Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Bigot watch

Senator Elizabeth Dole is now running an ad in North Carolina that says her opponent is Godless and takes Godless money.

The only problem is that Hagan is an elder at the First Presbyterian Church in Greensboro, NC, has taught Sunday School and accompanied youth mission trips. In a similar move, the North Carolina Republican State Executive Committee recently sent out homophobic mailers targeting Hagan claiming she seeks to advance a “radical homosexual agenda” and wants to remove “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance. The Hagan campaign is seeking a cease-and-desist order against Dole for her latest ad.
But so what if she was an atheist. This is not a theocracy, despite however much Senator Dole might like it to be. Those who attempt to gain office by encouraging prejudice and intolerance, by demonizing a minority (not to mention slandering an opponent with lies) do not deserve to get elected.

I'm struggling to see the difference between this sort of rhetoric (atheists are "the most vile liberals in America" according to the campaign) and racists in late 19th century Germany who believed that Jews by definition were not good Germans.

Update: On second viewing, I don't believe the ad explicitly says that Hagan is Godless, so much as it engages in the McCarthyst tactic of attacking Hagan for associating with atheists. In this regard, it's not an outright lie, although the ad will clearly create the impression in the target audience that Hagan is Godless. Especially since the ad ends with a woman saying "There is no God" and a good number of people who hear that are going to assume Hagan said it (she did not.)
While I think it important that Hagan defend herself as a Christian - as I find the Religious Right's habit of characterizing anyone who does not share in it's rigid fundamentalism as "atheists" sickening - it would have been nice if Hagan had also pointed out the bigotry of attacking atheists in the first place, who are guaranteed by the first amendent the same rights as everyone else.


Anonymous said...

Hagan is no only not pointing out the bigotry, she is accepting it and endorsing it by calling the attacks slanderous, and expressing such vehement outrage at the accusation - not just of being an atheist, but also of associating with atheists (she takes pains to point out she was NOT at the mentioned event to meet with atheists, but with other groups there). And the media coverage is going right along with this. It's despicable to call someone an atheist. Dole could have pointed out Hagan's unsavory associations without lying. Etc.

This is bigotry, and people need to say so.

Anonymous said...

It is bigotry, but unfortunately, that is the state the people of this (and most other) country is. It is political suicide to refer to atheism as legitimate, except in the bluest of blue states...

I am okay with what Hagan did, because that was really the only thing she could do. I'd rather have her elected, than someone who initiated this whole fracas in the first place...