(Audio) Congressman not sure if God exists, reactions to rare announcement; Humboldt’s last week of news

In the latest episode of Humboldt Last Week (8:14): The Congressman that represents us at the federal level made national headlines because he decided to publicly say he’s not sure if there’s a God. The Washington Post found experts on religious identity in Congress saying Jared Huffman is only the second member in contemporary records to go on record saying his ethical system is not based on God.

The 53-year old who grew up in a religious home and has repped the North Coast since 2013 says he is a Humanist; He thinks people have a responsibility to be good but he isn’t so sure about the supernatural stuff. “I’m not pushing my views on anyone and I’m not judging anyone else’s religious choice,” reads the start of his statement. “I value my working relationships and friendships with people of faith, the interfaith community, spiritual seekers and all sorts of secular, non-religious people. I think we should all work together to make the world a better place…”

In the podcast a local pastor and two local politicians share different perspectives. Matt Messner, a Senior Pastor at the Faith Center in Eureka, shares a diplomatic response. Humboldt County Supervisor Rex Bohn leans on the skeptical side. And Arcata City Council Member and Vice Mayor Sofia Pereira explains her support.

Also included are statistics on belief in God, stats on non-theist views in politics, local reactions on social media, and more.

The story begins at 8:14.

Do you think our politicians need to believe in God in order to be effective? Poll below.

Also covered

Those “killer” robbers in SWAT-style gear, potentially sick sea lions, NFL-bound HSU student Alex Cappa is smart, a defendant turns on another in the Manila murder case, statue perspective, fresh-cut karma for local thieves, and other top stories from last week.

Humboldt Last Week is a way to hear highlights from Humboldt’s last week a news. It’s available on iTunes, SoundCloud, top podcast platforms, and at kymkemp.com.

Jared Huffman, public domain photo







Do our politicians need to believe in God in order to be effective?





  • Even in a reasonably progressive district, that’s still a rare and bold move. I can only think of two other congress members who are/were pretty clearly not religious.

    In HumCo I expect reactions to this announcement are likely mixed as, judging by all the “thoughts and prayers” that get “sent” whenever there is tragic news, we have a lot of decidedly avid religious folks.

  • No wonder he’s been so productive, he hasn’t been wasting his Sundays on BS.


  • Nobody cares what your religion is or isn’t. They only care if you broke or kept your Oath to obey the Constitution which restricts the Government(s) and that you acknowledge that the Bill of Rights is the Sentinel for the people’s understanding what individual Rights are.
    Failed on both accounts.
    But let’s do the “religious” war thing, uhhuh.

    • Actually Shak, I would bet money that far more people in this country care about silly religious views than they know or care about anything written in our constitution. Since you appear so well versed in the subject, have you ever heard of the elastic clause? It was anticipated for and allowed by our founding fathers a flowing interpretation as the world around the constitution changes. We have made many many advancements from the time it was written so to not evolve the language along with scientific facts about the world as we learn them would be rather foolish.

      • FC, what you are parroting comes from the throne of those who are intent upon destroying the Constitution.
        Elastic is not an endless flowing substance. It is a container that provides a little bit of room for necessary bloat.
        The elastic clause refers to the necessary bloat for carrying out the defined and delegated duties. It provides a small area of expansion for the building of ports needed for the defined duty of commerce, post offices for the delegated duty of communication, forts and ammo dumps for the defined and delegated duties of security against foes, offices for the necessary paperwork bloat, etc.
        The Constitution is a contract, not a diary journal. The states created the Constitution, in order to form a government to oversee all foreign matters and the necessary bloats connected to those matters.
        The constitution is not a diary journal that can sway with the tide. It is a contract.
        The constitution relies on the moral goodness of all mankind, not on ever changing science and the manipulation thereof.

        • Man you need to calm down from the paranoia. If you honestly think that this man’s moral belief system makes him unfit for his job please provide some real life facts. This breaking of an oath thing is grasping at straws. If you think that is the most egregious attribute about any of our elected officials you really need to pull your head out of the sand. I think you are blinded by your political beliefs and can’t just judge situations independently and with a neutral unbiased point of view.

          • FC, you are saying that the breaking of an oath, of lying under oath, and deception the people for personal profit, is completely acceptable?

            It takes a moral people to uphold the Constitution & to hold their officials accountable.
            Morals- ”
            “a person’s standards of behavior or beliefs concerning what is and is not acceptable for them to do:
            “the corruption of public morals” · “they believe addicts have no morals and cannot be trusted”

            Addiction to power, greed, deception, hate, is addiction to emotional drugs.

            I’m not the one who’s paranoid here. I couldn’t care less if I tried, about his beliefs. What I do care about is integrity, honesty, and the multitude of principles that make up a good and moral man of any belief.

