By Brian Pellot
During a visit here four years ago, Maggie Ardiente of the American Humanist Association bragged to her British counterparts about the one atheist in the U.S. Congress, Rep. Pete Stark of California.
Her host, the chief executive of the British Humanist Association, indulged her for a moment before mentioning that the U.K.’ s All Party Parliamentary Humanist Group was 150 members strong, most of them elected atheists.
Earlier this month, Ardiente conceded at the World Humanist Congress meeting in Oxford: “We’re really behind when it comes to humanism in politics.”
After Stark, a Democrat, lost his House seat in 2012, the number of openly atheist politicians in U.S. Congress slipped back to zero.
But just because they’re not out does not mean there are no atheists in the halls of Congress. “We already know of 24 members of Congress who have told us privately that they don’t believe in God, but they won’t come out, of course, and if we tried to out them they would deny it,” Ardiente said.