After spending much of his political career downplaying the importance of his personal religious beliefs, North Coast Congressman Jared Huffman has decided to make plain his thoughts on spirituality.
“I’m a non-religious Humanist, which will come as no surprise to those who know me,” Huffman — Humboldt’s human in Washington since 2013 — wrote in a Facebook post today.
The statement comes in conjunction with an interview, published today, Huffman gave to the Washington Post discussing his views on whether God exists or nah — Huffman leans no, but says he’s open to changing his mind should new information come to light. The timing of his confession was influenced, in no small part, by what Huffman sees as the cynical use of Christianity in our national politics, especially its often awkward deployment by the current President.
“I’ve seen religion wielded in such negative ways around here, lately,” said Huffman, who grew up in a family that practiced a form of Mormonism. “Trump does it all the time, so implausibly.”
There are a handful of members of congress who’ve declined to declare allegiance to a faith tradition, according to The Post, but none have chosen the same label as Huffman. From the his WaPo interview:
Huffman is believed to be the first to call himself a “humanist,” saying the tag “atheist” offers a level of certainty he doesn’t feel — and perhaps arrogance.
“I’m not hostile to religion, and I’m not judging other people’s religious views,” he said. He also thinks that in 2017, people like himself should be able to be open about their basic faith perspective.
Historically Huffman has not wholly hidden his heathenism. In an appearance on The Colbert Report in 2014 Stephen Colbert attempted to nail the politician on his absence of belief. While Huffman was slightly evasive, he did offer up that he was “perhaps” agnostic. Remind yourself of fun, simpler political times in the clip below.
The Post’s article ends with Huffman hinting that his non-God fearing tendencies may not be as rare in Washington as many might think.
“I think in this day and age, it needs to be okay for there to be a member of Congress with my particular religious views, and I will tell you there are many who would agree with me — this place is full of humanists, agnostics and folks with nonreligious views of various types who are driven to public works for reasons that have nothing to do with religion.”
Read the Post’s piece here and/or read Huffman’s statement below.