October 15, 2011

Idiot of the Week: James Bellar

I'm taking liberties with the timeline on this one, as this bit of idiocy actually occurred last week.

You probably haven't heard of James Bellar. He's the mayor of Whiteville, TN, the town that has a large cross on top of a water tower they own (see picture). The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) has threatened to sue Whiteville if they do not remove the cross from this publicly owned tower. This should not surprise anyone, as religious symbols do not belong on public property.

Mayor Bellar was quoted by Fox "News" as saying the following about the FFRF:
They are terrorists as far as I’m concerned…

They are alleging that some Whiteville resident feels very, very intimidated by this cross.
Terrorists? And yes, I would expect that many non-Christians living in Whiteville would not be happy with this cross. However, that is not why a group like the FFRF would threaten a lawsuit. That would happen because having the cross up there to begin with is illegal.
“The law is very clear on this,” Freedom From Religion Foundation co-president Dan Barker told Fox News Radio. “A secular city may not promote or hinder religion. We don’t have a problem with believers putting up crosses wherever they want, but this is a cross put up by the city on the city water tower.”
Clearly, the mayor doesn't get it. When it was explained to him that they were alerted to the issue by a Whiteville resident who was less than thrilled with the sight of a cross on city property, he said, "We don’t have people of that belief here and if we do they’re not going to raise that kind of ruckus for the rest of the town."

Yes, it is hard to imagine that the atheists of Whiteville are going to be comfortable speaking up when their own mayor considers them terrorists. At least the mayor was smart enough to decide to remove the cross. I suppose that's something.

H/T to Dispatches From the Culture Wars

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