There will come a point where so many atheist candidates are running for public office that we won’t be able to keep up with all of them.
We’re not there yet.
Cecil Bothwell is running for a seat on the City Council in Asheville, North Carolina.
He’s described as a “writer, environmentalist, builder, war protestor, gadfly”… and atheist.
As a journalist, Bothwell often focused on former Buncombe County Sheriff Bobby Medford, and takes much credit for Medford’s prosecution as part of an illegal gambling ring.
Writings on Medford led to death threats, Bothwell said, and the stuff of one book. In another book, “The Prince of War,” he targets Graham, saying the world-famous evangelist from Montreat was using access to U.S. presidents to push a theocratic agenda.
Bothwell’s political opponents fired back with a mailed-out flier pointing to statements Bothwell made about his own atheism. Bothwell said they’re not wrong. His spiritual beliefs focus on “the golden rule” as opposed to a deity, he said.
As for the mailer, he said it’s helped book sales. “My campaign is offering either of the two books…for a donation of 25 bucks. We’re throwing the books at them.”
What “mailed-out flier” are they talking about? Check it out — it’s fantastic:
To quote Bothwell’s own writing:
“I suppose that I should also acknowledge that I will find myself labeled as Satan’s helper, instrument, vehicle and a whole lot more upon publication of this work. So, for the record, I don’t believe in supernatural beings of any stripe… It seems to me that belief in gods has caused a whole lot more problems than it has solved… I don’t believe in any of the religious stories of the origin of the universe and I don’t look to priests for my moral answers.”
Ironically, it ends with this lovely quotation:
We need levelheaded common sense leaders on city council, not a radical extremist.
Which is why we should be supporting atheist candidates who have a strong, progressive agenda.
I don’t know whether Bothwell is the best candidate or not in this race, but a look at his platform suggests he is a levelheaded, common sense sort of guy. I wouldn’t vote for him only because of his atheism, but you have to admire any atheist who is willing to run for public office without shying away from that label.
Bothwell’s response about following the “Golden Rule” is precisely what we ought to be hearing from future atheist candidates — not a denial of their atheism, but the idea that they can indeed be good without a god.
It’s not too late to donate to his campaign. The election is only days away…
(via American Atheists)