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Reality is preferable to ‘foolish’ religion, says NH Republican

Reality is preferable to ‘foolish’ religion, says NH Republican

Responding to an article lamenting the rise of secularism in New Hampshire,  State Representative Brandon Phinney, above, emphasised the positive aspects of the trend and said it was ‘rather foolish to hold onto archaic beliefs that deny reality’.

Phinney, according to this report,  is the highest-ranking known openly atheist Republican politician in the country.

The article, published earlier this month by Fosters.com, quoted Father Gary Belliveau, who leads a parish in Portsmouth, NH, as saying:

What I think we’re facing today with secularism is basically, there’s been the shift from a reliance upon God and a deeper appreciation for the things beyond what we can see and figure out, to the reliance on self.

Phinney pointed out that New Hampshire has a history of higher secular demographics than other parts of the country and said:

I fail to see the problem with this cultural shift. In an age of information, scientific progress and exploration and the understanding of the workings of our world, it is difficult and to be frank, rather foolish, to hold onto archaic beliefs that deny reality.

He added:

In these modern times of religious extremism, I do not see the value of belief systems that consistently devalue others by telling them they’re bad people for not believing the same things or having some sort of moral superiority. Also the amount of hatred from these groups that manifest into violence turns people away.

People are rejecting religion because it just does not coalesce with our modern times.

The reliance of self is something to be celebrated. By being able to rely on ourselves instead of unseen forces that cannot be proven to exist, we encourage personal responsibility, personal freedom and autonomy with others. Love, morality, justice, etc. are not strictly religious doctrines, but originate in our human nature to do good for ourselves and for others …

Religion has no place in governance and should be kept separate as we are not a theocracy. Our federal and state Constitutions protect religious freedom but we should respect the freedom from religion as well. We are no more a Christian nation than we are a Muslim country or a Jewish country or an atheist country. There is plenty of proof in history, such as the Treaty of Tripoli, that highlights the fact the United States of America was not founded on the Christian religion.

We should celebrate our independence, our uniqueness and our resolve to survive and thrive. Religion is important to some but it is not for everyone. True diversity is acceptance of our differences, not drawing the lines in the sand between us.

Phinney is open about his atheism, and said his legislative colleagues are aware of his beliefs. The State Rep, who was elected last year, doesn’t participate in religious invocations in the New Hampshire House. NH’s Democratic State Rep Tim Smith, below, is also an atheist.

“I have had many a discussion and debate with dozens of people on atheism and politics,” Phinney told The Friendly Atheist.

Although fearful I am of this kind of thing affecting my political office, I will always stand firm in my beliefs (or unbelief).

New Hampshire ranked in the top 10 least religious states in the country, according to a recent Gallup poll. Mississippi was the most religious state.

New Hampshire has a Republican governor and both chambers of the state legislature are controlled by Republicans.

11 responses to “Reality is preferable to ‘foolish’ religion, says NH Republican”

  1. AgentCormac says:

    Very well put, Mr Phinney.

  2. Newspaniard says:

    At last, politicians who see and talk sense. Of course they both are on some fundie death list, but then again, aren’t we all? Now, if we could only persuade our PM that her clinging to her particular deity is stupid then, maybe, we would be better led.

  3. L.Long says:

    My answer to “loosing reliance on gawd…” show me anything gawd has done? or that we can rely on?!?!?!
    Now there are thousands of stuff science and reliance on self that has accomplished a lot..want a list google on the iphone which gives 3 right there!!!

  4. Broga says:

    The admirable Brandon Phinney demonstrates that “we have nothing to fear but fear itself.” I allow for violent, religious nutters wanting vengeance but Brandon wasn’t smote by a divine bolt for expressing his unbelief. Perhaps his comments will persuade others to start thinking.

  5. tonye says:

    A non religious, sensible talking Republican politician?

    Sadly, he won’t last.

  6. 1859 says:

    What a breath of fresh common sense! And in a Republican politician! Well said Mr. Phinney.
    However, it is telling that this is happening in the US. In many European countries such a statement, I feel, wouldn’t raise a single eyebrow or hackle on a dog.

  7. barriejohn says:

    Broga: Yes, but one day he will have to stand before God…..

  8. StephenJP says:

    Good luck to both Mr Phinney and Mr Smith.

    I see that the eccentrically named Father Belliveau thinks people are relying on “self” instead of on God. This is a typical trope of the seriously goddy, who seem incapable of understanding the wholly natural and human processes of empathy, social responsibility and mutual understanding. To many of them, if you don’t rely absolutely on God you’re on your own. What a terrifying and inhuman vision of the world

  9. Laura Roberts says:

    As paradoxical as the notion of an atheist Republican seems, I suspect there are many cynical Republicans who exploit religion as the effective tool it is for manipulating constituents. It’s nice to find one, at least, who is openly atheist. It’s easier to engage in reasonable policy debates once religion is taken out of the mix. I would be curious to hear his take on the Trump administration’s tight embrace of religious extremism.

  10. barriejohn says:

    Stephen JP: Spot on. I heard that over and over again. “To live a successful life, man must rely on God. Christians must die to self.” Bollocks!

    Laura Roberts: Voters are so gullible. Trump is saying again today (as he did when campaigning) that America must expand its nuclear capability, to ensure that it is “top of the pack”. The impression given is that whoever has the most nuclear weapons will win any forthcoming conflict, whereas we all know that it’s not as simple as that. There are already enough nuclear weapons in existence to wipe out all life on earth at a stroke, and numbers isn’t everything anyway. Interesting article here, but why let the facts get in the way of rhetoric?

    http://uk.businessinsider.com/us-vs-russia-nuclear-weapons-2016-9?r=US&IR=T

    “[The US] can’t do things the Russians did because we’re not going to put missiles on a crappy truck.”

  11. barriejohn says:

    PS We’re all right in the old UK I see. BBC News headline:

    Wanted: Red squirrel volunteer army

    Well, it made me laugh.

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