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In case you haven’t heard, Kay Hagan is the Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate seat in North Carolina, running against Republican incumbent Elizabeth Dole. Yesterday, Dole and her staff put out a press release attacking Hagan… for planning to attend a fundraiser held by atheists. (HT: Friendly Atheist).

According to Dole’s press release:

“Kay Hagan does not represent the values of this state; she is a Trojan Horse for a long list of wacky left-wing outside groups bent on policies that would horrify most North Carolinians if they knew about it,” McLagan said. “This latest revelation of support from anti-religion activists will not sit well with the 90% of state residents who identify with a specific religious faith.”

The atheists in question are Wendy Kaminer and her husband Woody, who are board members of the Secular Coalition for America and the Secular Student Alliance, and advisors to American Atheists’ Godless Americans Political Action Committee. Wendy Kaminer is also a feminist, former board member of the ACLU and author of books like Sleeping with Extra-Terrestrials: The Rise of Irrationalism and Perils of Piety.

These are all accomplishments that deserve celebration, and they are in accord with the values of secularism and free thought that are part of America’s heritage. They are not, as Dole would have it, “the left-wing fringe”.

It’s about time we saw atheists taking a greater role in American political life, and I’m not about to stand by and watch while we’re dragged through the mud by self-righteous demagogues who slander us in order to appeal to the ignorant and prejudiced. If we’re going to have an influence on American civic life, we need to flex our political muscles. Kay Hagan ought to be rewarded for inviting nonbelievers onto her platform, and Elizabeth Dole and the Republicans need to learn that they’ll pay a price for attacking atheists with bigoted stereotypes that appeal to the most regressive and superstitious elements of society.

I’m donating $100 to Kay Hagan’s campaign today, and I intend to send letters to both her campaign and Dole’s to let them know why. If you can contribute, please consider doing so. Friendly Atheist is compiling a list of letters and contributions – please add your name to the list!

DAYLIGHT ATHEISM—Adam Lee is an atheist author and speaker from New York City. His previously published books include "Daylight Atheism," "Meta: On God, the Big Questions, and the Just City," and most...

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