Elizabeth Dole Attacks Senate Opponent for Meeting with Atheists

North Carolina Senator Elizabeth Dole and her communications staff put out a press release today criticizing her Democratic challenger Kay Hagan.

What did Hagan do to deserve the criticism?

She plans to attend a fundraiser hosted by atheists.

On September 15th, Kay Hagan is heading to Boston, Massachusetts to attend a fundraiser for her Senate campaign. What may surprise mainstream North Carolinians is that the fundraiser will be in the home of leading anti religion activists Wendy Kaminer and her lawyer husband Woody Kaplan — who is an advisor to the “Godless Americans Political Action Committee.”

Kaminer is also an advisory board member (Woody is the chairman) of The Secular Coalition for America which is “the national lobby for atheists, humanists, freethinkers and other nontheistic Americans with the unique mission of protecting their civil rights.” (Secular Coalition For America, Press Release, 1/16/08)

Kaminer’s husband, Woody Kaplan, is also an advisor to the Godless Americans Political Action Committee which sees itself as a counter-force to religious groups in public policy debates.

So, Republicans hate civil rights?

In fact, the Dole people think protecting rights for all people would horrify North Carolinians.

You know why I say this?

Because Dole’s campaign says it right in the 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,” [Communications Director Dan] 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.”

Actually, I think most people of faith would be fine if minority groups received equal rights. I don’t know of any atheist groups asking for special rights. We just want to be treated fairly and we don’t want to see religious groups getting privileges the rest of us cannot get.

Next, we’ll see the Dole campaign ripping on Hagan for “associating with known Jews.”

That makes equally as much sense as this press release.

Chris Ray points out that North Carolinians aren’t as devout as the Dole people would have us believe.

According to The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, 20% of people in the state attend a worship service “seldom or never.”

Less than half the people in the state attend a weekly service.

The fact that the Dole people are using Hagan’s mere association with atheists as a point of attack on her says a lot more about how desperate and crooked they are than it does anything about Hagan.

Siamang adds:

While you’re at it, Email the Dole campaign and tell them why you just gave money to their opponent.

info@elizabethdole.org


  • http://mylongapostasy.blogspot.com ATL-Apostate

    Not surprising. Being a former North Carolinian, I’d say the Dole campaign manager is probably correct.
    Don’t forget, this is the same state that elected (and re-elected) Jesse Helms.
    There are plenty of reasonable people in NC, don’t get me wrong, but there are just enough religious bigots to make stuff like this “sell” with the electorate.

  • Joseph R.

    I live in Eastern NC and I can attest to the high number of religious people that there seems to be here. That being said, I absolutely do not like Elisabeth Dole and will not vote for her.

  • http://www.banalleakage.com martymankins

    Dole seems to be placing too much emphasis on her opponent’s right to speak with whatever group she wants to. Would Dole be having a tissy fit if Hagan was meeting with a specific religious group that wasn’t to Dole’s liking? I think Dole needs to keep quiet and focus on other topics that are more integral to the people she represents.

  • Siamang

    EWWWWw….

    And to think I used to LIKE Elizabeth Dole. I used to like Bob Dole. I used to think they represented the moderate side of Republicanism.

    Now I know… there IS no moderate side of republicanism anymore.

  • justin jm

    To quote from the idiotic campaign press release…

    “Kay Hagan does not represent the values of this state

    Not to stereotype North Carolinians, but as ATL-Apostate said, this is the state that allowed Jesse Helms within a 1000 miles of power. I have to wonder what values Dole is referring to?

    I desperately wish to see the day when statements like this torpedo a candidate’s chances for election and the disgraced politician has to humbly beg for forgiveness.

  • QrazyQat

    North Carolina is also the home of the many people who harbored terrorist Eric Rudolph and who support his goals even now. But bottom line is Dole thinks at least 20% of her electorate shouldn’t be heard from or responded to. Maybe that’s why she’s now down in the polls and looks likely to lose her formerly safe seat.

  • Siamang

    Angry about this? Good.

    Now go donate.

    http://www.kayhagan.com/

    Kay Hagen just got $100 from a Californian who never heard of her before.

