the common understanding of the word “God.” An atheist falls within this understanding of nontheist, as does an agnostic, a humanist, a Buddhist, and many Quakers who find the whole practice of labeling our belief systems an unfortunate distraction from genuine religious living.

We definitely need a better marketing term than “nontheist” or “atheist”. I prefer “rational”. Or “sane”.

Agnolo Bronzino, Allegorie der Liebe (1540/45)