California Congressman Pete Stark answered a query about his religious beliefs, saying he does not believe in God. This is not unusual, really. Through history the U.S. has had people of many religious beliefs, and disbeliefs, serve in Congress.
A group calling itself the Christian Seniors Association, a division of Traditional Values Coalition, hit the panic button unjustly, issuing a press release noting a “Sad First in the History of Congress.”
“It is sad but not surprising that the current Congress has produced this historic first – one of its members has denied God,” said CSA Executive Director James Lafferty. “The liberals in Congress want to throttle any school child who bows his or her head in prayer, but they want to establish a right for liberals to bash Christians and berate God around the clock.
Would it be too much to ask such a group to actually study history? This is not a first, and probably not all that historic, either. Their claim is bogus history.
In 1846 an Illinois state representative ran for Congress, against a famous Methodist preacher, and issued a flyer noting his non-membership in any church and his questioning of traditional views of God, but noting that he bore no ill-will to any believer, especially Christians. Illinois elected him to Congress for one term. The state failed to send him to the U.S. Senate a dozen years later, but his religious belief was not an issue in that consideration at all.
Two years later that one-term Congressman was elected President of the United States, and Illinois now proudly calls itself the “Land of Lincoln.”
And now you know the rest of the story, and you know why the Christian Seniors Association should go back and renew its vows to traditional American values like love of education, studying history, and celebrating the differences in our views that keep our democratic republic vital and strong. Then, after renewing the vows, they should practice what they promise.
Nor is there a shred of evidence that Rep. Stark has ever “berated” God, let alone “around the clock.” Their clock is obviously in need of some cleaning.
Stark has been in Congress for 34 years, first elected in 1972. He is a graduate of MIT in engineering, and a graduate of UC Berkeley with an MBA. He founded a successful bank, Security National Bank, in Walnut Creek, California, in 1963. He served in the U.S. Air Force, and he’s been on the board of directors of a school of ministry. Stark is a strong supporter of real American values and traditions.
Stark is a long-time supporter of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and religious freedom for all Americans. That agenda probably does not sit well with the Christian Seniors Association. Would it kill these guys to read Stark’s views, read history, and study what the Bible says about looking out for others?
High Irony Award: On the website listing the press release where this group calls for an assault on Pete Stark for answering their question, for admitting membership in a group they disapprove of, they offer their “We Believe” statement, including this: “All freedoms, rights and liberties are granted by God not government. Each individual has these unalienable rights and it is unrelated to membership in any group.” Why, then, do they assault Stark for stating his religious beliefs, in response to their question?
Tip of the old scrub brush to P. Z. Myers, a staunch defender of real values in America.
Update: See later news, here. Stark’s constituents approve of his stance.