Jump to content

Stark's Outing Stirs The Waters


webmdave
 Share

Recommended Posts

  • Admin

Now that Congressman Pete Stark has been "outed" as a non-Christian (although he's being described commonly as an "atheist," he's described himself as a "Unitarian who does not believe in a Supreme Being" - perhaps nothing more than semantic subtelty), people on both sides of the theistic/atheistic debate are taking the opportunity to weigh in.

 

Sam Harris offered this in an op-ed today:

 

Sam_Harris_01.jpg

Pete Stark, a California Democrat, appears to be the first congressman in U.S. history to acknowledge that he doesn't believe in God. In a country in which 83% of the population thinks that the Bible is the literal or "inspired" word of the creator of the universe, this took political courage.

 

Of course, one can imagine that Cicero's handlers in the 1st century BC lost some sleep when he likened the traditional accounts of the Greco-Roman gods to the "dreams of madmen" and to the "insane mythology of Egypt."

 

Mythology is where all gods go to die, and it seems that Stark has secured a place in American history simply by admitting that a fresh grave should be dug for the God of Abraham — the jealous, genocidal, priggish and self-contradictory tyrant of the Bible and the Koran. Stark is the first of our leaders to display a level of intellectual honesty befitting a consul of ancient Rome. Bravo.

 

...

 

Let us hope that Stark's candor inspires others in our government to admit their doubts about God. Indeed, it is time we broke this spell en masse. Every one of the world's "great" religions utterly trivializes the immensity and beauty of the cosmos. Books like the Bible and the Koran get almost every significant fact about us and our world wrong. Every scientific domain — from cosmology to psychology to economics — has superseded and surpassed the wisdom of Scripture.

 

And the Christian Seniors Association (a favorite of stodgy grandparents everywhere) offered their reaction:

 

According to Christianity Today, Congressman Pete Stark (D-California) became the first member of Congress to deny the existence of God. "When the Secular Coalition asked me to complete a survey on my religious beliefs, I indicated I am a Unitarian who does not believe in a supreme being."

 

“It is sad but not surprising that the current Congress has produced this historic first – one of its members has denied God,” said CSA Executive Director James Lafferty. “The liberals in Congress want to throttle any school child who bows his or her head in prayer, but they want to establish a right for liberals to bash Christians and berate God around the clock.

 

“It is time for religious members of Congress to push back. A simple declaration of a belief in God by members of Congress on the House floor will be greatly informative for the American people. Members who wish to expand could use the ‘special orders’ portion of the House calendar to elaborate but a simple “I believe in God” will suffice.

 

“We have long recognized that all of this hot air about ‘separation of church and state’ has been a veiled effort to intimidate and silence religious voices in public policy matters.

 

“If the liberal House leadership refuses to recognize lawmakers who want to affirm their belief in God, then we suggest they add it to the end of floor speeches on other matters.

 

“Congressman Stark’s statement is a very sad benchmark for America. It could be the moment which defines the decline of our country or it could be the spark which marks an important day.

 

That would be the day that religious Americans stood-up to the liberal bullies who are so determined to use the power of government to silence prayer and every other religious expression of free speech.

 

“This is a fight which is destined to be fought in America and we think it should begin today.”

It strikes me as somewhat overreactive to respond to the declaration of non-belief by a single congressman with a demand that the Christian members of Congress use the mechanisms of government to officially declare their belief. It's somewhat reminiscent of the eagerness of celebrtities to publicly declare their heterosexuality as homosexuality has gradually become more accepted, and homosexual celebrities have made known (or have been made known) their orientation. As the majority worldview, I wouldn't think that Christians would need to have so much anxiety about asserting their presence in any sector of public life, but perhaps this is a sign that they recognize that their idealogical dominance is beginning to slip away.

 

http://exchristian.net/exchristian/2007/03...irs-waters.html

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't know who that is a picture of, but this is Pete Stark today:

Stark3-PeteDave.jpg

Pete Stark on the left, Dave Kong of San Francisco Atheists on the right.

