It's unlikely an avowed atheist will win a special election in Tennessee for a state senate seat, predicts a longtime Christian leader.
Voters in the Volunteer State will choose today between liberal Democrat Gayle Jordon and Shane Reeves, her Republican opponent.
The special election is for a District 14 seat vacated by Republican Sen. Jim Tracy, who was picked by President Donald Trump for a federal position.
Jordan, an attorney, challenged Tracy last year in an election in which the GOP incumbent won handily.
The Tennessean newspaper reports that Jordon, a former Southern Baptist, is downplaying her atheism while the GOP is pointing out her anti-religious views to Tennessee voters.
"It's incidental to who I am," Jordan told the newspaper which noted, however, that she serves as executive director of Recovering from Religion, a non-profit that helps people leave their faith.
She also writes about atheism on her blog "Happy, Healthy, Heathen" while living on her farm that she named "Freethought Farm."
A GOP campaign mailer quotes Jordan suggesting that "the sacrifice of Jesus is such a bad concept, and even if it were true, I wouldn't follow it."
On the campaign trail, meanwhile, Jordan told The Tennessean that she has the opportunity to tell voters what her "secular humanist" views mean to her.
"That I care about people," she said. "That I care about people's suffering."
Not only is Jordan an avowed atheist, the newspaper reported, but she is running in a "red" district that Trump overwhelmingly won in 2017.
"I don't think that Tennessee would be the place most likely to elect someone who is an avowed atheist to office," observes Richard Land, president of Southern Evangelical Seminary.
"I just think," he adds, "that's probably not a winning combo."
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