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.

  • corhen

    I would say she has three choices. Stop writing religion into the column, stop writing the column, or step down as mayor..

    • Mitch

      Agreed. The first option, in my opinion, would be the easiest.

      • David Kopp

        Knowing a lot of fundies, the second would actually probably be easier. Because they’ve allowed religious woo to take over every part of their being.

      • corhen

        I think the First would be best for all parties involved. She gets to keep her religion, and the position she was voted into, and a direct line of communication to the public…

  • Art_Vandelay

    When I need a reminder of how to love those that seem unlovable, I’ll read Matthew 5:44.

    When I think I am better than someone else, I’ll read Luke 18:9-14

    Or you could just try not being such a douche.

    • Psychotic Atheist

      Yeah – Matt 5:44 doesn’t remind us how to love someone that seems unlovable. It just orders you to do it.

      As for the Luke quote – it’d be sweet if the verse wasn’t about how one person is better than another (the tax collecter is better (NIV uses: exalted) than the Pharisee).

  • islandbrewer

    …my Lord and Savior Jesus Christian, my best friend. Who without HIM I am nothing, but with HIM all things are possible.

    I don’t know which is more enraging, the injection of religion into the government sphere, or the grammar and sentence construction.

    • Paul D.

      Today I learned Jesus’ last name was “Christian”.

  • Hat Stealer

    Would she be okay if she stopped writing them as the mayor, and simply signed them as ‘Rita’?

  • rwlawoffice

    She doesn’t lose her freedom of speech just because she is mayor. If the city doesn’t like that she is a Christian and mentions it in her writings they can vote her out. The fact that FFRF has complained shows that they really do not care about free speech, only the speech they agree with.

    • Art_Vandelay

      You can’t use a government position to proselytize and/or promote any specific religion. We’ve been through this like a zillion times.

    • Amor DeCosmos

      Oh rwlawoffice, you are always so cute and funny when you come blustering in here about freedom of speech, and yet have no understanding at all about your own constitution.

      Listen to what Art_Vandelay is saying, and re read allllll the other postings where we try to explain separation of church and state to you.

      Don’t you get tired of coming here and having everyone mock your lack of understanding of the law?

      • rwlawoffice

        It is so cute when you guys try to mock. Shows your true colors. I understand the separation of church and state. There is nothing that indicates that her column in the paper is an official governmental action. So your comment that this is a clear violation of the separation of church and state is mistaken.

        • martinrc

          The part where it starts “hello from city hall” indicates that she is using it as a governmental action.

          • Amor DeCosmos

            “Hawesville City Hall Happenings” is the title of the column and it is signed, “Mayor Rita” – the opening and the closing both indicate that this column is directly coming from the Mayor’s office and was written by the Mayor, representing herself as the Mayor. Let me make that clear for you, rwlawoffice: Rita Stephens, acting as the Mayor and writing from the Mayor’s office, is writing an article that promotes one religion over all others and promotes belief in the supernatural above non belief in the supernatural. How is that not part of an official governmental action?

            Now, you are supposedly a lawyer, so maybe you can use some language tricks to prove that War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, and Ignorance is Strength, but I think an average reader would conclude that the Rita Stephens is promoting Christianity from her position as Mayor.

            • WoodyTanaka

              You are wrong. The fact is that there is no indication that this is part of her official functions. She can call it whatever she wants and identify herself as the mayor, because that is a fact; she is the mayor. But she is also a citizen with First Amendment rights.

              • David Kopp

                Are you stupid? She is mayor, and cannot use that position to advance a certain religion. She can identify herself by her NAME if she wants to make personal statements. If she identifies herself as the mayor and the column is about city happenings, it is obviously a government endorsement of religion.

                • WoodyTanaka

                  No, jerk, I’m simply not ignorant of what the law actually is, and not what a bunch of Google-U lawyers think it should be.

                • David Kopp

                  You actually are. Employers can fire employees for representing them in a bad light, even off the clock, if they claim to speak for the company. Saying that she’s the mayor and titling her column as city hall happenings is pretty cut and dry that she’s somehow leveraging her official position, and a representative of it. You don’t get to have private opinions using the weight of the public office you hold.

                • WoodyTanaka

                  You know what you call someone who references employment law to try to prove a contention under Constitutional law? Someone who doesn’t have the slightest idea what the hell he’s talking about.

