Sunday, October 14, 2007

Pete Stark: Unbeliever in Congress

My latest column has been up for about a week now. It's about Congressman Pete Stark from California, who last March came out in public as "a Unitarian who who does not believe in a supreme being." In September I attended a talk he gave at Harvard, in which he accepted the Humanist of the Year award from the Harvard Humanist Chaplaincy.

It was an interesting talk, because Stark's spiritual journey points out the difference between two kinds of non-theists: Those for whom unbelief is a major part of their identity, and those who just never get around to thinking too deeply about God, because they're living life just fine without a deity. (In the column I refer to the two types as tooth-fairy unbelievers and purple-cow unbelievers.) Stark is the second kind, a purple-cow unbeliever.

It's an interesting question, I think, whether purple-cow unbelievers can be pulled together into a movement, and if so, whether it could be the same movement as tooth-fairy unbelievers.

There's no comment feature on the site, so you can post your responses here.


Robin Edgar said...

Then of course there are the purple alien unbelievers. . . ;-)

Ellen said...

I originally parsed your headline here as meaning that Pete Stark didn't believe in Congress.

But, actually, that would have made him one of the Bush Republicans. So, never mind. :)