Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Today's Offensive Campaign Ad

In North Carolina, Republican incumbent Senator Elizabeth Dole is running in a hotly contested campaign against challenger Kay Hagan. Recently, Sen. Dole has been running ads that assume Sen. Obama will win and asking voters not to give the Democrats control of both houses of Congress. But now, Sen. Dole has hit another new low in campaign ads:



That's right. Sen. Dole is telling voters to vote against Hagan because ... gasp ... Hagan got money from atheists.

A few quick thoughts come to mind on this. First, how is casting "shame" on the basis of relationships with atheists any different from doing the same for Jews or Muslims or Catholics or any other religious group? Answer: It isn't any different. It is simple bigotry (maybe mixed with a bit of good old hatred and fear-mongering, too). Second, I'd love to see Hagan run a response pointing out how many of the Founding Fathers were, at most Deists, and more likely, atheists. You know, people like Thomas Jefferson, who made his own revision to the Bible to remove all of the supernatural elements. Finally, I don't know how many atheists there are in the US; I suspect that there are more than most people think (as I suspect many atheists are hesitant to share that view with others for fear of discrimination as evidenced by Sen. Dole).

So, while Sen. Dole's ad may play well to the religious right, I suspect that those (like me) who view religious (or areligious) diversity as good and who believe that discrimination on the basis of religion is bad (not to mention, generally illegal), will be offended by Sen. Dole's ad and, by implication, by Sen. Dole herself. I'm curious: Would Sen. Dole stand on the floor of the Senate and criticize atheists? How about Muslims? Jews? Catholics?

Some people will do anything to get elected, even if it tears at the very moral fiber of our civil society.

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