June 24, 2006

Coverage of Darby's Election Loss Sheds Light on Alabama Conservatives

An article in The Greenville Advocate offers a terrifying perspective on Larry Darby's recent election loss. The first sentence sets the tone, "An atheist who said the Holocaust never happened came out of left field to nearly win the Democratic Party's nomination for Attorney General during the primary election held on June 6." Which is more surprising - that an atheist got 44% of the vote or that a Holocaust denier got 44% of the vote?

The article seems to balance both, making an equally big deal of Darby's atheism as his denial of the Holocaust. Sen. Wendell Mitchell (D - Luverne) was quoted as saying that he does not believe that Darby is a suitable candidate for public office. No disagreement here. However, Sen. Mitchell was quoted as saying, "“Larry Darby possesses none of the qualities with which I can identify," said Mitchell. "“I deny him on Christian principles. He's an atheist. I reject his candidacy."

What? Sen. Mitchell rejects Darby as a suitable candidate because he's an atheist? Besides violating the Constitutional requirement that "no religious test shall ever be required" as a qualification to public office, Sen. Mitchell doesn't even mention Darby's Holocaust denial! Does this mean he's okay with that part? The article notes that "Darby has promoted white supremacy." Would that be okay too if only Darby was a Christian?

Perhaps the final sentences of the article, another quote from Sen. Mitchell, can shed some light on this puzzling situation. "“The state of Alabama is a conservative state. We believe that marriage is a union between a man and a woman."” Ah yes, so perhaps Holocaust denial and self-proclaimed anti-Semitism can be overlooked as long as one is not an atheist.

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