As I’ve posted earlier, the other day North Carolina Senator Elizabeth Dole (wife of Bob Dole) posted a bigoted press release on their website. The subject of the release was her political opponent Kay Hagan, and her plans to attend a fundraiser hosted by Wendy Kaminer and Woody Kaplan—ATHEISTS!!
Here are some excerpts (emphasis added by blogger Life Without Faith):
“On September 15th, Kay Hagan is heading to Boston, Massachusetts to attend a fundraiser for her Senate campaign. What may surprise mainstream North Carolinians is that the fundraiser will be in the home of leading anti religion activists Wendy Kaminer and her lawyer husband Woody Kaplan — who is an advisor to the “Godless Americans Political Action Committee.”
“Kaminer is also an advisory board member (Woody is the chairman) of The Secular Coalition for America which is “the national lobby for atheists, humanists, freethinkers and other nontheistic Americans with the unique mission of protecting their civil rights.” (Secular Coalition For America, Press Release, 1/16/08)”
“Kay Hagan is trying to run a campaign in North Carolina that casts her as a moderate but the money that’s paying for it is coming from the left-wing fringe of political thought,” said Dole Campaign Communications Director Dan McLagan. “You can tell a lot about a person by their friends and these are friends most North Carolinians would not be comfortable having over for dinner.”
“Kay Hagan does not represent the values of this state; she is a Trojan Horse for a long list of wacky left-wing outside groups bent on policies that would horrify most North Carolinians if they knew about it,” McLagan said. “This latest revelation of support from anti-religion activists will not sit well with the 90% of state residents who identify with a specific religious faith.”
Dear Sen. Dole,
Your recent comments about Kay Hagan and her association with Wendy Kaminer and Woody Kaplan are now circulating on the internet. It saddens me that you think so poorly of atheists. Atheists exist everywhere in our society. They are our scientists, our firefighters, our garbage men, our postal employees, our police officers, our teachers, our fellow American citizens and taxpayers, our friends, our families, and our loved ones. I speak to you as an atheist, and I think you greatly misunderstand the political goals of atheist activists like myself and The Secular Coalition for America, which contrary to your statements is not an anti-religious organization but rather merely a civil rights organization that protects the wall between church and state guaranteed by the establishment clause of the U.S. Constitution.
So I’m disappointed that you feel North Carolinians would not be comfortable having these civil rights activists over for dinner because they don’t believe in your god. I guess it’s take-out again for me too. But I wonder if that snub would have been extended to George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Paine, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and Abraham Lincoln, all of whom were Deists, sharing more in common with the modern atheist than with modern Christian thought. And remember, our mostly Deist Founding Fathers fought to protect tolerance. Over 12 percent of Americans are atheists and according to a recent survey from The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, 16 percent of Americans have no religious affiliation. The number is even greater among young people: 25 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds now identify with no religion, up from 11 percent in a similar survey in 1986. That means there are more atheists and individuals with no religious affiliation in the U.S. than Jews and Muslims. A self-described atheist, Rep. Pete Stark, even serves the American people every day. Would he too not be invited to dinner, Senator?
I thank you for your time and offer to you an olive branch. You are a public servant and a Senator who not only represents the interests of your state but of every state, 12 percent of whom are atheists, 16 percent unaffiliated. I ask you not to use your influential position to promote a message of exclusion and hate but to use it to unite people of different beliefs. We are The United States of America. United we stand, but divided we fall.
Your Friendly Neighborhood atheist,
[And I left my personal contact info]
To everyone else, let Dole know how you feel: email@example.com
Also, whether you are Republican, Democrat, Libertarians, or whatever, let’s send our support (and money) to Kay Hagan: http://www.kayhagan.com/
Once again, Lori Lipman Brown of the Secular Coalition’s recent appearance on The Colbert Report during Stephen Colbert’s “Better Know a Lobby” segment. You can watch the segment here.