Talk:Pete Stark

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on Pete's atheism[edit]

All the MAINSTREAM media reported the declared "atheism" of Pete Stark. No one talked about non-theism or spiritualism or agnosticism or whatever you're trying to put.

  • SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLES: Voters unfazed by Stark's atheism
  • ABC news:: Rep. Stark Applauded for Atheist Outlook
  • CBS:Politician Applauded For Revealing Atheist Beliefs
  • New York Sun:California Lawmaker Becomes Highest-Ranking Official To Say He's a Nonbeliever

Non-theism is a fuzzy word that describes religions or spiritual beliefs and philosophies that don't embrace the concept of a supernatural deity as monotheist and polytheist religions. This can include buddhism, confucianism, pantheism, deism, etc.....

So even if you think "atheist" is a dirty word, please be objective and do not confuse people with foggy words such as "non-theist". Vincent Shooter

  • We should base our wording on his wording, not on a 3rd party interpretation of his wording. If the media had more information on which to base their wording, then I'd listen, but not otherwise. Headlines are intented to draw readership, not be accurate. — BRIAN0918 • 2007-03-26 13:08Z
I agree with Brian. Also, it isn't that atheist is a "dirty word." Though it may have negative connotations to some, the reason we're not using the word is that he doesn't identify as one (although, technically, he is an atheist because he lacks belief in the existence of any gods). --Alexc3 (talk) 03:24, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
Me too. That said, though, we can have information in the article about the public reaction to his position that includes statements like "considered the first atheist representative by blah" etc. As long as we make clear that he didn't call himself that. Bryan Derksen 20:11, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
That's a very good point, but I also think it might be making too much of a big deal out of it. Yes, he is the first openly nontheistic congressperson, but I think it's more important that the page has information about him than the fact that he doesn't hold a certain belief. --Alexc3 (talk) 05:03, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
I agree, which is why I haven't done any further editing - I think the article's coverage is just fine as is. However, it may become a bigger issue in the future depending on how press coverage continues to treat this. Figured I'd put in my two cents in case that eventuality developed. Bryan Derksen 05:42, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
That's what I was thinking too. We'll just have to wait and see, but the article is fine the way it is currently. If his nontheism becomes a bigger issue, it might even get its own section. --Alexc3 (talk) 23:06, 1 April 2007 (UTC)

Non-theist, atheist. Exactly the same thing. Pete Stark should be proud of his atheism and we should all admire him for his bravery. So why can't the article mention that he is an atheist? The only reason 'atheist' has a 'negative connotation' in the US is because non-religious people are demonised. And this is also the reason American politicians had to lie about their lack of belief.-- 14:57, 5 July 2007 (UTC)

I suspect Bias here[edit]

"Stark is a peace advocate. He also supports increasing the availability of health care, revitalizing the economy, and protecting the environment." This reads like a campaign pamphlet. Hell, who would not support those things? I've heard these fluffy words from almost every politician. Ronn

I agree, that should be sourced. I think you should feel free to remove it if you want to. --Alexc3 (talk) 02:25, 27 April 2007 (UTC)
I added some criticism because he has faced criticism and similar sections are in articles of Congressman this prominent. I tried to put in defenses too though.--T. Anthony 04:14, 15 July 2007 (UTC)

Devil's Advocate (I hope)[edit]

I think the situation detailed here merits inclusion on notabillity grounds (it does have multiple sources). Warning the webpage has popups. Lots42 13:27, 8 November 2007 (UTC)

Security Pacific National Bank[edit]

  • In 1963, Stark founded Security National Bank, a small bank in Walnut Creek. Within 10 years it grew to a $100 million company with branches across the East Bay.

- Security Pacific National Bank??

- So, have we had only one atheist congressperson & only one socialist senator??