  • Siamang

    While you’re at it, Email the Dole campaign and tell them why you just gave money to their opponent.

    info@elizabethdole.org

  • Julie Marie

    Ditto from a South Carolinian.

  • ddr

    Set a protest letter to Dole. Will send some money along to Kay Hagan this Friday (payday).

  • Amy

    I just emailed Elizabeth Dole and cc’d Hagan’s campaign. As a North Carolinian, I had already voted for Hagan in the primaries, but now she will be getting my volunteer time and my donation. Thanks for bringing this to our attention – I’ve linked this to my local atheist meetup group too. We may not be huge, but we number in the hundreds and I know there are a lot more of us than Senator Dole seems to think.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Hemant Mehta

    I just emailed Elizabeth Dole and cc’d Hagan’s campaign. As a North Carolinian, I had already voted for Hagan in the primaries, but now she will be getting my volunteer time and my donation. Thanks for bringing this to our attention – I’ve linked this to my local atheist meetup group too. We may not be huge, but we number in the hundreds and I know there are a lot more of us than Senator Dole seems to think.

    That’s wonderful, Amy :) Please let us know how this pans out (for you as a volunteer, I mean)!

  • Kate

    I just wrote a scathing e-mail to the Dole campaign.

    I reminded her that my atheist vote counted just as much as a Christian’s vote. And that she just lost MY vote…I’m an NC resident.

    Shame on her.

  • http://hereticsaltar.blogspot.com/ Parker Thomas

    I live in the “Triangle” area of NC and I would love to see the polling of the younger people (18-40) around here who buy in to the religious b.s. There are huge amounts of science and technology companies in this area, plenty of progressive alternative schools and colleges, and a thriving arts community…and the area just keeps growing. So, Ms. Dole should come home once in a while and check in on her constituency to see just exactly how we feel, rather than putting words in our mouths.

    A little while ago I wrote her and received a quick and, what I thought, was a nice response…after reading that press release all I see on her letter is, “Your vote is not as good as a christian’s.”

    So, for lack of a better phrase, “Fuck Liddy.”

  • Pingback: News From Around The Blogosphere 8.26.08 « Skepacabra

  • Siamang

    Here’s what I wrote:

    Elizabeth Dole campaign,

    Dear reader,

    I have no illusions that the Senator or anyone high in the campaign will be the one reading this email. I assume that some volunteer or staffer will quickly skim through this and tally my opinion on a response sheet before deleting it.

    So this email is actually addressed to you, the reader. Thank you for taking the time to take part in the political process. Thank you for taking the time and having the consideration to read these words I’m writing to you. Perhaps you’ll mention them to someone else in the Campaign. Perhaps it’ll be something you’ll keep to yourself. Anyway, I just have to say this to someone.

    Who am I? I’m a 41-year-old married father, living in California. I work hard, pay taxes, send my daughter to a local public school. I do volunteer work, give to charity, and am very involved in my child’s education. I am a fiercely patriotic American.

    Today, I was outraged to learn of a press release from Senator Dole’s campaign condemning her Democratic opponent for meeting with a group representing Americans with no religious affiliation. If you asked me yesterday what I thought about Elizabeth Dole, I’d say she was a strong, resourceful, intelligent, moderate leader. If you asked me yesterday about her opponent, Kay Hagan, I would have said “Who?”

    I didn’t know her name.

    I do now.

    Here’s a passage from the press-release:

    Dole Campaign Communications Director Dan McLagan: “You can tell a lot about a person by their friends and these are friends most North Carolinians would not be comfortable having over for dinner.”

    Wow. I guess I should tell my Christian and Jewish family, friends and loved ones that they can’t have me over for dinner because I am a nonbeliever. Is he serious? Are North Carolinians really that divisive on issues of religion that they won’t even break bread with someone with different beliefs?

    If Hagan had met with a group of priests, rabbis, Catholics, Lutherans, Methodists, Muslims, Buddhists, Jews or the members of any other belief-set, I think you, campaign-worker, would be outraged if the Dole campaign had spoken ill of that meeting. You rightly would have seen it as the politics of division or worse, naked bigotry.