            Why do you defend deception and greed?

  • He’s an alien,here to save you from your false idol

  • We live in the most religiously FREE country on earth. The First Amendment protects everyone’s right to believe as they chose OR to not believe at all. Freedom of religion also includes freedom FROM religion. Eschewing religious dogma is as much a right as embracing it. When politicians are free to assert their true beliefs, as Huffman did, without fear of bigotry, prejudice and the lies spread about non believers, then this country will truly be free.

    It was only a short time ago historically speaking that religionists burned non believers at the stake or otherwise persecuted, tortured and killed them.

    Kudos to Senator Huffman for his honesty and courage. He has my vote.

    • Exactly. For a country founded on such an amazing and wonderful Constitution, it seems like many so called ‘patriots’ and ‘people of God’ have forgotten-or perhaps they just never learned- just what this country stands for, and WHY it was founded in the first place. Hint: NOT religion.
      If Huffman chooses to believe this way, why should you care whether or not he is part of one of your ‘magical beings in the sky’ beliefs? Are your beliefs that weak?
      The Senator has more guts in his pinkie than much of the rest of Washington DC combined.

    • Lost Croat Outburst

      Still happening every day. Myanmar BUDDHISTS (for Christ’s sake!?!) are expelling Muslims, Sunni Muslims routinely blow up Shia Muslims, Hindus vs. Muslims vs. Christians in India, check out our president and Charlottesvile, Christian zealot Judge Roy Moore doesn’t want Muslim Keith Ellison seated in Congress, on and on.

      God bless Jared Huffman. If we can’t break the stranglehold of religious extremism and fanaticism on our society, we’re doomed.

    • It means what it says, freedom of religion. The only “from religion” part is the part that restricts the governments from establishing any religion, including Scientology.
      1st amendment: Congress shall make NO law respecting an establishment of religion, OR prohibiting the free exercise thereof; OR abridging the freedom of speech, OR of the press; OR the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

      In short, it means, back off Congress.

  • Conservative Stupidity

    The Invisible Sky Being ain’t gonna like this.

  • Thank you HLW for highlighting this story in a balanced and thoughtful way. I think Huffman’s choice to share his non-secular views was commendable, especially when so many people are quick to criticize others for not seeing the world as they do.

  • I commend him. Even better if he had said religion is a bunch of primitive superstition, but, OK.

  • Did he “say publicly that he’s not sure if there’s a God” as your article implies or did he just say and emphasize he’s a humanist. If he did say the first, I’m sure the emphasis does not lie there. As with many of us a religion is not what gives us our moral imperative. We can be morally aware and care about humans and the environment by being…human!

  • Not even religious but I liked the Pastors comments. Love it when people take the high road

  • Lostcoast and found

    Like a tree with many branches God is one . I thank God (this 🌲)
    that Jarred Huffman is a humanitarian because Trump is humanitarian crisis so Mr. Huffman please use this wise knowledge to help save gods people and God bless you.🇺🇸⛪️🔔👩‍🌾👨🏻‍🌾👩🏿‍🌾👨🏽‍🌾🙏🙏🏾🙏🏿✌️✌🏾✌🏿😇

  • Thank you Congressman Huffman for saying your truth. I’m grateful you tell the truth and don’t lie like most do. I dont think any less of you and I am still glad I voted for you.

  • Sofia Pereira is awesome!

  • Austin Pederson, who ran for President and is now running for senate, is an agnostic. He’s up front about it. His personal gain is integrity. He is principled. He is not deceptive about this particular issue.
    There is no litmus test. The Founding Fathers cringed at the thought. It is not “religion” they seek to uphold, it is principles they value.
    Principles do not tread on others. Principles do not create an us against them war.
    Principles do not use deception for personal gain.

  • Even MOTHER THERESA- who was Sainted in the end and whose faith and charity are well documented and acknowledged – had moments of doubt .

    It is important to note that our God connection is a mystery. And it is fluid and evolving over the course of our lives.. I find it comforting to know that a soul as devoted as she was to her faith still faultered and suffered faithlessness…


  • Pingback: Pastor Matt Messner weighs in on religion in politics – Faith Center Foursquare Church

  • Anyone who understand the historical context of humanism should know that it inherited values and displaced the central idea of god as the basis of those values. Deconstructionist philosophy however displaced humanism and reveals that values are free floating and grounded in nothing but evolutionary wiring. That means that murder may be illegal but whether or not it is right or wrong doesn’t matter. In other words, a humanist politician has no rational basis for equality and social justice. He can say let’s do what we feel is right. Compare that to a religious leader such as mlk JR. Who based the idea of equality rationally in that we are “created” equal. Have some respect for religion and philosophy. Great atheist thinkers such as Nietzsche revealed the contradictions of humanism.

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