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North Carolina Democracy

Some lovely institutional Bigotry has reared its ugly head in N.C.

Critics of Cecil Bothwell cite N.C. bar to atheists

"I'm not saying that Cecil Bothwell is not a good man, but if he's an atheist, he's not eligible to serve in public office, according to the state constitution," said H.K. Edgerton, a former Asheville NAACP president.

Article 6, section 8 of the state constitution says: "The following persons shall be disqualified for office: First, any person who shall deny the being of Almighty God."


 

Comments

From the comment section...

"It is difficult for a person without faith and accountance to have character and be accountable for their actions."

"I am curious what moral beliefs an atheist has and what guides their belief. Since the ten commandments are irrelevant in their beliefs. Thou shall not steal is a good one. How about Thou shall not covet thy neighbors wife ( ox or donkey). Are atheists able to be selective in choosing the ones that apply to them and the situation? I am just curious."

Are atheists able to be selective in choosing the ones that apply to them and the situation? I am just curious."

sure they're "able to be selective". so are religious people.

I saw a Christian Coveting an ox just the other day.

Did you take pictures? Oh coveting.

That costs extra.

i've been known to covet an ox from time to time myself. i try to do it when there are no cellphone cameras around, though. darn those things!

Glad to see you enjoying jokes about the relevance of the 10 commandments.

you're kidding, right?

Do your neighbors have any male slaves you like the looks of?

The source of morality that we supposedly lack

You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.

that sounds pretty reasonable to me, mr. fantastic. i don't know if you could have picked a worse illustration of the position you presumably advocate- that no aspect of morality is found exclusively in scripture. you could say this about all the moral aspects of all the other commandments, but not this one.

the command not to covet comes completely out of the blue, it has no (earthly) moral basis and cannot be enforced. it doesn't (and can't) appear in any (earthly) legal system.

and yet, i don't think any reasonable person would deny that the world would be a better place if people didn't desire things that aren't for sale and belong to other people.(the definition of coveting). it's a meritorious thing, not to covet, don't you think?

in other words, it is a moral statement completely outside the realm of any secular or socially based morality. it exists only in the torah, and people can take it or leave it. but they can't justify such a law without faith in the lawgiver.

ahem.

Gee you can't get that jealousy and/or envy are "bad", if not from scripture?

And by the way, if coveting leads to ambition, that may or may not be a good thing. That commandment needs a couple of foot notes.

Footnotes like the one the late GC talked about

link: http://bn-in.facebook.com/notes.php?id=507098025

excerpt:

THOU SHALT NOT COVET THY NEIGHBOR'S GOODS
This one is just plain fuckin' stupid. Coveting your neighbor's goods is what keeps the economy going! Your neighbor gets a vibrator that plays "o come o ye faithful", and you want one too! Coveting creates jobs, so leave it alone.

you're allowed to covet A vibrator. just not HER vibrator.

-footnote dep't.

btw i really love, love, LOVE that carlin rant on the 10 commandments. the jews could use minds like that. it's not really all that different, in essence, from the rabbinical wrestling with the text for the last, oh, 2500 years, say.

in judaism it has plenty of footnotes. libraries full, literally. the commandments were given to us, not the nations of the world. at the same time, the responsibility to hash out the details was also given to us.

if you're not jewish, you should be able to covet to your heart's content.

jealosy and envy are not coveting. they both involve your feelings about the owner. coveting doesn't.

If that's right, what the hell is wrong about coveting, and why do you think it's so obvious? Don't steal and don't rape (not a commandment, BTW) are already well established secular moral rules.

BTW jealousy and envy come from coveting.

what's wrong about coveting? i dunno, you tell me. it leads to jealousy and envy, according to you, and the next step is obviously actual theft, a prohibition you claim is well entrenched in secular law with no reference to the torah.

the prohibition against "thoughtcrime" only makes sense if there's a supernatural administrator who knows people's thoughts. even north korea can't hold a candle to scripture in this area.

see jimmy carter's 1979 playboy interview.

sorry, '77 i think.

