Dole, Hagan and Halloween

So North Carolina Democratic hopeful Kay Hagan is suing Elizabeth Dole over a TV ad in the race for US Senate. I really have mixed feelings about this story. The implication is that Hagan is an atheist (or at the very least is strongly associated with atheists) and that's patently untrue as she is an elder in her Presbyterian church. But, Hagan's suit declares that "the advertisement ... injures (Hagan's) good name and reputation in the community". The Dole camp counters that this information is something that Hagan is trying to keep quiet.

See? You don't even have to be an atheist to be evil because simply being associated with atheists will injure your good name and reputation. And the discussions that I have seen on the TV news shows only add insult to injury. They argue about whether or not the ad is accurate or "smart" or whether Hagan should denounce the endorsement. It seems to have escaped every talking head that the Constitution declares that there will be no religious tests for office.

Atheism is the last frontier of open, community accepted prejudice in this county. You can turn people against someone by simply declaring "That person is an atheist!" Yet, if you tried that with virtually any other descriptor, such as "That person is a Jew!" or "That person is a woman!" or "That person is Hispanic!", any half-educated, half-enlightened citizen would wrinkle their nose, turn their head away in disgust, and rightly label you a racist or worse. But atheism? Nope. That's fair game in America, even in 2008. You can have your hate and wear it too.

So, I was thinking about what to put on the lawn to really scare the neighbors for Halloween tonight. I think I'm going to put up a big sign that says "An atheist lives here."

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Elizabeth Dole is continuing her campaign in North Carolina of smearing her opponent, Kay Hagan, for simply associating with atheists. We atheists are the "most vile, radical liberals in America," out to wage war on Christmas and stock boy scout troops with homosexuals, and we actively support…
I've written a couple of posts decrying the tactics of Elizabeth Dole — who uses the act of talking to atheists as a smear — and favoring her opponent, Kay Hagan. It seems Ms. Hagan doesn't like us very much, though. Democratic Senate candidate Kay Hagan angrily demanded Wednesday that incumbent…
Politico reports (via Benen): Sen. Elizabeth Dole’s latest advertisement suggests her Democratic opponent, Kay Hagan, is a godless heathen. “A leader of the Godless Americans PAC recently held a secret fundraiser for Kay Hagan,” the 30-second spot says, showing footage of the group’s members…
I am sure that you have already heard about the despicable TV ad that Elizabeth Dole aired against Kay Hagan. You probably heard about it online, perhaps on Twitter or FriendFeed or blogs. Here's a quick selection: My godless money. Take it or leave it.The Worst Insult of All?Thou shalt not bear…

So, I was thinking about what to put on the lawn to really scare the neighbors for Halloween tonight

Try the financial section of your paper.

By Bill+from+Dover (not verified) on 31 Oct 2008 #permalink

Yes, being called an atheist in a political campaign does damage your reputation in North Carolina. It sucks, but it is the case and her lawsuit is correct in every detail.

Aren't at least one SBer resident in NC? I was gonna suggest coturnix as a write-in but think he isn't BITUSA. Suggestions welcome.

It for for this reason that I think that what Dawkins and Harris and Hitchens are doing is a great service and not a disservice as some might suggest. Obviously we still have a long way to go, but the road to atheism being accepted as mainstream (and by mainstream I mean accepted by most people--bear in mind that there are still plenty of openly racist and/or homophobic, antisemitic, misogynistic people in this country) is paved with in your face atheism.

I gave money to Kay Hagan back when Liddy Dole started these bigoted attacks--and I still want to see her win for political reasons--but this weekend I'll be sending her a hand written, snail-mailed letter voicing my disappointment in her response to this attack.

I understand that the way she's handled this is the course that any political adviser would recommend, so it may or may not reflect her actual feelings on the subject (though I suspect it does). But that is exactly the problem! One of the goals of the new atheists is to help create a climate where politicians will find it unacceptable to debase us.

This is all very similar to the attacks against Obama where he was called a Muslim. Nobody of stature (not even Obama himself) stood up and said "Is there anything wrong with being a Muslim?" until Colin Powel did that--and quite eloquently. But Colin Powel isn't running for office, so he has nothing to lose, and so the mission of the new atheists is still far from complete.

Anyway, I'll certainly be quoting Powel in my letter to Hagan. I urge every atheist (or even theist who believes in civil rights) to do the same.


North Carolina is a shithole whose citizens elected Jesse Helms to six straight terms. Its people deserve what they get, and it now seems that they'll get either this silly, stinking bitch or one just like her. The best anyone can hope for is the next category 5 hurricane to take out the coastof that state. I'm not sure how to manage the interior, though.

By Crack Pipe Lenny (not verified) on 01 Nov 2008 #permalink