Atheist running for mayor in Georgia.

Hey gang.  Need to finish up an editing project, so the posts today will be quick-hit news-type stuff.

First, an open atheist is running for mayor in LaGrange, GA.  Part of the reason is so he can repeal laws that grant special privilege to religion.

On Monday, August 26, 2013, Mike Smith, an open atheist, qualified to run for mayor of LaGrange, GA, where a city ordinance makes it a crime to laugh near a church. LaGrange city ordinance Sec. 35-1-6 (“Disturbing divine worship”) reads: “It shall be unlawful for any person to be engaged in loud talking or laughing, or any other disorderly conduct, in or near the entrance or vestibule of any church…”

“Sec. 35-1-6 improperly panders to religion,” Smith said. “There are other laws against being disorderly and making too much noise. Churches are not entitled to special laws to force people to respect them. This unconstitutional, unnecessary, and un-American ordinance is the first silly law we should repeal.”

Hope he wins.  :)

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • Jasper

    He’s nutzoid.

    That’s like going into a heavily racist state, trying to get those racists to elect you, so that you can then repeal the racist laws the racists set up.

    Good luck!

    • Jasper

      … oh, and do all that while being black.

  • Atheist Billboards

    Here is some video of Mike Smith. He’s a stand-up guy:

  • Art_Vandelay

    Yeah, I don’t see this going well for him but the more power to him.

  • johnnyal

    I guess they could start arresting christians post-mass based on that law. A lot of them hang around outside the church to gossip and such. I’m sure there’s some laughing and loud talking — especially from the children — going on.

  • Steve Willy

    “We are a religious people whose institutions presuppose a Supreme Being.” Freedom from Religion Foundation, Inc. v. City of Warren, 707 F.3d 686, 694 (6th Cir. 2013), quoting Zorach v. Clauson, 343 U.S. 306, 313; 72 S. Ct. 679 (1952).

    • baal

      dear god i needed a neckbearded Steve Willy post to get me through the afternoon

      ill need two before i even consider punctuation

      • Steve Willy

        How many before you consider the inescapable fact that atheism is a category error?

        • baal

          Hehe, I think my neckbeard has grown 3 inches thanks to CARM ministries and Steve Willy. Try it today.

          I had to look up your assertion to even know why it was relevant to a political race in GA. Turns out it’s not but I now see that it’s in the long line of insipid “gotcha atheist” arguments.

          Far from inescapable, I the atheist am not defining god. That imaginary being doesn’t spring from my mind. It’s up to you the believer to show why your imaginary being should be considered real. Working from the described properties you fabulists describe, we atheists say, ok evidence please for a being that fits the bill. Your “category error” statement (it’s not an argument just sitting there) is asserting that i can’t ask you for proof of the being that you claim. Right, then I’m done before we even start as under your argument, every imaginary being (including batman and my invisible friend) is a category error.

          • Steve Willy

            You have no idea what the hell you are even talking about and no intentionof learning, you Hitchens-Dawkins parroting, basement dwelling megadouche.

          • baal

            Thus spake Steve Willy’s neckbeard :

            You have no idea what the hell you are even talking about and no intentionof learning, you Hitchens-Dawkins. parrotingbasement dwelling. megadouche.

            And thusly Baal did reply:

          • Steve Willy

            And your entire worldview lies shattered at your feet. If you truly honor the gods of reason and logic half as much as you claim – indeed, if you believe in anything beyond your own solipsistic hedonism – you would recognize a moral obligation to place your face into your palm, step away from the device, find a quiet place, and rethink your life.

          • baal

            Oh, but I’m not solipsistic. I assert objective reality not only exists but that there is nothing supernatural in it. Further, you and I are animals in the natural world and no matter how much you want to believe in fantasy land after you die, you’re going to go poof like you never were once you are dead.

            I swear, however, if that I could just get another few inches on my neckbeard, i’d be able to not only clear the spiders out of the basement but also literally shatter the world. Steve “the neckbeard” Willy, make my neckbeard grow!

        • DavidMHart

          Do you even know what a category error is? It’s not ‘a statement which is incorrect’. It’s, roughly, a statement which ascribes one thing to a category it is logically impossible for it to belong to. Gods belong to two logically possible categories: entites that exist, and entities that don’t exist. This is also true of other supernatural beings like ghosts, fairies, vampires and so on.

          Therefore, for you to call atheism a ‘category error’ is, essentially, for you to assert that the non-existence of gods is logically impossible, while you live in a world in which not once in many thousands of years of trying has anyone devised a test that could demonstrate the existence of even one god, out of the myriads of gods that people have believed in.

          So, either a) you don’t know what you’re talking about (in which case, read the wiki I linked to)
          or b) you have some truly breathtaking chutzpah (in which case, you have no plausible reply to someone who says that theism is a category error – that, in this case, the category ‘gods’ cannot be a subset of the category ‘entities whose existence is logically possible – and that would get us nowhere.)

          • Steve Willy

            Its a catogory error to say God is subject to the material-reductionist concept of ‘proof,’ i.e. to treat God as a scienticfic hypothesis. God has always been described as spaceless, timeless, immaterial, etc. So yes, neckbeard boy, I know God Damn Well what a category error is. But thanks anyway for the pseudo-intellectual regurgitation, you Hitchens-Dawkins parroting basement dwelling megadouche.

          • DavidMHart

            Firstly, where in any of that comment did I ‘regurgitate’ any words from Hitchens or Dawkins?

