IA Senate Candidate: Atheists, “I See You” and I Support Church/State Separation September 11, 2019

IA Senate Candidate: Atheists, “I See You” and I Support Church/State Separation

One of the tougher races for Democrats to win in 2020 is the Senate race in Iowa. Republican Joni Ernst is defending a fairly safe seat, but several Democrats are vying to run against her next year, including Theresa Greenfield, who’s received the bulk of the national attention so far.

One of her opponents in the Democratic primary is Kimberly Graham, a progressive attorney who is running on a platform of getting big money out of politics. (She calls herself the “Best Senator Money Can’t Buy.”)

Recently, seemingly out of nowhere, she tweeted a shout-out to non-religious Iowans (“I see you”) along with a promise to “respect the separation of Church and State.”

That graphic shows the percentage of “Nones” in every county in the state. It was created by Justin Scott, the Iowa State Director for American Atheists, who posted it on Facebook the day before she wrote that tweet.

I don’t know if it’ll do anything to help her campaign. But I can tell you it doesn’t seem to have hurt her campaign either. Even Justin didn’t notice the tweet until nearly two weeks after it was posted.

Why aren’t other Democrats doing what Graham did? To say to Secular Americans, “I see you,” and to be open about your support for church/state separation shouldn’t be controversial among even moderate Democrats. Even if Republicans use it as an attack, it should be easy to defend. Graham didn’t advocate atheism or say anything anti-religious. It’s downright innocuous. And yet it’s such an unusual thing to say in American politics that you have to appreciate it when it happens.

Unlike evangelical Christians, most atheist voters aren’t asking the government to promote our beliefs about God. We’d rather they stay out of the theology business altogether. Just use credible evidence when crafting policy, respect church/state separation, don’t treat science as dirty word… the usual. That’s not asking much.

Hats off to Graham for the tweet. If you want, you can donate to her campaign right here.


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