October 15, 2008

Elizabeth Dole: Campaigning on Bigotry

{{w|Elizabeth Dole}}, U.S. Senator from North ...Image via WikipediaBack in August, the campaign of North Carolina Senator Elizabeth Dole issued a press release accusing Democratic opponent Kay Hagan of associating with atheists. I joined many others in the atheist blogosphere in denouncing Sen. Dole's bigotry. Still, I do not think I was alone in viewing the act as simply yet another case of political mudslinging. However, it now appears than Dole's campaign has decided to make Hagan's willingness to meet with nonbelieving Americans a central issue. Sen. Dole is now campaigning on anti-atheist bigotry, and this can no longer be ignored.

The Dole campaign has been distributing campaign literature to supporters in North Carolina attacking Hagan for daring to meet with atheist constituents. Evidently, Dole has either forgotten or no longer cares that she is supposed to represent all citizens in her state and not simply those who think that someone who died over 2,000 years ago (if he lived at all) loves them.

As bad as it seems that Dole is basing her campaign on bigotry, the far-reaching implications of such a strategy may be far worse. First, Dole has actually singled out atheist blogs, including Daylight Atheism and Friendly Atheist, for attack. Yep, Sen. Dole is actually using atheist blogs to make the case that if we support Hagan, there must be something wrong with her. Second, if Dole's strategy succeeds, it will have a chilling effect on atheist equality, effectively making us toxic to any politician hoping to get elected. To understand why this is so important, I urge you to read Atheist Ethicist's post on the subject. Third, recent examples of how right-wing propaganda can affect supporters should lead us to consider whether Dole's campaign of bigotry may actually be dangerous to North Carolina atheists.

This sort of anti-atheist bigotry demands a response. Remaining silent is not an option. Those hearing Dole's message of hate need to learn that this is bigotry and to get some accurate information. Please do what you can to help get the word out. You can also contact the Dole campaign to express your disgust over their campaign of bigotry and consider making a donation to Kay Hagan's campaign against Dole.

H/Ts to Bligbi and The Secular Outpost

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