I don’t recall American Atheists giving out a “Courageous Elected Official of 2008” award… but that’s besides the point.
American Atheists Inc., a national nonprofit educational group, has named Bothwell its Courageous Elected Official of 2009. Yep, Cecil is now a CEO.
Bothwell will speak and be honored at the organization’s national convention April 2-4 in Newark, N.J.
Ed Buckner, president of AA, said the group created the award specifically to honor Bothwell and his “courageous stance.”
“There’s no way to measure this, so we can only speak from speculation, but it’s our best guess that if you took 10,000 elected officials, there are probably 500 or 1,000 in office who are atheists or agnostic,” Buckner said. “But almost none of them will say anything to let that fact be known. In fact, it’s quite courageous for Mr. Bothwell not to do the oath where you have to swear on the Bible.”
I think this is a great move by AA to both capitalize on the publicity and honor one of the few openly non-religious elected officials we have in this country.
How did Bothwell respond to getting the award?
Regarding the award, Bothwell said he’s “enormously honored to be recognized in this way, but also sad that simple honesty about who I am and what I believe seems unusual or worthy of particular note.” He said he’s got a couple hundred e-mails and calls and even seen himself hailed as a hero.
“And all I have done is be true to myself,” he said. “It doesn’t feel particularly courageous. It just seems normal, and I’d hope that all elected officials would do the same.
That’s a classy answer from a guy who deserves the praise.