 

In reference to the picture; Mr Stark is receiving "First Amendment award" for refusing to endorse the resolution condemning the Pledge decision issued by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in June 2002.

 

 

Why are the christians so afraid of one person?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I like how they said he "denied" the existance of God, as if God is really there and Stark is pretending that he isn't.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Why are Christians so afraid of one person? On the one hand, he's not just a little chink in their armor. Because he's both a public figure and an elected (and re-elected) official, he's a definite crack in the old armor. They can just feel their majority slipping, so the natural reaction is to dig in their heels and overreact; get the faithful stirred up and indignant.

 

OTOH, I think the fundies really feed off of stuff like this because it allows them to put aside their theological differences and rally together against a common 'threat.' In their own way and for their own purposes, the fundies need "causes" like this as much as the anti-religious do and that's why one lonely lawmaker without a god belief gets them so riled up.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Why are Christians so afraid of one person? On the one hand, he's not just a little chink in their armor. Because he's both a public figure and an elected (and re-elected) official, he's a definite crack in the old armor. They can just feel their majority slipping, so the natural reaction is to dig in their heels and overreact; get the faithful stirred up and indignant.

 

OTOH, I think the fundies really feed off of stuff like this because it allows them to put aside their theological differences and rally together against a common 'threat.' In their own way and for their own purposes, the fundies need "causes" like this as much as the anti-religious do and that's why one lonely lawmaker without a god belief gets them so riled up.

That sounds about right. :scratch:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't know who that is a picture of,

It's a picture of Sam Harris.

Oh.... a picture of the author and not the subject. My confusion. :Doh:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's funny, because I've seen pictures of Sam Harris and saw that picture and it didn't make sense to me, I knew it wasn't Pete Stark, until I saw Sam Harris as the author.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here's another idea on why Christians make such a big ado about things like this. As we know so well, they always imagine themselves to be a persecuted minority. When they see a person in government openly confessing to not believing in God, they probably imagine this is the beginning of the end, like that letter suggests.

 

Another reason might be what has already been mentioned--that they are so seriously divided among themselves that all of them believe they are the only real Christians left. If they think all other Christians are located somewhere between themselves and totally lost, and now we get a congressman "denying" the existence of God, well, it does look like the world is just about going to the dogs [providing that the world "goes to the dogs" when people give up religion, which I personally don't believe].

 

And then there is the Christian conviction that anyone would choose to disbelieve in God at the drop of a needle. Having a professing nonChristian in government might appear to them like much more than the drop of just one needle.

 

A comment on their use of the word "deny." I suspect they cannot conceive of a position between believing in God's existence and denying it. Witness their inability or unwillingness (I am not sure which it is) to correctly define the word "atheist."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's funny, because I've seen pictures of Sam Harris and saw that picture and it didn't make sense to me, I knew it wasn't Pete Stark, until I saw Sam Harris as the author.

I just finished reading "Letter To A Christian Nation" but have never seen a picture of the author. Should I read "End of Faith" next?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I just finished reading "Letter To A Christian Nation" but have never seen a picture of the author. Should I read "End of Faith" next?

I've read neither of them, but I've heard good things about both. I just can't figure out where I saw his picture...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I just finished reading "Letter To A Christian Nation" but have never seen a picture of the author. Should I read "End of Faith" next?

I've read neither of them, but I've heard good things about both. I just can't figure out where I saw his picture...

"Letter" is cheaper and only 100 pages. I needed to read a book for our local Humanist meeting this Sunday and that was the shortest one on the list. :grin:

 

"Letter" is a letter to fundamentalist christians that wrote him some very nasty letters after his other book but the book is actually aimed at Atheists and gives some very good arguments to the funnymentalists arguments.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think Mr. Stark may have made a political blunder........I understand his sentiment, but his actions were foolish. Just my opinion.

I think he's about to retire anyway. Don't forget, he's from a very liberal part of the Bay Area. It would be awful hard for him to lose an election there. In the last election (2006), he got 74% of the vote.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Guidelines.