This is True

Baring His Soul

Congressman Pete Stark of northern California has revealed himself as a nontheist — “a Unitarian who does not believe in a supreme being,” adding that “like our nation’s founders, I strongly support the separation of church and state.” Such a pronouncement was thought to be political suicide, but Stark, 75, says reaction has been overwhelmingly positive. “I don’t know what the guys who put out the press release did,” Stark said, “but I’d like to hire their PR person to run my next campaign. I have been inundated [with support] from literally all over the world.” The few who have disagreed, he said, “have been polite and reasonable.” Stark says he doesn’t feel “courageous” for making the admission, but finds it amazing that not one of his 534 colleagues in Congress was willing to admit they too are nontheistic. (San Francisco Chronicle) ...Once there are 131 more members of Congress, they will.

Publication Date: 18 March 2007

This story is in True's book collection, Volume 13.

In case you wondered about the slew of 666 stories, this was True’s 666th weekly issue. As for Stark, the first Congressman to be openly atheist, he was up for reelection in 1998, after his atheism was well known. He won with 71 percent of the popular vote. He retired from Congress in 2013, at age 81.