On Friday afternoon, Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang tweeted this message of solidarity with Secular Americans:
Whether you worship or not, this campaign and country are for you. ���
— Andrew Yang� (@AndrewYang) December 13, 2019
The message was appreciated lip service. But it didn’t come out of nowhere, and this is why it’s so important for atheists to make the most of the situation when candidates are in your area.
Prior to that tweet, Yang had just taken part in an interfaith town hall in Waverly, Iowa. Atheist activist Justin Scott was there for the action. He told me that Yang discussed his relatively secular upbringing, which gave him an opening when it came time for Yang’s selfie line.
The audio below is hard to hear, but Justin asked Yang if he’d consider nominating an atheist as vice president or to his Cabinet. (“Yeah, I would,” said Yang.) He also asked what Yang would do if he realized he was an atheist — instead of still on a spiritual journey. Would he keep running? Would he consider it too toxic for politics? Yang implied that such a change wouldn’t get in the way of his campaign because his values, which he speaks about already, matter more.
Again, it’s not breaking news. It’s not even a weird thing to hear a politician say. But that brief conversation presumably led Yang to tweet what he did shortly thereafter.
All the more reason to keep raising issues of church/state separation and secular values in front of these candidates as often as possible.