          • WoodyTanaka

            No, it doesn’t. It simply acknowleging the fact that she is mayor. But even with that position, she still has free speech rights.

          • keddaw

            So if she started “Hello from the Vatican” you’d assume she was acting in her official capacity as Pope?

            • Willy Occam

              Hell yes, if she signed it “Pope Rita” at the bottom.

      • WoodyTanaka

        rwlawoffice is correct on this issue, as a legal matter.

    • C Peterson

      Actually, no freedoms are absolute. All “rights” are subject to restriction when they run up against other “rights”… our own or others.

      When you enter into public office, you most certainly do lose some of your freedom of speech.

      • WoodyTanaka

        But unless this is a part of her jo. (and there is no indication it is) she doesn’t lose the freedom to write a column in the paper saying whatever she wants, even if she got the column because she is mayor.

        • C Peterson

          I’d say we are in a gray area here. Is she, or is she not speaking in her capacity as mayor, or in some way that a reasonable person might interpret as such?

          I guess that’s why we have courts.

          • WoodyTanaka

            There is no indication that this column is an official function of the mayor’s office. The FFRF only claims she is “representing” the city, etc. in the column, but that’s a weak-tea conclusory statement, because the First Amendment protects her right to say whatever she wants (not really, but practically; she can’t slander or give out troop movements), so long as she is not speaking in an official capacity. She is a mayor speaking as a citizen, not as mayor. Unless there is some bizarre ordinance which makes this column a function of the mayor’s office, this is a loser for the FFRF.

            • C Peterson

              this is a loser for the FFRF

              I’m not so sure. My sense of this is that she is speaking on behalf of her office. Others may disagree. In any case, it isn’t a matter of fact, but opinion. Which, as I said, is why we have courts.

              • WoodyTanaka

                No, it’s a matter of legal judgment, which is why we have courts and which is why said court will almost certainly find no violation.

                • C Peterson

                  Legal judgment exists to settle differences of opinion. I could see this going either way.

                • WoodyTanaka

                  There is enough that if someone brought suit, the attornry probably wouldn’t get sanctioned by the court for bringing a frivilous suit. They would almost certainly lose on the merits.

            • Matt D

              “She is a mayor speaking as a citizen”
              .
              How do you determine this?

              • WoodyTanaka

                Because there is no indicia of an official act and many indicia of a private act.

                • David Kopp

                  Saying that she’s they mayor and that she’s writing news from city hall aren’t indicative of official acts? What would she have to do to actually do an official act, then? Is the only official act she does signing a law? If she identifies herself as the mayor, she is taking on that title as a representative. Just like if I identify myself by my employer, I am representing them, but if I use my name, I’m not.

                • WoodyTanaka

                  Not in this context. Something more than simply opining while mayor. No, and mayors don’t sign laws, generally. No, she is merely stating a fact; she is the mayor. Employment law has nothing to do with this constitutional issue and your repeatedly bringing it up indicates you simply have no idea what you are talking about.

    • Nox

      A person still has their own right to free speech as an individual while holding an office. But a person acting in the capacity of an elected office is not only acting as a representative of themselves. They are acting as a representative to all their constituents. When a mayor says something as mayor they are speaking as the city. When an elected public official makes religious statements as an elected public official they are making those religious statements on behalf of every person in their district.

      You only have religious freedom if the government can’t decide what religion you are. This applies to christians as much as atheists.

      • hancock citizen

        When she first came into office she made everyone stand in a circle and pray during work hours every morning. she let go a woman who did not want to pray with them because she felt uneasy about it as it was not her religion. She allowed her not to pray with them but was told to stop working and be very quiet while they prayed. When the girl left on maternity leave shortly after she was let go, she claimed they were over staffed but then hired two people she knew for the job. Rita also tried to stop the her from getting unemployment even though the woman’s husband was laid off.

    • Rain

      Dear rwlawoffice, obviously she is obsessive and it’s going to interfere with her duties. Not to mention she’s supposed to be representing everyone of all faiths or not faiths. She’s disrespecting half of her constituents.

    • Kodie

      She is interfering with her constituents’ freedom of worship. She is not allowed to use her capacity as mayor to suggest everyone pray that the water tests come back clean, or praise the lord or, for fuck’s sake, invoke his name when talking about leaks and mudslides. She’s allowed to be happy for her husband, that’s about it (and that’s not city news, though, and should probably be taken out of her column addressing the city).

