North Coast Congressman Jared Huffman is again making waves as Congress’ only proclaimed “humanist.”
During an interview on the Freedom from Religion Foundation’s Freethought Mattersprogram, Huffman, a lawyer by trade, said he believes requiring Congressional witnesses to pledge an oath to God is unconstitutional.
“It’s unconstitutional to require a witness in congressional testimony to affirm an oath to a deity they may not even believe in or to affirm an oath to a singular deity when you might be a polytheistic Hindu, for example,” Huffman said. “It’s just preposterous.”
Huffman, you might recall, became the focus of a 2017 Washington Poststory when he told the paper he had become alarmed with the appearance of religion in policy-making, which pushed him to announce — after years of being somewhat cagey about his religious beliefs — that he identifies as a “non-religious humanist.” The Post described humanism as “a loose philosophy based on the idea that humans should work to improve society and live ethically, guided by reason, not necessarily by anything supernatural.”
The Post story went on to cite experts on religious identity in Congress who believe Huffman is only the second member of Congress ever on record describing his or her “ethical system as not being God-based.” For the record, Huffman told the paper he is not the only non-believer in Congress, saying there are “closet humanists, agnostics and atheists” among his colleagues.
Speaking to Freethought Matters this week, Huffman said congressional committees have a “sporadic standard” for including God in their oaths. He said altering the oath or making it voluntary has been proposed in the House but was shot down.
“Liz Cheney (R-Wyoming) just went ballistic,” Huffman said of the House Republican Conference Chair. “She smelled blood in the water, went on Fox News and started ranting about how Democrats were dropping God from the Congress.”
Fox News caught up with a spokesperson for Cheney, who reportedly shot back that the member of Congress “will always defend God. Period. If that bothers Rep. Huffman, we’ll be praying for him.”
So Huffman’s got that going for him.
See Huffman's Freethought Matters interview below: