Controversy surrounds atheist city councilman
Cecil Bothwell was voted to the position of city councilman in Ashville, North Carolina, last month, but his opponents claim he is ineligible to serve public office.
Why? Because Bothwell is an atheist.
“I'm not saying that Cecil Bothwell is not a good man, but if he's an atheist, he's not eligible to serve in public office, according to the state constitution,” said H.K. Edgerton, a former Asheville NAACP president. Read the article this quote came from.
Article 6, section 8 of the North Carolina constitution says: The following persons shall be disqualified for office: First, any person who shall deny the being of Almighty God.
A 1961 Supreme Court decision, however, ruled any kind of religious test for public office is unconstitutional. The U.S. Constitution overrides any state constitution.
Bothwell, an active member of the Unitarian Universalist Church, claims "the question of whether or not God exists is not particularly interesting to me and it's certainly not relevant to public office."
He was sworn into office on Monday using an oath excluding the phrase Almighty God, which upset Edgerton.
"My father was a Baptist minister. I'm a Christian man. I have problems with people who don't believe in God," he said.
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