      People who live in her city should be free from that sort of evangelism from their fucking mayor. This is where the “small town” people cry because someone from outside came to bully them to shut their mouths – because they want to isolate themselves from America. They don’t want to acknowledge that anyone else lives there and nobody minds when the mayor talks like this. In her mind, there isn’t anyone who lives there who doesn’t think like she does. You fail at spotting this and protecting the rights of others. You only care about Christians.

      • rwlawoffice

        If there are people in her town that do not appreciate her doing this then they can vote her out. Those people may very well be Christians who do not appreciate it. But the answer is not to take away her First amendment rights of free speech as much as the FFRF would like it to be.

  • new_atheist

    Eh. I’m not too sure about this one. I mean, even though she signs them “Mayor Rita,” she isn’t functioning in a Governmental capacity when writing this column. This column isn’t a Government proceeding, it isn’t paid for by the taxpayers, and it isn’t any kind of binding law.

    It’s an editorial piece by someone who happens to be Mayor. Because she is Mayor, I think she has ever right to use the title, even when she isn’t functioning in a Governmental capacity. So, what’s the problem?

    Are we really saying that Government officials can’t espouse their own nonsensical beliefs on their own time? I should hope not. Is the issue that she shouldn’t use the title “Mayor” when signing off? That just seems a bit pedantic.

    As someone who is staunchly in favor of the separation of church and state, I’m not seeing any sort of violation here. But, maybe someone can make a good argument to convince me.

    • Art_Vandelay

      So she had that column before she became mayor? I was under the impression that she gets that space specifically because she’s the mayor.

      “Hello from the City Hall”?

      • new_atheist

        Even if she got the column because she was mayor, that doesn’t change the fact that she isn’t acting in an official “Mayoral” capacity when writing this column. As I said, the newspaper is privately-owned. It isn’t setting law or holding a Governmental proceeding. It is simply her expressing her views in a private forum.

        The fact that this private forum was granted to her because of her position is kind of irrelevant. It’s a bit of a stretch to say that while she is mayor, she is prohibited from ever speaking about her religious views and acknowledging the elected position everyone knows she holds.

        • Art_Vandelay

          It’s a press release from the mayor’s office. It’s unfathomable to me that anyone would read that as her acting as a private citizen.

          She’s not prohibited from ever speaking about her religious views. She’s got plenty of time to just be lovely Rita, metermaid.

          • Anna

            No, it’s a column in a privately-owned newspaper, not any kind of official press release from the mayor’s office.

            If that were the case, I’d see a problem. To me, it seems like she’s acting as a private citizen in a private newspaper, writing about her job as mayor and the happenings at city hall.

            She does identify herself as mayor, which I suppose is what makes it a bit sticky, but how is this different from a mayor participating in a private religious convention? Surely, she shouldn’t have to hide the fact that she’s mayor or be barred from speaking about her job on her own time.

            • Art_Vandelay

              but how is this different from a mayor participating in a private religious convention?

              Does she get up on the altar at church and lead off with “Hello from City Hall?”

              • Anna

                If she did, would that not be okay in a private venue? Religious politicians do it all the time.

                The only thing that bothers me is when they do it at government functions. I don’t think they should be talking about their god or Jesus or prayer at government ceremonies or in official documents.

                • Art_Vandelay

                  Okay, so she’s writing this column from City Hall which means that we can presume that she’s working, right? If she’s writing this when she’s working, is it not part her government elected job and is she not collecting taxpayer money for doing it?

                • WoodyTanaka

                  Who said those facts are true? Prove she actually wrote it on government time. “Hello from City Hall” could simply be a reference to the fact she is mayor.

                • Art_Vandelay

                  Who said those facts are true?

                  Well facts are generally true just by virtue of being facts but how do I know they’re facts? I don’t. I’m presuming and perhaps unfairly…you’re correct. I have this nasty habit which I’ve been called out on multiple times today…of taking words to mean what they mean. I still find it hard to fathom that anyone would read this as not being endorsed by the mayor’s office.

                • WoodyTanaka

                  Oh, sorry, I forgot that you only play a lawyer on the internet… Who says that those statements you’ve asserted are factual?

                  And no, you aren’t taking the words for what they mean, you are badly construing them to try to reach the conclusion you want to reach.

