Article VI of the Constitution states that "No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States." My name is Wynne LeGrow. I am the Democratic nominee for US House of Representatives in Virginia's fourth congressional district. And I am a non-believer.
My father was a Protestant minister and my mother was a schoolteacher. I grew up in the church. I was taught that what was important was how we treat one another. I learned from my parents a strong sense of honesty and integrity. The Golden Rule is something I still try to live by. What I did not accept were the church's teachings concerning the supernatural.
I chose to practice medicine because I felt that helping others would give my life meaning and it did. I treated many very sick patients over the years. In times of crisis, none of them ever asked me about my religious beliefs.
Doubt and skepticism are part of human nature. Many people who consider themselves religious admit to having occasional doubts about their beliefs. The politically expedient solution to this problem would be to admit that we have had doubts but finally conclude that we believe. What if, however, after looking at the entire picture we are more comfortable with the doubts than the belief? If it is acceptable to have doubts, is it not then acceptable to be a nonbeliever?
Many of the founding fathers of this country came here for religious freedom, but they were escaping countries where rulers told them how to worship not countries that were ruled by nonbelievers. Although many of the founding fathers were Christians, others were skeptics and Deists. Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence, extolled "a wall of separation between church and state". James Madison, principal author of the Constitution, wrote, "Religion flourishes in greater purity without than with the aid of government."
My opponent is Congressman Randy Forbes. During his nine-year tenure in the House of Representatives, he has founded the Congressional Prayer Caucus, led a group of House and Senate members in a public prayer for the demise of the Health Care Reform, and introduced a Congressional Resolution to have "In God We Trust" engraved at the new Capitol Visitor Center. He regularly attempts to introduce religion into government. He not only believes that the United States is a Christian nation, but he believes that we should be a Christian republic.
I am running for Congress to encourage the growth of the job market and support quality public education in Southside Virginia. I am running for Congress because I am absolutely convinced that the burning of fossil fuels is contributing to global climate change and putting the planet at risk for our children and grandchildren. I am running for Congress because we can no longer allow Wall Street and Big Oil gamble away our money and ruin our ecosystem. I am running for Congress because I believe in effective government that protects individuals but does not over-regulate and stifle initiative. I am running for Congress because I believe freedom of religion is a principle which should unite all of us in tolerance. With this goal in mind, I ask for your support in helping me make my case to the voters of Virginia's fourth congressional district.