In Texas, Candidate Deemed Ineligible to Run by Opponent Due to His Alleged Atheism Easily Wins Runoff Election

A couple of weeks ago, I posted about a runoff race for the Austin City Council in Texas. Normally, it’d be off my radar, but candidate Laura Pressley had posted a graphic on her website explaining the differences between her and her opponent Gregorio Casar. She implied that his atheism was a problem:

If Casar’s an atheist — he once referenced his “godlessness” in a college paper — he has a funny way of showing it now. He’s been saying publicly for a while now that he’s Catholic.

But more to the point: Even if he were an atheist, who cares?

Pressley never apologized for making that unnecessary distinction. Instead, she told the Austin American-Statesman his atheism disqualified him from hold public office:

Pressley pointed to a section of the Texas Constitution’s Bill of Rights that says there are no religious qualifications for holding public office, provided that the official “acknowledge the existence of a Supreme Being.”

You would think someone running for public office would know that such a provision is completely unenforceable.

In response to all this, Casar took the high road, proving once again that he’s the more mature candidate for the city:

“I don’t feel like having a debate with Laura about either of our religious beliefs,” Casar said. “It’s not a relevant part of the discussion about what qualifies someone to be a City Council member.”

Last night, the runoff election took place, and Casar won handily, earning about 65% of the votes:

“While I’m really pleased with the results, I know that it’s time to get to work,” Casar said. “So tomorrow morning, I’m going to rest and stay in bed late, but then by tomorrow afternoon, we’re going to get to doing what we said we’d do.”

Well done! It’s nice to know anti-atheist smear campaigns don’t always work, even in Texas.

(Thanks to Jeff for the link. Large portions of this article were published earlier)

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