You can be gay, black or even a woman, but America will not tolerate a president who has no religion. Anne Davies writes.
Pete Stark found himself in a unique and slightly uncomfortable position earlier this year. The longtime Democrat congressman for the Oakland district near San Francisco had responded to a survey from the Secular Coalition for America which offered a $1000 prize to the person who could identify the "highest-level atheist, agnostic, humanist or any other kind of 'nontheist' currently holding elected public office in the United States".
To his surprise, that was him. Stark was the only one of 535 federal politicians prepared to admit he had no religion. For a few brief weeks he was the poster-boy for the humanists in a nation where, according to Pew Foundation research, eight out of 10 people say they have "no doubt God exists" and that "prayer is an important part of their daily lives".