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Thu Aug 6, 2020, 06:12 AM

Arizona State Sen. Juan Mendez, an Atheist, Wins His Democratic Primary


Arizona State Sen. Juan Mendez, an Atheist, Wins His Democratic Primary
By Hemant Mehta, August 5, 2020

Arizona State Sen. Juan Mendez, one of only a handful of openly atheist state senators in the country, has comfortably won his (competitive) primary against a more moderate Democrat.

Given the “bright blue” nature of his district, there’s reason to be optimistic about November. If he wins, it would be his third term as state senator, following two terms as a state representative.

Besides being a progressive legislator, Mendez is known to atheists for his history of delivering invocations in the legislature… or at least trying to. In 2013 he delivered one in the State House, but the following day, a Christian colleague delivered a second religious invocation to make up for his godless one. When he tried to give another invocation in 2016, the GOP majority leader blocked him from doing so on the grounds that all invocations had to be made to a “higher power.” Days later, when Mendez gave his invocation anyway, a minister was on standby to deliver a “real” one.

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