            And secondly, if gods are not scientific hypotheses – if they are not beings that definitely either exist or don’t exist, and whose existence or non-existence are truth-claims for or against which some evidence could in principle be found (even if we are not currently able to find any), then the only logical alternative is that gods are hypotheses about which we can say absolutely nothing at all regarding whether or not they exist – or whether they are even coherent.

            That is to say, according to your own definition, if atheism is a category error, then so is every kind of theism, and the only position which could conceivably not be a category error is absolutely impartial agnosticism. You don’t get to have it both ways.

          • Steve Willy

            They are called metaphysics and philosophy, asswipe. Try stepping out of your material reductionist paradigm for 30 seconds before throwing stones.

          • DavidMHart

            How is it ‘reductionist’ to point out that if nothing could conceivably count as evidence against the existence of something, then nothing could conceivably count as evidence for it either?

            That’s all I’m saying: either it is possible for us, as humans, to make a judgement call about whether or not a particular god exists, or it isn’t. If it is possible, then gods are hypotheses about reality that we can gather data for and against (even if we can never amass conclusive proof one way or the other), and if they are not, then the people who claim either that they exist or that they don’t exist have no basis at all for making that claim, and the only people who aren’t making stuff up are the impartial agnostics.

          • Steve Willy

            The evidence for God comes from philosophy and metaphysics, and I think you tacitly know this. The fact that you pretend not to understand is what makes you a sophomoric pseudo-intellectual megadoucher.

          • DavidMHart

            So you’re saying there is evidence for gods, that comes from philosophy and metaphysics? Good, that means that it’s logically possible for evidence against gods to come from philosophy and metaphysics too. I’m sure you won’t have to look long to find philosophers who can offer you philosophical arguments against the existence of gods – after all, far more philosphers are atheists than are theists (see item 8 on that list) – and the percentage of philosphers who are atheists far outnumbers the population average who are atheists.

            This suggests (though it does not prove) that, not only is studying philosophy compatible with atheism, it is more likely than not to lead you to atheism.

            Once again – you cannot have it both ways – either philosophy is a valid way to examine whether or not there are gods, or it isn’t. If it is, then it’s just as valid a way of considering the nonexistence of gods as it is of considering their existence. If it isn’t, then you have absolutely no grounds at all from within philosophy for claiming that any gods do exist.

          • Steve Willy

            The philosophers who are atheists are doing shitty philosophy and are really slavishly following a material-reductionist scientific paradigm without actually confronting the fact. Let me put it this way: if philosophy is no threat to atheism then why are people like Lawrence Krauss so vehemently against the discipline even existing? Because philosophy done correctly (and outside the echo chamber of neck bearded academia) punches you in the balls.

          • DavidMHart

            Firstly, feel free to keep on calling me a neckbeard as much as you like, but I’m genuinely curious as to why you are so fixated on that term. Why is it so important to you to call the people who disagree with you ‘neckbeards’ as opposed to any other sartorial comment?

            So you’re saying that the majority of the world’s top philosophers are doing shitty philosophy? Well, so be it, but they are doing philosophy, so it is clearly possible for philosphers to have a reasonable disagreement about the existence of gods, and it therefore cannot be true that the claim that gods don’t exist is a category error. Maybe the majority of philosphers are wrong about the non-existence of gods, but that is not the same thing as the question being a category error, awhich was your claim that I originally challenged.

            As regards Lawrence Krauss, I’ve not read his take on the matter, but I suspect that his problem with the discipline is not so much the conclusions that they reach as the tendency to take in very little data from the real universe, whereas his field is almost entirely predicated on harvesting data from the real universe.

            The real universe is the only thing we have to go on when trying to figure out what is true and what isn’t. Anything else is mere speculation, and you might hit on a claim that happens to be true but that we don’t yet have any data for, but there is no way to tell that claim apart from one that you just made up. The claim that there exists one or more intelligent supernatural beings that created the universe is a claim for which we have no good evidence from the universe, and, while it cannot be disproven, it cannot be told apart from the imaginary. That is to say, your guess is as good as mine when it comes to beings that we can’t detect, even in principle – so you have no basis at all for making the strong claim that such beings exist. The absolute best you can do is to say we cannot yet conclusively rule them out.

          • Steve Willy

            Thanks again for another mindless regirgitation of New Atheist talking points and mantras. If you really want to know why I call people neck bearded, take a long hard look in the mirror you Hitchens-Dawkins parroting basement dwelling megadouche. I think you tacitly know that its time for you to stfu.

          • baal

            Steve, you just broke a commandment by taking the lord’s name in vain.

          • baal

            Steve’s been over at the CARM website picking up trolling points. It’s clear that Steve’s neckbeard keeps him from understanding what he’s reading or knowing that the real function of the idiotic ‘gotcha!’ on that site is for group identity formation (much like hazing).

          • DavidMHart

            [googles 'CARM']

            Oh, I see. I’m amused by the monumental arrogance of their header “CARM teaches Christian theology and deals with heresy like Roman Catholicism, Islam, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormonism, atheism, and wicca.”

            Still, despite the inexplicable obsession with neckbeards, I refuse at this point to give up on the spark of humanity in Steve Willy – at least he seems to have stopped posting the same copy&paste screed that had almost nothing to do with the article he was commenting on.

          • baal

            I’m happy you’re spelling out the problems rationally. I’m not that willing this time around and am taking the intellectual slumming approach of the neckbeard. It’s an entire -fu.