                  Because a reasonable reader would not read this as a document endorsed by the mayor’s office, but as a statement by the woman who is the mayor, and under our system, she has the right to have printed whatever sentiments she wants and can get the publisher to agree to print.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  Oh hey, reasonable reader here.

                  And I think this is unacceptable. She has this column space 1) because she is the mayor and 2) in order to talk about city government. The column space doesn’t inhere to her as a person but to whichever person happens to inhabit the office of mayor. That means that Ms. Stephens, in writing the column, is constrained to act in her persona as mayor when writing the column. And what that means is that talking about God in this particular column is inappropriate, unprofessional, and unconstitutional.

                  If she had another column, or random Op-Ed space, or letter to the editor, she could say whatever she wanted in her guise as private citizen Rita Stephens. When writing a column that is “from the mayor”, though, she must put on her hat as Mayor Rita Stephens who is not allowed to establish religion.

                • WoodyTanaka

                  No, you’re not. The reasonable reader is a legal test, not a person. And the two points you mention are legally irrelevant and the argument you make is not what the law is. That she is speaking and is mayor does not mean her speech is official action.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  That she is speaking in her official capacity as mayor, as evidenced by the fact that the column begins with “Hello from City Hall!” and is signed Mayor Rita, is extremely legally relevant. It is, in fact, the fact that makes her actions unconstitutional as opposed to protected free speech.

                • WoodyTanaka

                  It is your contention that she is speaking in her official capacity, and that contention does not become fact simply because you italicize it, not is it shown because she used that phrase and identified herself as the mayor, because neither of those things alone, or together, is enough to demonstrate that this is an official act, as opposed to an act by one who holds an office.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  I tend to take people at their word. If someone says “I am acting in my capacity as mayor”, I believe them. When Rita Stephens begins an article with a greeting from City Hall and signs off with Mayor Rita, she’s proclaiming loudly that she’s acting in her official capacity as mayor.

                  She is not merely prohibited from establishing religion in “official acts”. She is prohibited from establishing religion by anything she does in her official capacity as mayor, including writing updates on city politics in the newspaper. That is not the job of Ms. Rita Stephens, private citizen; that is the job of Mayor Rita Stephens. The job (writing the column) goes to whoever is mayor, not to writer-Rita-Stephens-who-happens-to-also-be-mayor. If Paula Smith was mayor, she’d be writing this column instead, because it’s something the mayor does. As I said before, what that means is that talking about God in this particular column, written by the mayor to update her constituents, is inappropriate, unprofessional, and unconstitutional.

                • WoodyTanaka

                  “I tend to take people at their word.”
                  Who cares what you do? The law doesn’t view this issue the same way you do.

                  The fact that she is mayor and is writing about being mayor doesn’t her acts official acts. The law may not be what you want it to be, and you’re free to deny reality in favor of your fantasy all you want.

                • Kodie

                  Why would she be talking as a private citizen about what is going on in city hall? She is using the column to address the citizens about what is going on in the city. Like, is this paper any different from Twitter or facebook? You make an official account on a privately owned media and make statements from your office. She is acting in official capacity as far as I can tell and that newspaper is her outlet, her public statement as mayor. There is no reason to believe this is just her hobby. She wants to reach out to the people, and this is how she’s doing that.

                • WoodyTanaka

                  And none of that would make this an official act, because as a citizen, she is entitled under the first Amendment to give commentary on what is happening in the city, the same as any other citizen.

                • Kodie

                  Other citizens don’t represent the city in any official capacity. Mayors are allowed to have a religion, and that religious belief is allowed to be known. She’s certainly allowed to attend church and people could recognize her as the mayor while at church. She can be religious and people can know her to be religious. But she can’t use the platform of mayor to make religious expressions and violate everyone else’s freedom. She is not her office except when she is, and her office is not allowed to violate the 1st amendment. She is not the victim, she is the perpetrator of the violation as soon as she makes the column “mayor business” – news from city hall, written by the mayor. You are just willfully ignorant.

                • WoodyTanaka

                  And here she is not representing the city in any official capacity. She is writing as a non-official act as someone who happens to be mayor. Nothing in writing a column while mayor, even if she identifies herself as mayor and discusses town business makes this a government act.

                  “You are just willfully ignorant.”

                  No, I have years of training and experience in this area to actually know what I’m talking about.

                • Kodie

                  So if she wrote this on twitter, it wouldn’t be official either? She is publishing an open notice to her constituents as the officer of her city. So you say you have years of training – in what? If the law, then at least we know you can cover shit in roses, but you won’t convince me.

