Megan Barry, Candidate Accused of Being Atheist, Elected as Nashville Mayor September 11, 2015

Megan Barry, Candidate Accused of Being Atheist, Elected as Nashville Mayor

After a smear campaign was waged against Nashville mayoral candidate Megan Barry by her opponent David Fox, she still managed to sweep the votes and become the first female mayor of Nashville, Tennessee.

We’ve been following this story for weeks now, ever since the conservative Fox began a campaign of radio ads and phone calls accusing Barry of being an atheist and defending secularism by speaking out against the National Day of Prayer and opposing prayers at public high school football games. (Yeah, we’re still not sure how that was a smear campaign either.)

Barry’s husband Bruce is a writer for the local alternative paper The Nashville Scene and has been a vocal defender of secularism himself, but he wasn’t the one running for office.

Barry unfortunately deflected the accusations by proclaiming herself a Christian and calling Fox’s claims “not nice.”

“There have been a lot of comments from my opponent and a lot of really not nice things said about me,” Barry said. “So let me just start off with, I’m a Christian.

“I was raised as a Catholic, but my faith, which was always very personal to me, has suddenly become a public conversation, which has made me uncomfortable.”

“In prayer and in Jesus, we are all together in this,” she said.

Barry said that her choice not to discuss her faith should not be misinterpreted as her lacking faith…

In the home stretch of the race, there were even more ads grasping at conservative fears, this time from Metro Councilman Duane Dominy (a Fox supporter). Dominy said that Barry didn’t say the words “under God” when reciting the Pledge of Allegiance at city council meetings.

Sept. 10, Nashville elects our next mayor. Before we vote, I am compelled to share with you what I have personally witnessed. Right after being sworn in, it was pointed out to me that during the Pledge of Allegiance Megan Barry skips the words, “under God.”…

It is important you know what I have witnessed before you vote.

Dominy must have been absent from grade school on the day everyone else was taught that nobody likes a tattle-tale.

After all the demonizing, thought, the voters were unswayed. Barry won the election with 55 percent of the votes.

Now that she’s no longer dodging labels that have negative connotations, let’s hope she can put all the talk of religion behind her as well. It’d be best for everyone if she focused on making Nashville one of the most inclusive, secular cities in the South.

Congratulations, Megan Barry. You hit a nerve by disassociating with non-believers to save face, but you still had my vote.

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