Initially after writing my book Doubt, I avoided the atheist label, saying only that I did not believe in God. After some reflection, I realized I needed to defend what I truly believe. I now call myself an “atheist,” and proudly. That choice has cost a number of brave people dearly, whether in readers or elections or friends, and I think it is both an honest step and a courageous one for those in public life. I hope the atheists now in Congress will take that step themselves—and this time, not wait until they’re safely out of office.
From this side of the Great Atheist Schism, it’s funny how outdated this concern sounds now. All I care about is that politicians are secular, which of course has nothing to do with whatever they privately believe.