The Democratic candidate for the 5th Congressional District in Arizona brings something unique to his campaign. He is openly an atheist.  James Woods is running for the seat currently held by incumbent Matt Salmon.  If elected, Woods will be not only the first congressional representative to have campaigned as an atheist (there have been other atheists in Congress, but they kept quiet about it during their campaign), but will be the first blind person to serve in Congress in 100 years. 

In an interview with Mr. Woods, he states his blindness came about when he was stricken with MRCA, a staph infection that robbed him of his sight. And, what is interesting is that he has expressed his gratitude towards all who supported him during his bout with this insidious illness in a way that shows his moral base.

I wouldn’t be here today without so many people investing in me. Our government invested in keeping me alive through programs like Medicaid, Social Security Disability and Nutrition Assistance. My dad invested in me and became my caregiver. And someone I never met gave me a new chance at a healthy life through organ donation. After all of that generosity and support, it’s time for me to start giving back. I feel like I have a moral obligation to make sure that other people have access to programs like Nutrition Assistance when they need it. I want to make sure other people don’t end up being neglected in nursing homes with no one to advocate for them. I want to work hard toward ending poverty and ensuring everyone has equality of opportunity. 

As to why he's "out" about his atheism, he states in another interview

And it’s just an honesty thing with me. And I would agree with that person – it shouldn’t matter, a person’s faith or non-faith or what have you, as long as it doesn’t affect the way they legislate. However, as we know, especially in the more conservative religions, it absolutely does affect how they legislate, and they use that as a selling point to get elected, to people who believe as they do, people who want to deny science, minimize women’s role in society, reproductive rights issues, LGBT rights, what have you. And I am running as an open atheist as a push back against that. 

I just wish there were more like him.

His campaign website is here.

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Good luck to him. You cannot be elected if you do not run. You never know. Some uninformed voters might like James Woods, the actor, and vote for him unawares.

Outstanding and gutsy, especially in a state as red as Arizona.  I wish him a lotta luck!

How long until some fundamentalist Christian says the blindness is a punishment from God for being a nonbeliever?

One wishes him well, but his chances for election in a state like Arizona are not bright.

I realize this guy's chances of becoming a member of Congress, from Arizona are slim to none (and Slim left town). However, if we are going to have any chance of impacting social policy in the government, someone has to take the first step. I'm glad to see he has done that.

I only wish I could vote for him.

I'm glad he's running. There has to be a first. Maybe he can open the door for others.

Fantastic!  But I thought that Juan Mendez in the State House was also one. BTW does anyone out there know what percentage of "nones" or of "atheists" vote?  Not for whom they vote, but just go to the polls and cast any vote?  The "nones" voted over 70% for Obama thus equalling the lopsided vote cast by Fundamentalists for Romney.  But I am trying to find out what percentage of them actually do vote in any election.

I wonder if it is anything like the Danes or Swedish or Norwegians who have over 85% turnouts in elections.

 Please reply to my email.

Thanks.

I must say that I always have the fear that our atheist advances in becoming voting majorities will prompt the bad people of the GOP and Tea parties to try to disenfranchise the irreligious as they have African American males caught smoking marijauna. They will probably try to make the belief in God a prerequisite for voting before very long.

To prevent that from happening we should make sure that none of our friends ever vote for these criminals, ever.  We should all exhort our friends and acquaintences not to vote for a single member of either of these two parties.  They are a very bad lot and we should all work hard at preventing them from gaining majorities in any state or local office. 

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