    So now, I’d like to ask a question. As an American, am I not allowed to meet with political candidates merely because of the minority status of my beliefs? Am I not allowed a voice? Is it the Senator’s contention that it is, and rightfully should be, political poison for a candidate to meet with certain Americans just because of their beliefs about God? Is it telling me, an American, that unless I believe in God, that I shouldn’t be part of the political process? That I should sit down and shut up?

    The group Hagan met with includes atheists, agnostics, humanists and deists… as well as any number of people who check the box “none of the above”. Great Americans like Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, Mark Twain and Albert Einstein all counted themselves “none of the above.” Together, the “none of the aboves” make up 16% of Americans, according to Pew Research.

    We understand we’re a minority. We know we’re misunderstood and that creates mistrust. We know that the only solution to this is to be part of the American dialog.

    But we cannot be a part of that dialog if the politically powerful cast us as pariahs in order to win the cheap allegiance of antipluralist bigots. I think it’s no way to act as a United States Senator. It’s wrong to say that certain Americans are lesser, or do not deserve representation or to meet with our candidates merely because of our beliefs. That’s just wrong, and most American Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Mormons and others would agree on that point one-hundred percent.

    See, it’s not who Senator Dole prays to that upsets us. It’s that she seems to advocate that political representation be subjected to a religious test. No religion? No meeting with your candidate… that’s the Dole plan.

    We can see that we are being singled out as being unworthy of speaking to. So I’ll speak with my money, and so will many others. Today I donated $100 to Kay Hagan’s campaign. Further, I’m sending out a challenge to the millions of “none of the aboves” nationwide to do the same. From all walks of life, people tired of being scapegoated, of being ridiculed– of being silenced and exiled from the political dialog– will have at least one candidate to contribute to who isn’t afraid to talk to us.

    Sixteen percent. That’s a lot of Americans. Yesterday, I didn’t know Hagan’s name. Today I do. Tomorrow many more will.

    People all over America will now hear Hagan’s name, and what she had the bravery to do… to meet with people who Senator Dole wants to make political untouchables.

    People like me.

    Anyway, reader, I’ve taken enough of your time. I just want perhaps to let someone there know that nonbelievers are just as 100% American as anyone else. We live and work and love and care for our children and grow old and die just like everyone else. We pay our taxes, serve our country and contribute to the greatest nation in the world. We are your schoolteachers, your firefighters, your doctors and your soldiers.

    We are Americans… and you never tell an American to sit down and shut up.

    Thanks for listening, dear reader.

  • Siamang

    Kate,

    Post your email!

  • http://anotheratheist.blogspot.com muffin

    That was a great email siamang! I just hope someone actually takes the time to read it completely, and pass it along to Mrs. Dole herself!

  • http://blargen.com/blog/ postsimian

    I’m from IL, and I’ll be donating $50 to her opponent’s campaign. Things like this deserve a tangible retort.

  • bob

    From Virginia, just donated $50 to Hagan. I sure hope people with the Dole attitude get the mesasage…one of these days…in my life time.

  • http://feministblogproject.wordpress.com Allyson

    I’ll be making a donation to Hagan’s campaign when I get paid on Friday . . . and I live in Texas.

  • http://robertprather.com Robert Prather

    I’m a Floridian who just donated and emailed! Yeah!

  • David D.G.

    Siamang, you are an artist with words. That letter is beautiful, and it’s a textbook example of how to write a political comment that is strongly worded yet completely civil. Thanks for sharing it with us.

    ~David D.G.

  • Pingback: When Religion and Politics Gets Wacky - Elizabeth Dole « A Blogspotting Anglican Episcopalian

  • http://pleasureconspiracy.blogspot.com EK Boyle

    from IL, I’m in for $50.

    I would really rather do some “volunteer server load testing” for the Dole campaign… but that’d be a bit militant. Probably not nice either…

  • FedUpinAZ

    I live in Arizona but will be donating to Kay and letting Dole know that discrimination of any kind is not American.

  • Richard Wade

    I just sent $200 for Kay and this letter to Dole.

