This wasn’t one of the races anyone was paying close attention to last night, but I think it still merits mention.
In California’s 2nd congressional district, Rep. Jared Huffman, the only openly non-theistic member of Congress, coasted through his top-two-advance-to-November primary. He’ll face Republican Dale Mensing in what should be a (thankfully) uneventful race.
What’s notable is that this is the first election Huffman has been in since coming out as a humanist last November, and it’s obvious that his announcement didn’t affect his re-election campaign one bit.
When he was thinking about declaring himself a humanist last year, the Washington Post reported that, while the private responses he received were overwhelmingly positive, there was one friend who thought it was a bad idea because “it could hurt him politically.”
It didn’t hurt him politically.
If other members of Congress feel like their seats are secure, maybe they can look to this race as a sign that being open and honest about not believing in God is no longer the political liability it used to be.
Sure, Huffman is in California, but the religious demographics are shifting aross the country, and there are plenty of other Democrats in safe seats. With so many other scandals and issues clogging everyone’s mind, saying you’re an atheist hardly seems noteworthy anymore. There’s no better time to do it.