Insight: Alabama's quest for equality
In a government of the people and for the people, a number of groups have done quite well in getting the majority to accept that they are indeed people worthy of participating in the political process. No more do black citizens fear the night riders with guns and torches should they dare to show up at City Hall with a petition. LGBT folks are getting elected in greater numbers, and there are no laws barring them from holding public office.
Certainly, these groups still face challenges in achieving equality in the political and other arenas in U.S. life. However, despite the fact that our Constitution states “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States,” seven states ban atheists from holding office. And while Alabama is not one of the places that have these unconstitutional provisions as law, bigots are hiding behind false e-mail accounts to drive out those who they believe are unworthy to participate in government.
Amanda Scott, 21, is a student at Faulkner State Community College. On June 19, she testified before her local county commission against a resolution to display a plaque reading “In God We Trust” at the Mobile Government Plaza. When the commission voted 2-1 to approve the plaque, Amanda testified once more.
This time, she spoke up to support a proposal that would allow other individuals and groups to put up their own plaques. Scott, along with the Mobile atheist community, suggested an “In Reason We Trust” plaque to accompany the pro-religion sign piece. Once again, the commission voted against the requests of the non-religious constituents.