Allison Kilkenny: Unreported

Does Your State Forbid Atheists From Holding Public Office?

Posted in atheism, politics, religion, Texas by allisonkilkenny on February 18, 2009

Pharyngula

the-atheist-eIt’s an ugly little open secret that Arkansas, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas have constitutions that explicitly forbid atheists from holding state office. These laws are archaic and unenforceable in principle — they were all ruled unconstitutional in 1961 — but of course they’re still in effect across all 50 states in practice, since public opinion makes it almost impossible for an atheist to get elected to high office.

Now, though, a representative in Arkansas has submitted a bill to amend the Arkansas constitution and remove the prohibition of atheists. This could get very interesting, or it might not. If the Arkansas legislature does the sensible thing and simply and efficiently removes an old law that can’t be enforced anyway, I will be pleased, but there won’t be much drama.

Since when are legislatures sensible, however? I can imagine indignant Christians defending an unconstitutional law and insisting that it be kept on the books as a token of their contempt. It is an awkward situation for the Christianist yahoos, because their constituencies might get inflamed, but on other hand, do they really want to go on record defending the indefensible?

I’m looking forward to it, and kudos to Rep. Richard Carroll of North Little Rock for poking a stick into this nest of snakes and stirring it up.

Was California’s Anti Gay Proposition Fixed by Religious Zealots?

Posted in Uncategorized by allisonkilkenny on November 17, 2008

Mark Crispin Miller

Early evening, Nov. 4, exit poll showing Prop 8 going down to defeat.

Later in that evening, after adding 72 respondents the exit poll figures switched to show a preference for “Yes.” (Screen shot)

Well, well, well. First we find out, happily, that We the People may not be so fiercely racist after all, as Election ’08 has debunked the (feeble) theory of “the Bradley effect.”

And now it turns out that Americans–at least those in gay-friendly California — may not really been as hostile to gay marriage as the outcome of that state’s election has apparently suggested.

As we think about the possibility that Prop 8 was not really passed by California’s voters, let’s note something that the press, and others, won’t discuss: i.e., that the entire apparatus of computerized voting in this country–the e-voting machines and op-scans and central tabulators, etc.–is largely owned by members of the Christianist far right.

Diebold and ES&S were both begun by Bob and Todd Urosevich, two ardent Oklahoma theocrats, while Triad, which makes the central vote tabulators used in Ohio in 2004, is owned by the Rapp family. SmartTech, the company that helped Bush/Cheney steal that state, is owned by evangelical Jeff Averbeck; and his associate Mike Connell, owner of GovTech Solutions, which also helped to steal Ohio, among other races, was motivated to such work by his desire “to save the babies,” according to Stephen Spoonamore.

Why are there so many Christianists among the owners of those companies?

Because the rigging of elections is the only way that that fringe movement ever could impose its theocratic program on the rest of us. As Paul Weyrich used to say out loud, the Christianists despise democracy. After all, that system, if allowed to stand, would put the sinful secular majority in charge–and that can’t be allowed.

And so, whether or not it turns out that Prop 8 was rigged to pass, we need to take a good hard look at those machines, and at the companies that own them–and keep them out of our elections.

Meanwhile, let’s all stop assuming that last week’s outcome was legitimate, and look closely at the evidence around Prop 8.

Mark Crispin Miller