New Openly Humanist Member of Congress Receives Endorsement

November 9th, 2017

The Freethought Equality Fund Political Action Committee is proud to endorse the re-election campaign of Rep. Jared Huffman, who represents California’s 2nd Congressional District.

“I’m honored by this endorsement because it recognizes and reinforces my efforts to ensure that everyone in this great diverse country is treated with respect and dignity, regardless of their religious or nonreligious views.” Huffman stated. “Today more than ever, we must defend the religious liberty our founders enshrined in the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.”

As for his personal religious beliefs, Rep. Huffman identifies as a humanist, as nonreligious, or as agnostic. Humanism, as defined by the American Humanist Association, is “a progressive lifestance that, without theism or other supernatural beliefs, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead meaningful, ethical lives capable of adding to the greater good of humanity.” Send Rep. Huffman a thank you message for identifying with the secular community.

“Like many people,” Huffman continued, “I’ve struggled with questions of faith and religion for most of my life. While I don’t pretend to have all the answers, I am convinced that people of all religions, as well as the nonreligious, can work together to make a positive difference in the world.”

Ten years ago, Pete Stark, representing California’s 13th District, was the first member of Congress to publicly announce he did “not believe in a supreme being” and identify as a humanist. The secular community has grown substantially since Stark’s announcement, but still lacks significant representation in public office.

According to research from PRRI, the percentage of Americans who identify as “religiously unaffiliated” increased from 16% in 2006 to 24% in 2016. Removing those who identify as religious in this category still leaves 20% of the population as non-religious, and this number does not capture the people who identify with a religion for family and/or cultural reasons and yet do not hold a god-belief. The change in the Democratic Party is even more dramatic with the percentage of the “religiously unaffiliated” increasing from 9% in 2006 to 26% in 2016.

In Gallop’s perennial question, would you vote for “a generally well-qualified person for president who happened to be an atheist?” 58% of the respondents said yes – perhaps encouraging more secular elected officials and candidates to publicly identify as humanists, atheists and agnostics.

###

In his third term as a member of Congress, Jared Huffman represents the North Coast of California from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Oregon border. He serves on the Committee on Natural Resources and the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and is a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. Huffman’s prior public service includes six years in the California State Assembly and working as a public interest lawyer for the Natural Resources Defense Council.

The mission of the Freethought Equality Fund (FEF) is to help remove the stigma against the nontheist community and to achieve political equality by increasing the number of open humanists and atheists, and their allies, in public office at all levels of government. FEF supports progressive candidates who are strong advocates for the separation of religion and government and who pledge to ensure equality for all regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, and religion. The FEF supports candidates who advocate for secular government, scientific integrity, reproductive freedom, LGBTQ rights, and civil rights for all Americans. FEF is affiliated with the Center for Freethought Equality, which is the advocacy and political arm of the American Humanist Association.