RALEIGH, N.C. — Asheville City Councilman Cecil Bothwell believes in ending the death penalty, conserving water and reforming government — but he doesn't believe in God. His political opponents say that's a sin that makes him unworthy of serving in office, and they've got the North Carolina Constitution on their side.
Bothwell's detractors are threatening to take the city to court for swearing him in, even though the state's antiquated requirement that officeholders believe in God is unenforceable because it violates the U.S. Consititution.
"The question of whether or not God exists is not particularly interesting to me and it's certainly not relevant to public office," the recently elected 59-year-old said.
Raised a Presbyterian, Bothwell began questioning Christian beliefs at a young age and considered himself an atheist by the time he was 20. He's an active member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Asheville and he still celebrates Christmas, often hanging ornaments on his Fishhook cactus.
I really wonder how why an atheist would even bother with being a member of a church, even UU.
However, this banning of atheists from public office IS unconstitutional.
Lemonbeam: Not sure where you're going with this, as you posted no commentary...
I have no problem with a politician who is atheist.
Either this man isn't very rigorous in his beliefs (a true atheist wouldn't be going to ANY services, even a Unitarian service); or he has grown beyond his youthful atheist belief and is now exploring something 'godly'.