Democratic Congressman Comes Out As Non-Religious

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Published on Nov 11, 2017
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"For years, as he rose from California state government to Congress, Jared Huffman felt justified — even a bit smug, perhaps — when he’d decline to answer questionnaires about his religious beliefs.

He’d always put one form or another of unspecified, decline to state or “none of your business,” said the 53-year-old House lawmaker, who comes from a left-leaning district that runs from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Oregon border. That made him one of nine members in the 535-member Congress who opted this year to keep their spiritual profiles blank.

“I don’t believe in religious tests, and I don’t believe my religion is all that important to the people I represent, and I think there’s too much religion in politics. For those reasons I felt good about not even answering it,” he said during an interview in his office.

Then came Donald Trump and his self-described “Muslim ban.” And Alabama’s U.S. Senate Republican nominee and judge Roy Moore and his drive to return Christianity explicitly to U.S. law. And Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s campaign to shift more public money to religious schools.

To him, those are cynical expressions of faith.

“I’ve seen religion wielded in such negative ways around here, lately. Trump does it all the time, so implausibly.”

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