North Carolina city councilman finds himself in the middle of atheist controversy

Last podcast I talked about Cecil Bothwell, a North Carolina city councilman who is center of the latest effort by religious jackasses to impose their beliefs on others. Bothwell is an atheist, and his political opponents have seized on this to try and get him fired. You see, the NC constitution says no one shall hold office if “they deny the being of Almighty God”.

The whole thing should be a non story. There’s a Supremacy Clause in US Constitution that basically says that if there’s a conflict between a state constitution, it automatically wins. Since the US Constitution strictly forbids the kind of clause present in the North Carolina Constitution barring non-religious people from holding office, it’s basically unenforceable.

The only reason this clause is still in there is because no one wants to bother actually reforming it. Every state has a bunch of laws it can’t possible enforce, all mainstays from a time when things were a little different (who wants to arrest people in NC for spitting on the ground?). Lawmakers feel that their time can be better spent focusing on making new laws rather than bothering to get rid of old ones. I tend to agree with them.

Fox News, being the infinitely wise and bipartisan media outlet that it is, put up a poll asking people if he should stay or resign. I find it actually kind of insulting that they would even bother with this bullshit, but hey, it’s Fox; they have a knack for pissing me off. If you have some time, feel free to crash the fuck out of this bullshit poll. As for Bothwell, he doesn’t seem nervous at all, and I even think he might invite his opponents to try their luck. It could force North Carolina to make an amendment to their obviously flawed constitution, and bring to light the fact atheists are still a reviled minority.

Comments (2)

  • avatar


    You’re right; it should be a non-story.

  • avatar


    Wow, 75% of the 35,001 people who voted said that he should be allowed to stay in office. What a shock coming from a Fox News poll.

    Who wants to bet that the poll won’t be shown on air due to its results; either that, or they will tamper with the poll numbers a bit.

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