This is my built in excuse if I’m ever asked to run for office.
Apparently, it is easier to be a gay member of Congress than an atheist one, since Barney Frank announced he was gay in 1987 but didn’t announce he was an atheist until after leaving office in 2013. A handful of current members of Congress state that their religious affiliation is “unspecified,” but none has stated publicly that he or she doesn’t believe in God.
Their reticence is pure political pragmatism. The reluctance of Americans to vote for atheists is well documented. In fact, a hypothetical “well-qualified” atheist presidential candidate polls at 54%, lower than any other category — below Muslims, gays/lesbians, Mormons, Jews, Hispanics, Catholics, women, or African-Americans.
That list stopped too soon. We also rank below adulterers. The only category we beat out is someone who’s never held office. But since atheists could never get elected to anything in order to get that first win, we automatically fall into both least likely categories!