  • Stark acknowledged his nontheism in response to an SCA questionnaire sent to public officials in January 2007. In a statement, Stark said he is a "Unitarian who does not believe in a supreme being. I look forward to working with the Secular Coalition to stop the promotion of narrow religious beliefs in science, marriage contracts, the military and the provision of social service."
  • On September 20, 2007, Stark reaffirmed his nontheism by making a public announcement in front of the Humanist Chaplaincy at Harvard, the Harvard Law School Heathen Society, and various other atheist, agnostic, secular, humanist, and nonreligious groups.

- Does that mean several successive speeches on that individual day?? Or, throughout September??

- Is there a list of Unitarian-Universalist congresspersons, including senators??

Thank You,

hopiakuta 08:55, 30 November 2007 (UTC)

I think so, yes, I don't know and I don't think so.--EchetusXe (talk) 01:50, 18 September 2008 (UTC)

Grammatical error in quote[edit]

The article contains the quote:

" For Miller being in Washington - to long, elected in 1944."

There is no attribution for this quote. The quoted text appears to be grammatically incorrect. It may be "...too long..." not " long...". Can anyone either cite the source for this quote as it stands or offer any reason why "to" should not be changed to "too"? 20:24, 5 January 2009 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by History amateur (talkcontribs)

Ishan Shah[edit]

I removed a reference to a former Stark intern who is considering a political bid, since it did not seem particularly relevant to this article. Thoughts? --TeaDrinker (talk) 00:47, 28 June 2009 (UTC)

I feel your actions were completely appropriate; I was considering doing it myself.--Erp (talk) 15:43, 28 June 2009 (UTC)


"In 1995, during a private meeting with Congresswoman Nancy Johnson of Connecticut, he called Johnson a "whore for the insurance industry" and suggested that her knowledge of health care came solely from "pillow talk" with her husband, a physician. His press secretary, Caleb Marshall, defended him in saying, "He didn't call her a 'whore,' he called her a 'whore of the insurance industry.'""

The Controversial Statements section generally is right-wing POV, but the above is particularly bad. First of all, the "pillow talk" bit is nowhere in the source provided. Otherwise, our editor copied said source--an anti-Stark opinion piece in the Washington Post--word for word without indicating direct quotation. What drew my suspicion was the seemingly idiotic line attributed to Marshall, which incidentally would be an entirely appropriate response to an allegation that Stark had called Johnson a plain "whore". The same break in quotation is in the Post article, suggesting that Marshall was indeed faced with such a misquote and was simply explaining that "whore" was used in the figurative, nonsexual, gender-unspecific sense. The natural assumption is that the other side of Marshall's dialogue is using the same chunk of speech the Post or Wikipedia audience is. If instead simply "whore" was used, it should be noted. Otherwise, Marshall appears to be making a well--at--least--he--didn't--kill--anybody argument. Basically, the Marshall bit should either be deleted or change its focus to the media that would condense "whore of the [blank] industry", a common expression, to "whore". Tomblikebomb (talk) 00:46, 20 July 2009 (UTC)

Idiocy? From this guy's office? NEVER!!!!!!!!!!!! (talk) 15:02, 3 September 2009 (UTC)

"Jew Colleagues" Mis-quote[edit]

The Wiki entry stated that he blamed "Jew colleagues" for the first Gulf War, although when I checked the Washington Post source article, the quote read "Jewish colleagues". I made the correction, but the "Jew" quote had already been widely quoted. I suspect this was the work of a Hasbara creep. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:14, 30 June 2010 (UTC) There was a small misquote from "Jewish" to "Jew," which has the same meaning, and despite the fact that either way this reflects on his anti-Semitism, you blame this typo on "a Hasbara creep"? Wow, that really shows your own bias and anti-Semitism.--Bobjohnson111980 (talk) 22:07, 13 July 2014 (UTC)

Believes the Federal Government has unlimited powers[edit]

In the linked video of a town-hall meeting, when asked about the constitutionality of "Obamacare", Pete states ‘The Federal Government Can Do Most Anything in This Country’. Such disregard for the rule of law via our Constitution is a travesty. At the end of the segment, he smugly replies to the lady questioning him, "I'm so glad you are here to save it (The U.S.A.), makes me feel (laughing) very comfortable". Victoriamaxwell (talk) 16:08, 2 August 2010 (UTC)

