The Culpeper County Circuit Court in Virginia is having a special election next Tuesday to fill the remainder of a retiring clerk’s term. It’s one of those elections that’s bound to have small turnout, where many people probably couldn’t even tell you who’s running, but this one could have ramifications because of how different the two candidates are.
On one hand, you have Carson Beard, an independent who’s worked in the clerk’s office for several years, knows the place inside and out, wants to digitize the place as much as possible, and make everything easier for the public to access. A perfectly sensible platform for a candidate running for a non-partisan position.
On the other hand, you have a Republican named Marshall Keene whose primary goal in office would be putting a Christian stamp on everything.
Consider a simple question: What are your goals in this position? That was posed to both candidates during a recent Q&A session hosted by the local Chamber of Commerce. Beard gave a perfectly normal response:
Beard said modernization is vitally important as new technology such as e-filing allows the office to better serve the public. Even with modernization, he noted that the office would provide traditional access options. Regarding customer service, Beard said he hopes to continue the outstanding public service established by [predecessor Janice] Corbin.
Now here’s Keene, making it clear that non-Christians would not be welcome in the building:
Keene said his first order of business would be placing “In God we trust” on all stationery and signage. In addition to modernization of the office, he said fiscal responsibility is important along with supporting the 2nd amendment. The most important goal, he said, is ensuring the office is accessible to all citizens.
Nothing says “accessible” like a phrase telling atheists they’re outsiders…
And that’s his first order of business! Not helping the people, but shoving his religion in everyone’s faces. (By the way, the clerk has no say in “2nd Amendment” issues. There’s no legislating in the job. That’s just catnip for conservatives.)
All of Keene’s responses are like this. It’s obvious he doesn’t know anything about the position other than it’s an elected office and he’s a Republican who wants power in order to proselytize. It’s entirely possible he’ll use this very post as “proof” of Christian Persecution — even though the problem isn’t his faith; it’s the way he wants to push it on others.
I don’t know what Beard’s religion is… because it’s irrelevant. I don’t know what his politics are… because, again, it’s irrelevant. It’s possible we disagree on quite a bit. But at least he seems to be taking this race seriously. The same can’t be said of Keene.
Local races, especially ones with no big-ticket races on the ballot, can be very tight. So if you or someone you know lives in the area, please make sure to vote.
(Thanks to Brian for the link)