                • WoodyTanaka

                  If she wrote it on a private twitter feed it is fully protected, without question.

                  “She is publishing an open notice to her constituents as the officer of her city.”

                  No, she is publishing this as a citizen who happens to hold that office. That does not make it an official act.

                  “but you won’t convince me.”

                  Which just goes to show that religious communities have no monopoly on irrational people who deny reality based on their own ignorance and their fantasies about what should be.

                • JWH

                  If she spreads religion the Official City Twitter Account, that’s unconstitutional. But if she runs a private witter account under the name “Mayor Rita,” I’d say she’s just fine.

                • allein

                  If she wasn’t using her official governmental title (a title which she does not take with her when she leaves office), I would agree with you. By using the title on her personal [whatever platform], she is at the very least giving the appearance of an official governmental voice.

                • WoodyTanaka

                  The test for constitutionality isn’t “appearance.”

                • allein

                  Good thing I wasn’t making an argument for its constitutionality, then. I was simply pointing out why I think it’s inappropriate.

                • WoodyTanaka

                  Well then it is on you to make that clear because JWH, who you were responding to, is discussing constitutiionality.

                • allein

                  I’m sorry I wasn’t clearer.

                • JWH

                  Slight problem. What if she characterizes it as a campaign communication? Then the “Mayor Rita” account is unquestionably political speech that receives the highest protection under the First Amendment. Of course, that also gets into campaign finance law, and I really don’t think it would be productive for us to get into those weeds.

                • WoodyTanaka

                  @JWH, you are correct in that analysis.

                • JWH

                  Of course I am. But I don’t see an answer to one issue that would settle this question. What is the provenance of the column?

                  Is it:

                  a) A courtesy that the local newspaper extends to the person who is mayor;

                  b) Advertorial copy bought and paid for by city government; or,

                  c) something else entirely?

                  If it’s a courtesy that the local newspaper extends to whoever is mayor, I’d say that the freedom here lies entirely with the newspaper and with Mayor Rita.

                  If the city government pays the newspaper for column inches each week … then, well, that creates a problem because the column arguably becomes an official city government communication.

                • WoodyTanaka

                  Well, of course there are a number of factual scenarios which, if true, could make this a government act, but no evidence that any of them are true, and the case is presented as you set out as option “a.”

                • Art_Vandelay

                  And no, you aren’t taking the words for what they mean, you are badly construing them to try to reach the conclusion you want to reach.

                  The name of the column is “City Hall Happenings.” It leads off with “Hello from City Hall.” I’m twisting her words by presuming that she’s writing this from City Hall?

                  Look, I could be wrong but I think you’re giving this person far too much credit. If she can’t take Al Jeeziz out of her pants long enough to write a column that sums up what’s happening in City Hall, perhaps she shouldn’t be mayor.

                • WoodyTanaka

                  No you are twisting it to mean that it is an official government act or the column is a government document.

                  And you are clearly letting your hatred of religion get in the way of understanding the extent to which those who are public officials and who have religious opinions are permitted to express them.

                • pRinzler

                  Could Art and Woody and everyone agree that, regardless of everything else, if the mayor writes the articles while at her office, or on city time, then they would not be appropriate?

                • WoodyTanaka

                  It would depend. Like many professional people who are paid salary and keep no set hours, she may have some leeway to do personal business while at the office. If she is permitted to, for example, write a letter to a friend while sitting at her desk, then penning this there would be okay because it does not, by the fact it occurred there, make it an official action.

                  That being said, they would be stupid if they do not haves rules in place to prevent personal business from being done in the mayor’s office.

                • Anna

                  I don’t think she’s actually writing it at city hall. That’s just the name of the column, which appears to be about giving updates on what’s happening in the local government.

                  Even if she did write it sitting in her office, I don’t actually see a problem. People do non-work related things at work all the time. If an atheist mayor were to write blog posts about atheism while in his office, I don’t see that as markedly different from him making Facebook updates or playing around with his personal Twitter account. As long as it’s not interfering with his job and there’s no confusion between the public and the private role, of course.

                • Art_Vandelay

                  She’s communicating with her constituents about what is happening in the town. This is probably the most mayorish thing she even does in a town of 200 people. I’m absolutely blown away that some of you don’t see this as her acting as mayor.