And that's why I don't think any secular people believe in thought crime. Do you?

And also, my first sentence there read: "If that's right...", which isn't in the way you meant it (that coveting, and jealousy or envy, are always detached).

i hope this isn't some freaky-deaky website. i just did a quick google to avoid a long explanation. if you're curious.

http://www.noahide.com/7laws.htm

oh for fucks sake. i just checked out the rest of the site and it does have some weird and crazy shit. the description of the noahide laws that i linked to is sound, however.

Its an irrelevant text because it is God bringing up slavery and saying the real sin would be if you were envious of your neighbor for his slaves.

You think Envy is more important than slavery?

Dude, what do you expect from that guy? "Hey idiots, LOVE ME!" is his first commandment.

makes sense to me. but that's not one of the commandments. you're thinking of the "sh'ma". you quite sure you're not jewish?

i think you don't know what slavery is in the bible, and you don't want to think about what "work" is today for many people, and the differences between biblical slavery and the situation in the american south. slavery- like homophobia- is just a word you like to throw around in arguments with believers, as if these are the worst horrors perpetrated by humans upon each other. they're not. but don't worry, i won't tell the believers that, it's just between you and me. ;)

Slavery wasn't that bad back then? So god was right to think envy was a bigger sin then their mild form of slavery...

it also implies in that "irrelevant text" that wives fall under the category of property, but you didn't mention that. what are you, some kind of misogynist?

I didn''t want to pile on.

Personally, I love how the guy attacking civil rights is a former NAACP president. Now that's some amazing stupidity.

Okay - I admit it. I officially have no sense of humor. This completely freaks me out. I can't believe that is in any United States' constitution. That is so beyond wrong! Is it a really old clause - one of those that gets lost in the shuffle.

And, yes, the fact that the one citing the article was an NAACP president makes him absolutely idiotic.

I'm glad I live in a state that doesn't discriminate on the basis of any religious test. It says so right on page 1 of of the Texas State Constitution:

Sec. 4. RELIGIOUS TESTS. No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office, or public trust, in this State; nor shall any one be excluded from holding office on account of his religious sentiments, provided he acknowledge the existence of a Supreme Being.

Are you kidding? I know I could look it up but I'm too tired right now...Aren't these clauses unconstitutional - (if they really are real and this isn't just something from the Onion?)

Makes you want to change your name to Almighty God or a Supreme Being so an atheist could run and pass the test.

Apparently unconstitutional means they can't be enforced, not that they can't be on the books. :)

There was no work involved in checking the authenticity of the text, Jill - the link takes you to a state of Texas web site.

If you replaced atheism in this story with almost any other minority group everyone would be comparing us to the third world. If you replaced it with African Americans or Jewish Americans this would be denounced by many as an act of evil, and rightly so. The fight for liberty knows no end.

it's defintely wrong. in tim's texas formulation it's broader (just a "supreme being"- could be zeus or the fsm) but the n.c. formulation of "almighty god" defenitely has conontations of the (how i hate this term) "judeo-christian" god- making it even more horrible from a democratic perspective.

Ah, North Carolina, just like Virginia and Texas, you have goofy shit in your state constitution.

My feeling about religious and sex clauses in these state constitutions is that they are generally ignored, because repealing the clauses would cause more furor among fundie rabble rousers. Then along comes someone with an agenda and the clauses rear their ugly heads.

tclynch, what say you? Get yer butt back over here; you got me into 1gm - and I know you're still in tobaccoland.

You are thinking of it strictly in terms of what makes sense for a code of law. we have secular ethical frameworks that extend far beyond what is specifically spelled out in law. you are correct that it would be silly to have a legal prohibition against coveting, but it is not hard to arrive at an ethical reason why coveting is bad (with footnotes) using reason, logic, and observations. this does not require a supreme being.

Nice profile name. You on twitter too?

Update: Cecil Bothwell will be on Rachel Maddow tonight at 9:45pm!

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