Tag Archives: Congress

Good news – atheist member of Congress reelected Tuesday

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Some good news to report from the US General election, Pete Stark (D-13) of Fremont California, the only openly atheist member of Congress was re-elected Tuesday night. So we got that.

Democrat Pete Stark, a 19-term incumbent, won by 70.9 percent with all precincts reporting, compared with 28.2 percent for Republican Forest Baker and write-in votes of 0.9 percent. An independent candidate, Chris Pareja, was running as a write-in in the race.

Fremont-Hayward area: Democrats sweep federal, state races

More info on Pete Stark

No “Under God” in Porky’s Pledge

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Here is a clip of a 1939 Porky Pig cartoon about the Pledge of Allegiance. The interesting bit is that the phrase “under God” is no where to be found since it wasn’t added by an act of Congress until 1954. Our country didn’t implode when the phrase wasn’t in the pledge and it won’t when it is taken out.

No “Under God” in Porky’s Pledge

Secular Coalition calls for end to religious test

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It would seem that the US Constitution doesn’t allow a religious test to be elected in this country. In fact that prohibition is written in clear language in Article Six. It is why the group, the Secular Coalition for America is taking the time to release a video of the attempts at a religious test during the recently concluded 2008 election campaign and calling for the all secularists to stand up and call for an end to it.

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

Article Six of the United States Constitution

Even though it is written in plain language, unlike the religious clause of the first amendment or the right to bear arms of the second, it seems that candidates are put through a religious test. The Secular Coalition for America released a video of clips full of examples from the 2008 election cycle:

The Secular Coalition is also asking secularists to help call attention to this undemocratic anti-American trait. They are sending out a New Year’s Alert:

Pastor Problems, Faith Forums and Godless Gotcha’s on the campaign trail. 2008 was a tough year for atheists, humanists, agnostics and all Americans who are proud of our secular traditions.

I am asking you to join me in signing onto the Secular Coalition for America’s Nine Resolutions for Secular Citizens. I am asking you to make a commitment in your everyday life to help the Secular Coalition and citizens like me change the way our leaders are elected and our country is governed. By signing your name – first, last, or even anonymous – to the resolution, you will help us show that there is a big constituency for the issues the Secular Coalition fights for, and that we intend to be heard in the coming year.

Please go to the New Year’s Resolution sign-on list now and add your name to the hundreds who have already resolved to fight for increased respect and visibility for nontheists and our secular traditions in 2009.

They also have commented and sent a letter to President-elect Obama concerning the inclusion of Rick Warren in the inauguration ceremony on January 20th.

President-elect Obama announced the program for his inauguration this week, and it begins with an invocation from the Rev. Rick Warren, an evangelical mega church pastor. Although Obama and his spokesperson insist his inaugural will be inclusive and offer diverse viewpoints, the choice of two Protestants to open and close the ceremony suggests otherwise.

Obama Chooses Divisive Pastor

Rod Parsley on Hate Crimes

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In checking out the stats for this website I have noticed many people come here after doing a search for web pages about Rev. Rod Parsley, who is the pastor of the mega World Harvest Church and host of the show Breakthrough. Since he helped Ken Blackwell lose the Ohio governorship in 2006, Parsley has been low key. But here is your bone Parsley searchers.

People For the American Way reports that Parsley used his TV show to complain about the Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007 being considered in Congress. He claims that the law would be used to silence religious speech.

As PFAW points out:

Of course, when you “pull the mask back” on the Religious Right’s campaign against the bill, you find something completely different: a law that would only apply to violent crimes, and that specifically states that it does not apply to speech or religious expression.

If you want to read more about it and see a video of the segment of his show where Parsley talks about the law see the following link:

Rod Parsley on Hate Crimes

Founding Fathers respond to Sali

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In my last post I mentioned the ignorant comments made by Representative Bill Sali (R-Idaho) concerning Hindu prayer being offered in the Senate and a Muslim member of the House of Representatives.

In his comments he said:

“We have not only a Hindu prayer being offered in the Senate, we have a Muslim member of the House of Representatives now, Keith Ellison from Minnesota. Those are changes — and they are not what was envisioned by the Founding Fathers,” asserts Sali.

Well it seems some members of the Founding Fathers needed to respond.

I almost shudder at the thought of alluding to the most fatal example of the abuses of grief which the history of mankind has preserved – the Cross. Consider what calamities that engine of grief has produced!

John Adams – Letter to Thomas Jefferson

History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will avail themselves for their own purposes.

Thomas Jefferson – Letter to Alexander von Humboldt December 6, 1813

The experience of the United States is a happy disproof of the error so long rooted in the unenlightened minds of well-meaning Christians, as well as in the corrupt hearts of persecuting usurpers, that without a legal incorporation of religious and civil polity, neither could be supported. A mutual independence is found most friendly to practical Religion, to social harmony, and to political prosperity.

James Madison – Letter to F.L. Schaeffer, December 3, 1821

Those three men would know better than Bill Sali what the Constitution means as they helped create it. It shows how ignorant Sali’s comments were.

Bill Sali makes a stupid comment

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Back on July 12th I posted about a disruption in a US Senate hearing when a Hindu prayer was offered. (see: Hindu prayer in US Senate draws protesters)

Well of course a member of the House, Representative Bill Sali (R-Idaho), believes the prayer should never have been offered.

“We have not only a Hindu prayer being offered in the Senate, we have a Muslim member of the House of Representatives now, Keith Ellison from Minnesota. Those are changes — and they are not what was envisioned by the Founding Fathers,” asserts Sali.

Sali says America was built on Christian principles that were derived from scripture. He also says the only way the United States has been allowed to exist in a world that is so hostile to Christian principles is through “the protective hand of God.”

Idaho congressman disturbed by Hindu prayer in Senate, election of Muslim to House

Like I said in my first post – some Christians talk a good game about religious tolerance until they are asked to do it for other beliefs.

I also wonder how someone like Rep. Sali is competent to serve in Congress when he lacks a basic knowledge of the Constitution and US history. It would be like letting a stranger off the street practice medicine just because he owns a stethoscope.

Maybe Congress needs an intelligence test rather than a religious test for office as Sali suggests.