The conversation included several elected officials: Rep. Jared Huffman, Rep. Jamie Raskin, State Rep. Athena Salman of Arizona, and State Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith of Florida. There was also a conversation with science communicator Ann Druyan, who produced the recent Cosmos series. All of them spoke about the importance of fighting back against religious supremacy in government, the scourge of Christian Nationalism and white supremacy, and how to get more non-religious Americans to vote.
In case you missed it, you can watch the event here:
The part with the lawmakers begins at the 24:46 mark.
There isn’t just a single sound bite to draw out. The conversation itself was something I never would have imagined possible several years ago, so it was just fun to listen to them talk about something openly when they only ever seem to have these conversations privately. The three open atheists even spoke about backlash they faced from colleagues, even over mild issues like invocations.
Maybe the best story for me was when Rep. Huffman talked about coming out as openly Humanist. He said he wanted to give Speaker Nancy Pelosi a heads up, just in case it caused any kind of problems for her. Instead of urging him not to do it, she fully supported him and told him the philosophy of Humanism was “beautiful.”
The goal of the event was to bring together everyone who cares about state/church separation, ending faith-based neglect of children, promoting civil rights that don’t permit religious discrimination, advocating for health care free of religious exemptions or privilege, mobilizing non-religious voters, fighting for (actual) religious freedom, pushing for reason-based policies, respecting atheists in the military, and more. I hope this is just the first event of many.
Congratulations to Sarah Levin, the group’s program director, who put that lineup together. It’s a hard act to follow, but she’s undoubtedly eager to do even more with the next event. Be sure to join the group here. You can also donate, but joining is free.
(Portions of this article were published earlier)