Why is This Mayor Writing About God in Her Monthly Newspaper Column?

The Hancock Clarion is the local newspaper for residents in Hawesville, Kentucky (part of Hancock County). Like many small-town newspapers, the mayor writes a monthly column talking about local government issues, but what makes Mayor Rita Stephens‘ columns stand out is that she sprinkles them with God and Jesus:

The Freedom From Religion Foundation has compiled a short list (PDF) of her godly comments:

“We started out the month celebrating our Chief of Police ‘Buz’s’ birthday. I believe God wants us all to celebrate the day HE created us.

“We have had so many small water leaks this month, one of which caused a major mudslide on town hill. The good Lord works all things out.

“Jackie Logsdon and Amy Powell from the Kentucky Division of Water conducted our first Sanitary Sewer Survey. They will send the results next month. Say a prayer.

“My husband just celebrated two years free of addictions. Good job! Praise the Lord! We are so thankful.”

“My husband just celebrated two years free of addictions. Good job! Praise the Lord! We are so thankful.”

I close in giving thanks for my Lord and Savior Jesus Christian, my best friend. Who without HIM I am nothing, but with HIM all things are possible.

This wouldn’t be an issue if she wrote these as a private citizen, but she’s not. Her columns are even signed “Mayor Rita.” (You might not be able to see that on their website since the digital edition is behind a paywall.)

Can you imagine how much chaos would ensue if the mayor praised Allah in every other sentence? Or made random statements about how the budget passed and God didn’t cast a vote because He doesn’t exist?

Mayor Stephens has two choices: She can stop writing the column or she can step down as mayor. Given her inability to separate her faith from her politics and represent all the people in Hawesville, stepping down is the only sensible option.

Not surprisingly, the Hawesville City Council opens its meetings with prayers, too (PDF).

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.