                • Anna

                  I guess I don’t see a huge problem because she’s not acting in an official governmental capacity. The newspaper isn’t owned by the government, and the column isn’t an official release from the mayor’s office.

                  It’s a muddy area, but on the totem pole of church-state issues, I think this is pretty far down. There are so many situations where the wrongdoing is much more obvious and clearly illegal.

        • John

          I agree with new_atheist. I don’t have a problem with this.

        • Kodie

          She seems to be using her column as a way to address the residents of the city and give them updates as to what’s going on about town – like the sewer tests and the mudslides, and letting them know it’s the Police Chief’s birthday. Plus, for some reason, her husband’s sobriety.

          She has put on her mayor hat for the column and can’t go two sentences without compulsively invoking the lord. Let’s pray that the sanitary sewer survey comes back clean! That’s really a mayor there – let’s pray that our waterworks dept. did their job correctly and they say our shit is clean. Results come back next month, I guess there is nothing else they can do in the meantime?

          • WoodyTanaka

            Yes, she is discussing the events in the city, just as any citizen has the right to discuss the happenings of the city in the newspaper. Just because she is mayor, she does not lose those rights.

            And the “some reason” for her discussing her husband’s sobriety is because this is a column by her as a citizen, writing about what she thinks, both about public issues and private, as is her right under the First Amendment. ( It an anomaly to you because you are so hell-bent on finding this unconstitutional that you blank out at this evidence because it goes directly against the conclusion you want to reach, whether it is the correct one or not.)

      • new_atheist

        However, I will say that the fact the Hawesville City Council opens its meetings with prayer…that is a problem.

    • Nikita

      I’m betting she writes this column during work hours on work computers. That counts as tax payer time…. of course I’m typing this at work so who am I to judge. ;)

  • Rain

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

    It’s a strategy known as “godbotting”. It insinuates a political endorsement from “the Dude” himself. And I don’t mean that one movie with Jeff Bridges in it. I mean the big guy that starts with a “J”. And I don’t mean Jeff Bridges.

    • Mark W.

      “I mean the big guy that starts with a “J”. And I don’t mean Jeff Bridges.”

      John Goodman?

      • Rain

        That’s the one! That’s the big guy lol.

        • Castilliano

          So “Good” as in God, man is in ‘everyman’, so ‘Goodman’ means, of course, Jesus who was preceded by ‘John’.

          OMG, he’s the NT in one package! :)

          Cheers.

  • Savoy47

    “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.”

    Her God creates people the day they’re born?????

    • Mitch

      Maybe I missed something in sex ed. class, but I’m pretty sure parents have more to do with our “creation” than god…

    • Nikita

      Well that puts a kink in the anti-choice agenda.

    • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

      Maybe she means God wants us all to celebrate the day that Chief Buz created us. That’d make about as much sense as the rest of her blatherings about Sky Spook.

  • Rain

    “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.”

    Wow, she just can’t miss an opportunity to “godbot” can she? No matter how much of a stretch it is. Lol that’s hilarious. Actually it’s kinda scary. Obsessive-compulsive maybe? I’m kinda worried about her.

  • Alan E.

    She must be pro-choice if the day we are created is the day we come out of the womb, not the moment of conception.

    • Whirlwitch

      You’d really think pregnancy would be a lot different if a baby is created on the day it is born. Not to mention that abortions become not only completely fine by anyone’s standards, but seemingly also rather paradoxical.

  • Smiles

    Any person in a place of public authority should be held to a higher standard. They are not representing only themselves and their own beliefs.

    How different is it when a politician gets caught sending dick-pics? Were they simply any Average Joe…the kind of Joe that doesn’t represent a city, county, state, country…no one would care. It is because they are speaking/acting on behalf of the public that they are held to a different standard than the public.

    No excuses, they literally signed up for it.

  • Mark W.

    I’m not surprised in the least that a small town paper wood let the mayor write her god blog, and I don’t really care much. What really gets to me, is that they would let an obviously terrible writer take up space in their paper.

  • Ogre Magi

    This kind of crap is so common in the South, I barely even notice it

  • mittendrin

    And to add insult to injury, that “Happenings” title font is Comic Sans!

  • Librepensadora

    First clue to what is really going on with the mayor is her statement “My husband just celebrated two years free of addictions.” This suggests any number of questions: What was her husband addicted to? Does she include psychological addictions–like pornography–in her definition? Was he an addict when they met, married? When and how did she find out? Is she celebrating two years free of being an enabler?

