When the 113th Congress is sworn in today, its new members will include the first Hindu member of Congress and the first Buddhist to serve as senator. Also for the first time, Congress will welcome a member who describes her religion as “none.”
Democratic Arizona Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, who was raised a Mormon, is religiously unaffiliated but does not describe herself as an atheist. Her campaign was unavailable for comment to Whispers due to the swearing in, but spokesman Justin Unga told the Religion News Service in November that Sinema favors a “secular approach.” He told the New York Times the same month that Sinema “believes the terms ‘nontheist,’ ‘atheist’ or ‘nonbeliever’ are not befitting of her life’s work or personal character.” (source)
Now that is a very odd answer by her spokesman. Not fitting of a life’s work or personal character? What in the world does that have to do with anything? How about fitting of belief? Although the term “believer” seems to usually only get applied to theists, really atheism, theism, and agnosticism is a form of belief – an act of the will based on your knowledge and conclusions.
Atheism, agnosticism, and theism seem to me to be the acceptable choices that pretty much cover the issue of God’s existence. Unless I am missing something here you don’t get to vote “None of the above” and agnosticism covers a lot of the muddle in between. When she votes does she get to choose, yes, no, and present? Perhaps since she also says she is bisexual maybe she is just covering all the bases – male, female, theism, agnosticism, and theism.
On the other hand I can appreciate a politician caller themselves a “None” to some extent. Too many describe their religion as being something that is not apparent in their actions. I would suspect many more to be in the “None” category or honestly in the atheist/agnostic category. She does replace the only admitted atheist in Congress – Pete Stark.