Pete Stark to speak at American Atheists meeting

Rep. Pete Stark is on the verge of leaving the House after 40 years, but that doesn’t mean he’s not in demand.

Stark, who had been Congress’ only avowed atheist, will be a featured speaker at the 2013 convention of American Atheists, the group announced today.

“Congressman Stark proved that the assertion that one needs to be religious to be elected is false – atheists CAN and DO get elected to Congress – we just need to do it more often,” American Atheists President David Silverman said in a news release.

Stark, D-Fremont, announced his atheism in 2007, and in early 2011 introduced a resolution designating February 12, 2011 as Darwin Day. H.Res. 81 stated, “Charles Darwin is a worthy symbol of scientific advancement and around which to build a global celebration of science and humanity.”

Pete Stark (photo by Aric Crabb) “Congressman Stark has never apologized for being nonreligious, and was re-elected again and again, as an atheist, based on the issues and his record,” American Atheists Managing Director Amanda Knief said in the news release. “His speech, which will focus on atheism and politics, will surely be an exciting and unique experience, well suited to our 50th Anniversary Convention.”

About 1,500 people are expected to attend the convention March 28-31 at the Hyatt Regency in Austin, Texas, the city in which Madalyn Murray O’Hair founded the organization in 1963.

Stark was unseated in this month’s election by fellow Democrat Eric Swalwell, a Dublin councilman and Alameda County prosecutor.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • GV Haste

    From the American Atheists web site “about”

    “Materialism declares that the cosmos is devoid of immanent conscious purpose; that it is governed by its own inherent, immutable, and impersonal laws; that there is no supernatural interference in human life; that humankind”

    Seems rather strident.
    I’ve got no problem with Atheists, but I always thought it was more like people who exercise and people who don’t.

    If you don’t like to exercise, go ahead. No need to gather to tell each other or anyone else you don’t like to exercise, just don’t do it.

    Yes, I know, they need to fend off the actions of organized religious forces, but I still think a convention is a bit weird.

    BTW, am I the only one who thinks their organizational symbol looks like they are promoting nuclear power in 1962? I think it used to be called the
    Atomic Atheists Association.

  • Elwood

    Are they going to sell tickets?

    This should be funnier than Saturday Night Live.

  • John W

    Last year’s convention was in Australia and was disrupted by Muslim protesters. It’s on YouTube. Thank goodness somebody was standing up for reason and God!

    I looked at the agenda – 4 days!

    The Exhibits must be interesting. Maybe some Madlyn Murray Ohare bobbleheads!

    They have a “Dinner with the Stars,” a “Birthday & Costume Dinner,” an Art Show, a Comedy Show and a “Godless Bitches Podcast.”

    They also have a scholarship awards dinner. I’m imagining somebody being awarded a scholarship and using the money to attend Notre Dame!

  • Elaine L.

    Pete Stark is religious, church meetings, conventions and all. Add to that his beliefs, faith in them and his brotherhood.

  • RR, Senile Columnist

    Pete rigorously believed in his career.