Rep. Jared Huffman, D-Calif., made his views on the nonexistence of God extremely clear at the Freedom from Religion Foundation’s recently concluded annual convention in San Antonio.
In his taped remarks welcoming convention-goers, he stated, “I feel like I have sort of become the surrogate representative for countless folks across the United States that identify as nonreligious. As many of you know, I am the token humanist in Congress. A few others are coy about how they describe their religious views but I’ve come right out and said it: I’m a humanist and I don’t believe in God.”
Huffman has been a stalwart defender of secularism in Congress, as a founding member and co-chair of the Congressional Freethought Caucus. Its mission statement is “to promote public policy formed on the basis of reason, science, and moral values; to protect the secular character of our government by adhering to the strict constitutional principle of the separation of church and state; to oppose discrimination against atheists, agnostics, humanists, seekers, religious and nonreligious persons, and to champion the value of freedom of thought and conscience worldwide; and to provide a forum for members of Congress to discuss their moral frameworks, ethical values, and personal religious journeys.”
The caucus currently has 17 members, more than quadruple its size since its establishment four years ago.
Huffman’s work in Congress has often reflected his nonbelief worldview. He introduced earlier this year the “Health Share Transparency Act” to rein in health care ministries, dubious entities that don’t cover routine care or medications, can drop coverage or kick someone out for almost any reason (including a pre-existing condition), have a lifetime cap on benefits, aren’t regulated, don’t have to possess any cash reserves, and can hide information about coverage, payouts, terms and conditions. Reps. Huffman and Suzan DelBene, D-Wa., also authored a letter some months ago (signed by over three dozen members of Congress) to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and the IRS commissioner asking how right-wing Christian organizations like the Family Research Council have been able to change their tax status to an “Association of Churches” to avoid public accountability and scrutiny. Huffman justifiably cited both of these accomplishments during his FFRF convention speech.
Huffman has been a good friend of FFRF and has been on its TV show a number of times. FFRF is flattered that the congressman feels so comfortable with the state/church watchdog so as to make a major disclosure about his disbelief at its convention.
“Rep. Huffman has always been a leader with tremendous integrity who is honest about who he is and what he stands for,” says Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-founder and co-president of FFRF. “In his remarks to the FFRF convention, he was abundantly clear: He doesn’t believe in God.”
Huffman received FFRF’s Emperor Has No Clothes Award in 2018 for “telling it like it is about religion.” Gaylor is confident that Huffman’s statement is the start of something bigger.
“As Rep. Huffman alluded to in his remarks, there are more members of Congress who hold the same view as tens of millions of Americans about the nonexistence of God,” she says. “We have no doubt that others will be following in his footsteps in the near future.”
The first member of Congress to openly identify as a nonbeliever was Rep. Pete Stark, also representing a liberal area of California, who, back in 2010, received FFRF’s Emperor Has No Clothes Award for publicly making known his dissent from religion. Stark retired from Congress in 2013 and died in 2020 at age 88.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a national nonprofit organization with a current membership of more than 38,000 members. Our purposes are to protect the constitutional principle of separation between state and church, and to educate the public on matters relating to nontheism.