Evidently sensing doom in District 3, the South Dakota Republican Party has decided to attack my religion… or lack thereof.
In a postcard sent to the day before church, the SDGOP tries to save Republican Rep. Al Novstrup by pointing out that his Democratic opponent in the District 3 Senate race, yours truly, “is an avowed atheist.”
Now, unlike several other statements in this postcard, that sentence is factually correct. I am an atheist. (Word note: I don’t need to say “avowed,” since by saying it, I am avowing it.) I do not believe in supernatural powers. But in the context (and that’s always what Novstrup and the SDGOP hide, context) of a postcard calling me a bad legislator, the South Dakota Republican Party is using that sentence to call my religious choice a negative that should inform citizens’ votes.
Fully informed voters will recall Article 6 of the United States Constitution:
…no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.
I don’t know what church Al Novstrup goes to, or how often or whether he goes to church. I don’t need to know, and neither do voters. Voters don’t need to know Al’s religious beliefs to see that he supports some bad public policies. Voters don’t need to know our religious beliefs to see that I can offer them better policy, better openness, and better representation in Pierre… regardless of what church they attend.
Related: Meanwhile, amidst the now four-card negative attacks from the SDGOP, the state Democratic Party backs its man in District 3 with this simple, positive postcard:
None of these folks seem worried that I’m going to interrupt their acts of worship. They all seem less worried about where I spend my Sunday mornings and how I’ll spend my weekdays when I’m in the Capitol working for all of the people of South Dakota.