James Woods is the first openly atheist candidate to campaign for congress. After becoming blind at 26, he is driven by his passion for equality and reason.
The United States of America was founded without an official religion at its core, but almost all of its laws and legislation, especially its oaths of office for roles throughout government, contain highly religious language. Similarly, every one of its presidents has identified as Christian. It is unsurprising then that there are absolutely no confirmed atheist members of Congress – but all of that may be about to change. James Woods is running as a Democrat in Arizona, an area typically controlled by Republicans, and he is openly an atheist.
It is strange to consider that almost twenty percent of the American population would self-define as someone without any religious faith whatsoever, but there has yet to be a candidate who has openly stated that they are an atheist while campaigning for Congress. Of course, there may be some politicians who keep their religious beliefs – or lack of them – a secret. Many believe that being openly gay is easier than being openly atheist for a politician. Barney Frank came out about his sexuality in 1987 while still in office but waited until 2013 (after he left office) to announce his atheism.
James Woods, on the other hand, is perfectly open about his atheism. He has become a figurehead for humanists and atheists that would like to see a turnaround on certain religious and scientific policies, like introducing creationism into science classrooms. James has also gained a fair bit of attention from sending condoms to the Pro-Life Alliance with “Prevent Abortion” stamped on them. But James Woods – who is also legally blind – really believes that he can make a difference for the people that he would represent in Congress, and is determined that his atheism will not stop him.
James Woods hopes to represent the politically marginalized members of society he is a part of, notably lower-income families, the disabled, and atheists.