    To Senator Elizabeth Dole:

    I am a Californian who seldom donates money to political candidates even in my own state and I am not active in any political group but I just sent $200 to your opponent, Kay Hagan and in the interest of fairness I think you should know why:

    I am angered by your press release of August 26 where you have attacked Kay Hagan for her plans to attend a fundraiser with members of the Secular Coalition for America. Your statements and innuendos demonstrate a reprehensible level of ignorance and bigotry against American citizens who follow no religious path. Most secular people, whether they call themselves atheists, agnostics, freethinkers or just “not religious” are not “anti-religious” as you have tried to characterize them. They are pro-freedom. Most, like myself will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with religious people to protect our Constitutional guarantees to worship or not worship as we see fit. We deserve and we demand to be represented just as well as any member of a faith.

    Your tactic of trying to incite the ignorance-based fear and hatred in your potential voters shows that you are willing to stoop to being a demagogue and that you do not take the liberty of all your constituents to heart. Singling out a class of Americans by their religious views to use them as a scapegoat is disgraceful. If you had criticized Ms. Hagan for meeting with Jews, you would have been deservedly denounced by millions as a bigot. Take it on notice now that treating non-believers as pariahs is no longer acceptable and will no longer happen anywhere without consequences. In your case, your opponent just got a boost from a stranger 2,800 miles away. I look forward to your defeat and to the victory of Kay Hagan.

    In reward for her rare open-mindedness and her political courage, I am sending a copy of this letter to Kay Hagan’s campaign along with my donation of $200.

    Most Sincerely yours,

    Richard Wade

  • Jeff C

    NC resident, atheist and voter. If Dole was trying to win my vote she is going about it all wrong. I just contributed to the Hagan campaign.

  • BionicHips

    My comments:

    15 minutes ago I had no idea who Kay Hagan is. Because of your 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,” [Communications Director Dan] 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.” I have contributed $50 toward her campaign.

    The US is composed of people of all faiths – and many of none. Just meeting with atheists is a reason to not get elected?

    Bsackground: I am a 60 year old who has voted for a Democrat (Bill Bradley) exactly once. Now thanks to the bigotry of the Republican party I am voting solid Democrat – and contributing money. Congrads – bigots like you have made a life long Republican into a Democrat.

  • http://www.unmannedspaceflight.com Richard Hendricks

    I used the “Tell a Friend” feature of Kay’s donation website to send a message to Dole’s campaign. :) I’m not the wordsmith you guys are (I was tempted to plagiarize, but changed my mind, being a godless atheist and all), but here is my message:

    I just donated $100 to Kay Hagan’s campaign because of your hateful stance towards atheists. We are not trying to take over the US, we are trying to make the US in the image the founding fathers had for our great nation: A nation of equals, where all voices can be heard. There was a reason the writers of the constitution required that the first amendment to the constitution forbid any laws respecting an establishment of religion.

    I am an atheist, and instead of praying that you lose, I shall instead continue to donate to your competitor. Have a nice day.

  • http://forknowledge.wordpress.com forknowledge

    While I applaud everyone’s efforts, I’m a bit disturbed by those who are immediately siding with her opponent simply because she (essentially) insulted atheists. I may be getting the wrong idea, but that doesn’t seem like a good way of picking which candidate to support….

  • Siamang

    I may be getting the wrong idea, but that doesn’t seem like a good way of picking which candidate to support….

    All I’m doing is rewarding good behavior and punishing bad behavior.

    The voters of North Carolina will choose who they want to elect, not me.

  • Doug

    forknowledge thought,

    I’m a bit disturbed by those who are immediately siding with her opponent simply because she (essentially) insulted atheists.

    In a perfect world that might be true but, the United States is far from a perfect world. There are very good reasons to keep mythology completely out of consideration on decisions regarding the governing of a nation. Anyone who makes a statement such as Dole’s has no place in any government, except a theocracy.

    A theocracy is what the christians want. Voting against christian insanity may not be everything but it is a sufficiently good reason.

