Over the last couple decades, the term “Political Correctness,” originally revived by 60s’ Progressives, has developed a negative connotation. Conservatives often use it as a couching term in attempts to lend reasonableness to arguments that label Liberals as anti-free-speech, or as a preemptive rationalization for their own bigotry and intolerance. It’s also used as a over-sensitive retort to some contrived controversy:
“Political correctness has gone too far…How dare Store X name it the Holiday Tube Sock Sale, as opposed to the Christmas Tube Sock Sale.“
Ah, the Spirit of Christmas: Gold, frankincense, and tube socks.
Many times, Haters will use “PC” (and its negative stigma) as broad, baseless reasoning to blame the Left for some awful tragedy. Take Conservative pundit Jeffrey Kuhner pontificating on the Ft. Hood shooting:
“This is the insanity of political correctness. We are unilaterally disarming…put up a sign, ‘Bomb our buildings, kill our soldiers; hell, rape our women’ “
Tucker Carlson and others repeated this ridiculous point. Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson used similar illogical reasoning to blame liberals for 9/11.
This brings me to Asheville, NC:
RALEIGH, N.C. – Asheville City Councilman Cecil Bothwell believes in ending the death penalty, conserving water and reforming government — but he doesn’t believe in God. His political opponents say that’s a sin that makes him unworthy of serving in office, and they’ve got the North Carolina Constitution on their side.
At issue, is an antiquated NC law prohibiting non-believers from holding office:
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.”
I’m no Constitutional scholar, but I do believe this violates the 1st Amendment. Not to mention Article VI of the U.S. Constitution.
“no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”
Who’s behind this? Ironically, among the angry fanatics is a former member of an organization often chastised as being part of the ‘PC Police.’
Bothwell’s detractors are threatening to take the city to court for swearing him in, even though the state’s antiquated requirement that officeholders believe in God is unenforceable because it violates the U.S. Constitution.
“The question of whether or not God exists is not particularly interesting to me and it’s certainly not relevant to public office,” the recently elected 59-year-old said.
That has riled conservative activists, who cite a little-noticed quirk in North Carolina’s Constitution that disqualifies officeholders “who shall deny the being of Almighty God.” The provision was included when the document was drafted in 1868 and wasn’t revised when North Carolina amended its constitution in 1971. One foe, H.K. Edgerton, is threatening to file a lawsuit in state court against the city to challenge Bothwell’s appointment.
“My father was a Baptist minister. I’m a Christian man. I have problems with people who don’t believe in God,” said Edgerton, a former local NAACP president and founder of Southern Heritage 411, an organization that promotes the interests of black southerners.
The head of a conservative weekly newspaper says city officials shirked their duty to uphold the state’s laws by swearing in Bothwell. David Morgan, editor of the Asheville Tribune, said he’s tired of seeing his state Constitution ”trashed.”
Some groups are threatening to sue for enforcement of this law. However…
Bothwell can’t be forced out of office over his atheist views because the North Carolina provision is unenforceable, according to the supremacy clause of the U.S. Constitution. Six other states, Arkansas,Maryland, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas, have similar provisions barring atheist officeholders.
In 1961, the U.S. Supreme Court reaffirmed that federal law prohibits states from requiring any kind of religious test to serve in office when it ruled in favor of a Maryland atheist seeking appointment as a notary public.
But the federal protections don’t necessarily spare atheist public officials from spending years defending themselves in court. Avowed atheist Herb Silverman won an eight-year court battle in 1997 when South Carolina’s highest court granted him the right to be appointed as a notary despite the state’s law.
Man must really have wanted to notarize. As for Bothwell, little stands in the way of him advancing his dangerous, godless agenda.
Bothwell ran this fall on a platform that also included limiting the height of downtown buildings and saving trees in the city’s core.
Holy shit. Limiting the height of buildings? You mean, like Church steeples and crosses? Saving trees? Like trees that can be turned into Church steeples and crosses? Where will it end?!
Maybe it’s just the time of year. That time of year when hyper-sensitive Christians construe consumer marketing as attacks on their religion, often blaming some amorphous form of “political correctness.” You know, the kind of Christians who chastise The Gap for not including the word “Christmas” in the frolicking ads for their Indian-made apparel.
I could really give a damn if some public school or government entity wants to celebrate Christmas, put on a play, or put up some decorations. Same goes for Hanukkah. As long as they’re not disparaging others’ beliefs, a message of good will isn’t going to hurt anyone.
But let’s be honest about where sympathies lie. There’s no movement to eliminate the celebration of Christmas. Inclusiveness is not the equivalent of some “culture war.” Let’s also be honest about the real subjects of contempt in this country. From a 2006 University of Minnesota study:
This group does not at all agree with my vision of American society…
Conservative Christians: 13.5%
Recent Immigrants: 12.5%
I would disapprove if my child wanted to marry a member of this group….
Conservative Christians: 6.9%
According to this Pew Research Center survey, I would refuse to vote for someone based on the relevant characteristic:
Evangelical Christian: 15%
And as for the Christians:
Here are the numbers of born-again Christians who regard the impact of these groups as negative:
That’s right. People who don’t believe in any higher power are despised more by Christians than a religion whose most recognizable member is this guy:
Happy Holidays, everyone. Except to the godless trash out there.