    She sounds like some twelve-step people I know: They internalize the philosophy that only that “higher power” can save you, so if they (or someone they love) gets saved from addiction, they can’t thank and praise that higher power enough, especially if the higher power is Jesus.

  • The Other Weirdo

    She is using Comic Sans, therefore her argument is invalid.

    • UWIR

      She’s
      a walking cliché.

  • Paul (not the apostle)

    Let me see, So god took a bunch of small water leaks and “worked out ” a major mudslide. After that logic its a slippery slope and all downhill from there.

    • Whirlwitch

      You get a mudslide caused by a water leak, you certainly are going to have a slippery slope.

      “god took a bunch of small water leaks” – my inner 8-year-old just collapsed giggling over “god took a leak”.

  • The Other Weirdo

    What exactly is it that she’s thanking the Lord for? Didn’t Jesus say not to worry about the future or store food in order to be His followers? If she has had to raise water rates, doesn’t that mean she doesn’t trust Jesus to take care of her and her city?

  • http://an-expatriate-in-cambridge.blogspot.com The Expatriate

    Sorry, but I don’t see any problem here. She signs the column as mayor because that’s her bloody title! So long as she isn’t using public resources to put out the column, I have no objection.

    Seriously, some people need to get a life.

  • duke_of_omnium

    De minimus non curat blogs.

    If this is the greatest evil in Kentucky, then they are a truly fortunate state which doesn’t have senators like McConnell and Rand Paul — no, wait, strike that.

  • Robster

    How come they need a council when they’ve got the the baby jesus onside? Surely every infrastructure issue, law and order issue even leak issues could be taken care of by god, baby jesus or even the holy spook with a wee prayer? Why stuff about mayor? Get on your knees now and spend the rest of your term waiting, waiting errr…waiting.

  • Tel
  • dewNOTbelieve

    I am not a lawyer. I am therefore basing my comments on a layperson’s understanding of the first amendment, which says:

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

    First question: Is she a member of congress?

    Second question: did she in any way make a law respecting an establishment of religion, or did she just make statements in public – possibly in her capacity as mayor – that allows others to infer what religion she practices?

    Third question: did any part of her statements in any way imply that anyone else was prohibited from practicing a different belief?

    Although I may not personally like what she did, I can’t see that she did anything illegal.

    • allein

      The 14th amendment extends that “Congress shall make no law” to the state and local governments, and it applies to any government entities endorsing religion, includings things like school prayer and the like (even if it’s not “required”). This is why public school teachers can’t lead students in prayer even if the students are given the option to opt out. While there may be an argument to be had over whether this is strictly her acting as a private citizen or as a representative of the government, I would say even if she is technically speaking only for herself, it certainly gives the impression of being a religious endorsement by the office of the mayor (what with the “Hello from City Hall” greeting, and her signing off using her official title), and not simply a private citizen with a newspaper column. And that should be a no-no.

  • Griff

    Not to be construed as an endorsement of her opinions, style, or politics, but not only do I see no violation of any sort here, I don’t even know why it is noteworthy unless you are considering voting for her. There are real violations of separation that require fights and legal action from the FFRF and AU. This isn’t one of them. Stuff like this is our equivalent of Christians shouting “Persecution!” when someone at Target says “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.” It just makes us look petty and dumb.

  • JWH

    Yes. The city government is going to collapse because the mayor thanks God on the police chief’s birthday.

  • L. Young

    Oh, that’s awful. She was elected based on who she was; so, now she can’t be who she is? I am willing to bet that those who put her in office were not in the dark about her faith – if she was a vocal then as she is now. Let her be who she is! Since when is it offensive to talk about God? That’s what this country is based on. Have you ever thought that someone’s offence at her faith would offend her? Is this a hate crime against Christianity.

  • UWIR

    In a similar vein, there’s this

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/publiccatholic/2013/07/christian-in-a-post-christian-world-how-should-we-handle-attacks-from-atheist-internet-trolls/

    While she doesn’t write it as Representative Hamilton, she does mention her position, and it’s rather disturbing that a State Representative is writing such vitriol about a minority group (and proudly declaring that she’ll delete any comment she doesn’t like, such as mine, which quoted someone in the comments for one of her other posts threatening atheists with physical violence).


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X