If you are like me, you saw the Republican sweep of statewide seats in Virginia and the very close governor’s race in New Jersey as a demonstration of the dangerous appeal to voters of Donald Trump’s Republican Party and his White Christian Nationalist base. However unsettled that made you, there is some hope.
I work for the Center for Freethought Equality, which is the advocacy and political arm of the American Humanist Association, and we had some electoral successes this year. For example, our endorsed candidate, Jalen McKee-Rodriguez, won a seat on the San Antonio (Texas) City Council, and Audra Killingsworth won re-election to the Apex (North Carolina) Town Council. We are proud of all our endorsed candidates like Andrew Zwicker, currently a member of the New Jersey General Assembly, who is in a too-close-to-call race to flip a red New Jersey State Senate seat (District 16) [Update: Zwicker won!], and Katie Sponsler, who came close to flipping a red district in the Virginia House of Delegates (District 66). These candidates understand the importance of public service and the need to promote the values of the atheist and humanist community.
Atheist and humanist candidates provide hope for the establishment of a safer, saner, stronger America. With the rapid growth of the nonreligious community, we now have the numbers, once organized, to bring the White Christian Nationalist’s anti-democratic, bigoted, anti-science, racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, and homophobic crusade to an end. Join the Center for Freethought Equality to help make this happen!
Increasing the political engagement of the atheist and humanist community—both as a voting bloc and as elected officials—is vital in protecting our democracy and countering the dangerous White Christian Nationalist agenda. The participation of atheist, agnostic, and religiously unaffiliated voters has doubled since 2014. In the 2020 election, our community comprised 25% of all voters, up from just 12% in 2014. We need to continue to organize, make our values known at the ballot box, and to run for public office.
The Center for Freethought Equality’s political action committee (PAC) is proud of the openly humanist, atheist, agnostic, and nonreligious candidates who ran for office this year, and the growing engagement of our community in the political process. The endorsements made by the Center for Freethought Equality’s PAC are based on the candidates’ support of the separation of religion and government, the integrity of science, and the recognition of the atheist and humanist community as an important political constituency.
Supporting the separation of religion and government includes opposing public funding of religious education through the use of vouchers and other mechanisms, as well as preventing the intrusion of religious bigotry that far too often drives our public policy. The atheist and humanist community supports using evidence, reason, and compassion in public policy decisions. This includes reforming the criminal justice system, protecting reproductive rights, and advancing the civil rights of the LGBTQ+ community. In addition, we oppose religious dogma that prevents the teaching of evolution, blocks medical aid in dying, and keeps us from addressing the climate crisis.
The efforts of the Center for Freethought Equality have produced groundbreaking results. Prior to the 2016 election, there were only five elected officials serving in state legislatures who publicly identified with the atheist and humanist community. With the help of the Center for Freethought Equality, after the 2016 election, that list grew to 17. Then, it increased to 47 after the 2018 election, and to 60 after the 2020 election. You can see our list of 80 nontheist local, state, and federal elected officials here. Our elected officials include Congressman Jared Huffman (CA-2), who announced in November 2017 that he is a humanist and agnostic. He is the only current member of Congress who publicly identifies with our community. In April 2018, along with Rep. Jamie Raskin (MD-8), Huffman founded and co-chairs the Congressional Freethought Caucus, which promotes church-state separation, evidence-based public policy, and the atheist and humanist community.
The Center for Freethought Equality also offers online resources to enhance your political engagement as an individual and for your leadership in a non-profit group. The insurrection on January 6th demonstrates the fragility of our democracy, so atheists and humanists must increase our participation including running for office.
Please be an active part of the mission of the Center for Freethought Equality to empower the atheist and humanist community by providing a voice on Capitol Hill, helping our members become more engaged in the political and electoral arena, and increasing the number of open humanists and atheist, and allies, in public office at all levels of government by becoming a member today. Membership is FREE!