  • http://www.daylightatheism.org/ Ebonmuse

    Count another $100 for Kay Hagan, and I intend to send letters to both her campaign and Dole’s to let them know why. Thanks for posting this!

  • Pingback: A difference in values

  • Chris

    Kay Hagan just got $25 from me. I live in Washington, DC, but I may be moving to North Carolina sometime soon, so I did it both out of principle and self-interest.

  • http://theedger.org/author/chris-ray/ Chris Ray

    Limitless thanks for the shout-out, Hemant!

  • http://thegreenbelt.blogspot.com The Ridger

    forknowledge said

    I’m a bit disturbed by those who are immediately siding with her opponent simply because she (essentially) insulted atheists.

    Although single-issue voting is problematic, a quick look at On the Issues will show a lot of reasons to want Dole defeated. This is just a spark to get me, a non-North Carolinian, to pick this particular race to donate to.

  • http://atheists.meetup.com/157/ Shannon M Singleton

    Hi! I donated and sent the following email to Elizabeth Dole, Kay Hagan and all 430 members of my atheist Meetup.com group in Phoenix, AZ:

    To whom it may concern in the Elizabeth Dole campaign,

    My name is Shannon M. Singleton and I am an organizer for a local atheist group in Phoenix, AZ and I wanted to inform you that I took offense to your press release regarding the proposed actions of Kay Hagan, Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate seat in North Carolina. In your press release, you stated:

    “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,” [Communications Director Dan] 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.”

    Excuse me? The Secular Coalition of America is a group “bent on policies that would horrify most North Carolinians”??? You specifically (and correctly) state that the purpose of the Secular Coalition is:

    “the national lobby for atheists, humanists, freethinkers and other nontheistic Americans with the unique mission of protecting their civil rights.” (Secular Coalition For America, Press Release, 1/16/08)

    And you are right… the coalition is there specifically to protect our civil rights!! Can you imagine the backlash you would receive if you were chastising Mrs Hagan for associating with the 10% section of the population who refer to themselves as Jews? Or African Americans? You would be run out of town with such bigotted commentary such as that!

    But alas we still live in a country where the last unprotected minority are those sad, few non-believers who want nothing more than fair treatment in this great nation. However as the days go by, more and more of us are willing to stand up and speak out to let people like you know that we are not going to take this anymore.

    For your actions, I have made a donation to Kay Hagan’s campaign in the hopes of unseating you from your position as representative of your state in this country that stands for freedom and equality. I have also notified the 430 members in my group of the situation and have asked them to do the same (if they so desire).

    I hope that next time you will not disregard the impact that you can have by dismissing a proud, patriotic group of Americans simply because they do not believe in the same god as you do.

    Thank you for your time,

    -Shannon M. Singleton-
    Organizer – The Phoenix Atheists Meetup Group
    http://atheists.meetup.com/157/

  • Liz Marsh

    Atheists often represent the more well-educated, philosophical, community-oriented, open-minded, and accepting people in society. To raise prejudice against these people for an indirect political gain is shameful. It does not reflect well on Elizabeth Dole’s moral values.

  • Kay Mule’

    What ever happened to separation of church and state?
    Does my vote not count as I am an Atheist?
    It will be interesting to see if Kay Hagen can actually win after a nonsensical attack by Elizabeth Dole.

  • letusprosper

    shame on Ms. Dole . we all have the right to choose , religion, political parties and our beliefs in God or no God. Ms Dole u need to check yourself, i mean really.huh

  • Richard Wade

    It’s September 20. She was supposed to go on the 15th. So….Did she go? I can’t find anything about it on her website or on the Secular Coalition for America site or on the Godless Americans PAC site.

  • Pingback: What's up with Dole? - The Liberty Lounge Political Forums

  • Pingback: impiri » Blog Archive » Dole counts on bigotry against atheists in NC

  • Pingback: AudreyPodrey.com » Religulous

  • Zachary Way

    She went! And Dole is attacking her again! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ksWwMd9_CJc

    So glad to be voting for Hagan now…I wish I could just smack Dole in the face for this crap…

    REMEMBER…go out and vote! This is the only way we can voice that Atheist are strong in this state and that we do have a voice!


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X