Saturday, December 12, 2009

It is 2009, isnt it?

It was only 42 years ago that the state of Virginia still prohibited racially mixed marriages. 1967 seems such a long time ago, yet I can still remember, as a child on vacation with my family, seeing 'whites only' bathrooms and other signs of segregation in the near-South (Virgina). We're not very far removed from the era when civil rights had little meaning in parts of the country.

So, perhaps it doesn't come as a surprise to me that a number of states still technically prohibit an atheist, or (in the wording of one state) someone who does 'not believe in the almighty God' from serving in public office. I spotted this item today:
Conservatives threaten lawsuit over Atheist city councilman: The head of a conservative weekly newspaper says city officials shirked their duty to uphold the state's laws by swearing in Cecil Bothwell, an atheist who was elected last fall. David Morgan, editor of the Asheville Tribune, said he's tired of seeing his state Constitution "trashed," and the state does have a provision that bars anyone who "does not believe in almighty god" from serving in elected office. Of course, Bothwell can't be forced from office for being an atheist because the North Carolina provision is unenforceable under the supremacy clause of the U.S. Constitution. But when the States Rights rubber hits the Constitutional road, it ought to present a conundrum that explodes a few teabagger heads in North Carolina.
Maybe it's true that America has come a long way... but the road is so much longer than we thought.

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