It really is ridiculous because this lawsuit was played out once before in 1961 and settled definitively.
On November 3, Cecil Bothwell placed third with 17.8% of the vote. That was enough to give him a seat on the Asheville city council.
Some people who do not want Botheman on the council have resorted to an obscure clause in the North Carolina constitution that should not be there.
Article 6, section 8 of the state constitution states that “the following persons shall be disqualified for office: First, any person who shall deny the being of Almighty God.”
The Supreme Court decided this in 1961 when it said that any religious test was unconstitutional.
That decision probably had something to do with Article VI of the U.S. Constitution which states that “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”
Apparently, people who do not like Bothwell are going to extremes to keep him off the council.
“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.
Edgerton said that if the swearing in commences, and it did, then “the city of Asheville and the board of elections could be liable for a lawsuit.”
Edgerton is often seen in town wearing a Confederate soldier’s outfit and holding a Confederate flag to promote “Southern heritage.” He is also a past president of the Asheville NAACP chapter. If those two images can be reconciled, then I suppose barring atheists from public office is a simple matter.
The lawsuit will not last long. There are unconstitutional laws on the books in just about every state. It is odd that when they are this blatantly unconstitutional that there are still some who try to enforce them.