I’ve been asked why I keep track of the atheists in politics. Is it really that important? It is to me in part because, for years, I couldn’t name a single atheist in public office. Knowing that an atheist can get elected says a lot about the acceptance of atheists in our society in general. Visibility matters!
Furthermore, the label is also a sign that someone probably shares my views on a lot of other issues — though that’s not always the case. I look forward to the day when I can divide the atheists in politics into those I support and those I want voted out. We’re not there yet.
Anyway, it turns out there’s another state representative who’s an atheist.
She wanted me to know she was an atheist, too.
New Hampshire State Rep. Sherry Frost was first elected in 2016, and she’s never tried to hide who she is from the general public. She’s even referred to her godlessness on social media:
How about we encourage more women and LGBTQ people and People of Color and Muslims (and atheists – HI!!) to run for office so our legislative bodies *look* like our communities? So the people representing us really *ARE* us?
— Sherry Frost (@frostnhstaterep) November 5, 2018
As an atheist who is deeply skeptical of organized religion, I am heartened by this thread. https://t.co/6hze1cg8PE
— Sherry Frost (@frostnhstaterep) June 16, 2018
She’s not alone as an atheist in New Hampshire. By my count, as of last week, there were 6 non-religious people in the NH legislature including one person, Rep. Tim Smith, who specifically described himself with the word “atheist.” After the elections, another 3-4 non-religious legislators (depending on the outcome of one pending race) will join them.
Like many of those colleagues, Frost’s politics are very, very progressive. She’s a self-described “Bernie Democrat” who’s for economic and social justice, as well as a proud feminist.
We spoke on the phone a couple of days ago and I asked her if she had any concerns about my drawing attention to her atheism. She told me she wasn’t worried at all. Her outspokenness online had led to controversy before and being an open atheist wasn’t going to surprise anyone. Plus, she told me, “I say ‘fuck’ on Twitter.” In other words, would anyone really be upset by the “atheist” thing?
They must not be that concerned. Even though she’s talked about her non-religiosity in the past, when she was on the ballot last week, she ran unopposed. If others want to beat her, they’ll have to do it on the issues, because her progressive nature has only earned her well-deserved support so far.
By the way, if you’re a state-level politician who’s an atheist, hit me up. Let’s talk. You’re in good company!