The Friendly Atheist blog reports that Iowa State Senator Craig Johnson refused to let an atheist constituent give a secular invocation. According to emails from Senator Johnson, giving an atheist constituent the opportunity to speak would be betraying his religious beliefs and akin to sponsoring a bill “for abortion.” Reporting on the incident, Hemant Mehta writes:
“The implication here is that Johnson won’t recommend a Muslim or Jew to deliver the opening remarks, either. The only constituents he cares about are his Christian ones. There’s nothing “respectful” about that.
It’s not like Justin was asking him to renounce his faith or do something that would violate a biblical law. He contacted his state senator and asked for the opportunity to do what citizens of any faith should be allowed to do. Hell, he did it last year, so this should have been even less of an issue.”
As a lawmaker, Johnson shouldn’t be letting his personal religious beliefs interfere with his responsibilities. If your religious beliefs prevent you from respecting the nonreligious and treating all your constituents equally— you shouldn’t be a lawmaker.