Mar. 26, 2012 | Rep. Pete Stark is none too shy to back up his beliefs, even when they run counter to a very touchy subject--religion. In this case, the lack of Stark's belief in a supreme being.
"When I disclosed this fact about five years ago, people said it was political suicide--hardly," Stark said last Saturday at the Reason Rally, an assemblage of atheists, humanists and non-believers in Washington, D.C.
The rally also featured Richard Hawkins, author of the "The God Delusion" and a video by comedian Bill Maher.
In an election year, where Stark's seat in Congress could be in more jeopardy than it has in over three decades, the reminder of his unique moniker as the highest-ranking atheist in government might be unpleasant news for many new voters in the more conservative Tri Valley area. Stark, tough, thinks voters are worried about other things.
"My constituents are more concerned about jobs, about the environment, about educating our children. These are the important things that troubling them, not whether they go to the temple, the mosque or the church. That isn't on their mind," he said.
Stark also took aim at the large contingent of religious right wing members of Congress who have taken their message to include the role of God in the public discussion of governance. "I've noticed ironically that the more a member of Congress talks about religion, the less they do to help people.
Edited video of Stark's remarks at the Reason Rally are below: