Pharyngula

Keep the godless out of office

Cecil Bothwell was elected to the city council of Asheville, NC. Cecil Bothwell is an atheist. Now some kooks want to deny Cecil Bothwell his seat on the council because the North Carolina constitution forbids atheists from taking public office.

Amazing. I know that several states have these laws on their books, but I thought they all avoided enforcing them, since they’re clearly unconstitutional. In this case, it’s one crazy right-winger, H.K. Edgerton, who wants to impose the law to selectively block someone he doesn’t seem to like. We know he’s crazy because he’s threatening the city and…well, see for yourself.

“If they go ahead, then the city of Asheville and the board of elections could be liable for a lawsuit,” said Edgerton, who is known for promoting “Southern heritage” by standing on streets decked out in a Confederate soldier’s uniform and holding a Confederate flag.

Oh. One of those guys.

Comments

  1. #1 Velox
    December 16, 2009

    I just wanted to point out that there is nothing wrong with the Confederate flag. Like it or not, it IS a part of history, and there is a culture and a heritage that goes along with that history. Yes, I know evil and backwards people try to use it to symbolize “white supremacy” and stuff like that, but does that take away from it’s original meaning, of a flag representing a coalition of states that wanted to succeed, peacefully if possible, since it was within their right to do so. Remember also their were black men that fought against Union soldiers.

    As an example, look at the swastika. I know a lot of people associate it with Nazis and Hitler, but originally it was a symbol of power for many different cultures, embedded deeply as a part of their heritage. Should they now deny their heritage because someone decided to used their symbol to represent their twisted, extremists views, or reclaim it as a symbol of good as it was originally intended to be? An uphill battle either way.

    That said, I’ve often known their were laws on the books that denied atheists a government seat, but I think this is the first I’ve heard of someone actually challenging it. It will be interesting to see the intolerant up in arms over this, but seeing as the law in unconstitutional and a precedent has been set, I don’t think there is much that they can do about this particular case. I do see them campaigning hard to prevent any other atheist or agnostic from being electing: “oh noes, don’t vote for him, he’s an ebil amoral atheist!!!! Nevermind all his qualifications or years of good public service!” The question is, how effective will this be? I have to believe that the public, at large, is a bunch of sheep and will buy into this crapola.

    On a sidenote, I’m for State’s rights, I do believe they are important and when the USA was founded a great deal of effort was put into protecting a State’s right to govern itself so the Federal government wouldn’t become all-powerful (it’s gotten too power anyways, but that’s another story). This particular case, however, is a question of basic human rights and tolerance that should apply to all people.

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