Politics and Religion


After the San Francisco Chronicle reported on Representative Pete Stark's announcement that he is an atheist, a Catholic priest from Fremont, which is in Stark's district, wrote a letter to the editor that was published today. The letter-writer actually argued--I'm sorry to say that I'm not making this up--that, as a matter of principle, elected representatives should have the same the religious affiliation as that of the majority of people in the district they represent. This would mean, of course, that if his position reflected the reality of government, a majority-Buddhist district should only have a Buddhist representative, a majority-Catholic district would have to have a Catholic representative, and a majority-Jewish district would have to have a Jewish representative. And thus atheists should only represent districts where the majority of people are atheists.

That is, of course, a ridiculous conception of the relationship between politics and religion.

Personally, I think the more telling fact about Stark's pronouncement of personal atheism was the revelation that he is also a UU. This says more about the state of the Unitarian Universalist Church than it does about American politics.