Kay Hagan Drops Lawsuit Against Elizabeth Dole November 16, 2008

Kay Hagan Drops Lawsuit Against Elizabeth Dole

North Carolina Senator-elect Kay Hagan is dropping her defamation suit against opponent Elizabeth Dole — Dole had claimed that Hagan was linked to an atheist organization:

“It’s clear that the people of North Carolina have rejected personal attacks aimed at dividing people of this state instead of bringing them together to solve the problems at hand,” said Colleen Flanagan, communications director for Hagan’s campaign.

“This lawsuit would just continue the focus on a very personal and negative attack against Kay, instead of focusing on the people of North Carolina.”

It’s a sore point for many atheists since we don’t think it’s defamation to be called an atheist… and Hagan didn’t handle her response well. Still, the ad was an obvious lie since Hagan is a Christian and Dole lost the election partly as a result of that. The point has been made without the need for a court.

One other interesting piece of information for anyone who intends to use atheism in a future smear campaign:

Turns out, Sen.-elect Kay Hagan got 3,600 contributions within 48 hours of Dole airing of the controversial ad, which centered on Hagan’s attendance at a fund-raiser at the Boston home of someone active in the atheist community.

The 3,600 donations came from a cross-section of society.

“We got responses from people who identify themselves as atheists and every religion under the sun who found that ad offensive,” said Hagan spokeswoman Colleen Flanagan, who said the campaign hadn’t yet calculated the dollar figure raised as a result.

A new question: Which politician will atheists flock to next?

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • I was one of those atheists who jumped on the Kay Hagan bandwagon but was disappointed by her response. She seemed more upset that her faith was being questioned rather than that atheism itself was being maligned. That she has dropped the lawsuit only highlights this. I won’t say that I regret making my donation but I can help but wonder if my generosity might have been better served somewhere else.

  • I know you’ve said it before, but I think Barack Obama is the closest thing to an Atheist president that we’ve ever had. Yes, he is a Christian – but he does have the understanding of believers and nonbelievers alike. And, of course, his mother was not a religious person.

    If I were a Christian and someone accused me of being an Atheist, I would be offended. Just as offended as I would be if someone accused me of being a Christian, a Muslim or a Jew. Someone would be saying things about me that just are not true.

  • Freak

    How about Lincoln?

  • Gabriel

    Well I would think Thomas Jefferson. I mean he rewrote the bible to remove all of the supernatural parts and only leaving in the philosophy. That was pretty cool. John Adams ran against him saying that Jefferson would turn America into an athesist country. That would have been cool. We were almost an atheist country back then anyway. Nothing like it is today.

  • Pseudonym

    Congratulations to the cross-section of society who stood up for the right thing, atheist and theist alike. Consider it a model for future collaboration.

  • Richard Wade

    A new question: Which politician will atheists flock to next?

    I won’t be “flocking” to anyone. While Dole is a sleazebag I now mildly regret donating to Hagan, since she made it clear in her rebuttal to Dole’s smear that she was not even aware that the GAPac was even there. True or not, that indicates that her interest in our concerns and her willingness to openly associate with us is not what I mistakenly assumed. She did not take the several opportunities to make any statement about representing all her constituents regardless of their beliefs. No, she denied even knowing the atheists were there. That reminds me of another story about some social reformer who was arrested and his best buddy denied knowing him three times. I can understand the fear, but still it hurts.

    In addition to the reasons she states, Hagan may also be dropping the lawsuit to avoid further pressure from atheists to make an assertive public statement that association with atheists should not matter. I would not be surprised if she is more careful about who is attending such fundraisers in the future, and if any of (eww) those atheists are there, she’ll sadly have to be elsewhere that night. We’re still the political kiss of death; let’s not have any illusions.

    I really hope I have it all wrong and that Pseudomym’s positive take on it is correct.

    As for Lincoln and Jefferson, I don’t think they are interested in running for any public office.

  • Kudos to Kay. She’s won the election and is willing to put all of the slime that Dole dished her way. Shame on Dole for running such an ugly campaign, but Kay will put all of this behind her and start the job of representing her people.

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