This is totally irrelevant. The individual mandate's constitutionality will be decided by the Supreme Court, not members of Congress. So far, for instance in the Massachusetts health care reform signed into law by Governor Mitt Romney, it has not been prohibited. As for supposedly claiming the government has unlimited powers, he obviously did not mean that literally. If it did, Congress wouldn't have had to vote on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in order to implement its provisions. --Jatkins (talk - contribs) 14:14, 18 September 2010 (UTC)


The infobox identifies Stark's religion as Unitarian, but the article includes detailed references to his atheism, so shouldn't the infobox say "none" for religion?-- (talk) 17:18, 27 November 2010 (UTC)

Actually it identifies him as a Unitarian Universalist. It is very common and totally acceptable to be a Unitarian Universalist (i.e., a paid up member of an UU church) and be an atheist. 'none' would indicate he is not affiliated with any religion (btw there are plenty of people not affiliated with any religion yet are still theists). --Erp (talk) 04:09, 28 November 2010 (UTC)
He is a member of the UU, he is an atheist though, so he by definition has no religion. We don't categorize atheist on beliefs whether it be Materialism/Naturism/Humanism in their religion tag. the articles used for proof of his religious affilation say he is an atheist.IRWolfie- (talk) 13:47, 6 January 2011 (UTC)
It depends on one's definition of religion. Articles also state he is a Unitarian Universalist which is a recognized religion for tax and other purposes. It along with some varieties of Buddhism and Judaism do not require a belief in god. As a UU he has been a member of the board for one of their theological schools (Starr King) so it is not just something to hide that he is atheistic. --Erp (talk) 06:36, 7 January 2011 (UTC)
I'm confused: How can someone be an atheist and a member of a religion? surely that would make his philosophy not religion to be UU? IRWolfie- (talk) 20:38, 8 January 2011 (UTC)
As I said it depends on the definition of religion but note that atheist is not the same as areligious. In the US legally UU is a religion and one that doesn't care whether you believe in one god, zero gods, or a multitude of gods (a very hefty chunk of UUs are of the zero god persuasion). A few years back the Texas Comptroller claimed a similar group, Ethical Culture, was not a a religion for tax purposes since they did not require a belief in a supreme being, she lost (see, an UU group had also been denied tax status as a church (see though that was reversed without going to court. Besides UU atheists I also know of Quaker atheists in good standing with their religion. --Erp (talk) 07:24, 9 January 2011 (UTC)
Unitarian Universalism is a perfectly acceptable religion, but it's his beliefs that would be considered atheism. I think UU should be his listed religion, or at least listed along with his atheism. Esprix (talk) 20:48, 9 January 2012 (UTC)
You have no reason to be confused. A UU can still be an Unitarian Universalist.Khimaris (talk) 19:13, 17 August 2012 (UTC)
He has said he is an Atheist, so that is what we should list as his religion, not try to interperate it as "secular unitarian universalism", both can be listed. Grammarxxx (talk) 52:13, 17 August 2012 (UTC)
His religious denomination is UU and he has been quite active within the church (e.g., serving on the board of a UU divinity school). Within the UU community he is one of the many, many atheists. In fact in the very survey he filled out saying he didn't believe in god he also listed his religion as Unitarian. I don't think it can be clearer.--Erp (talk) 07:07, 18 August 2012 (UTC)
Please sort it out before adding anything again at the religion parameter in the infobox. One of the sources stated that he is Unitarian, the other sources (of questionable reliability) say Atheist. If he's an atheist, the religion parameter is not to be used, per consensus established at an RfC. In that case, the fact and the sources may be added in the text, not in the infobox, the sources can be retrieved (provided they are RS acceptable in BLPs) from the edit history. If he's a Unitarian, then add again, with sources that support the fact. Either way, please establish consensus first, and only then proceed to changing the article again. Kraxler (talk) 15:49, 12 August 2015 (UTC)