I am writing today to announce the closure of the New Mexico Independent. After three and a half years of operation in New Mexico, the board of the American Independent News Network, has decided to shift publication of its news…
ABQ City Councilor Harris responds to NMI on “atheist” attack on challenger
Earlier today, we reported that Albuquerque City Councilor Don Harris had sent out a piece of campaign mail attacking his challenger in the District 9 race, David Barbour, for being an atheist, saying “[Barbour] is a donor to Atheist organizations and speaker at Atheist events…”
Harris responded to our post with information indicating that Barbour was a member of a Unitarian Universalist congregation, who gave a talk on atheism and donated money to a scholarship in honor of Charles Darwin. In addition, our original post suggested that Harris used a photo of Barbour, wearing a beard and a beret, that did not seem to match the clean-cut image on the candidate’s Web site. But Harris points out that he took the photo from a piece of literature created by Barbour himself.
In an e-mail to NMI, Harris wrote:
A candidate’s mail is certainly a fair topic of criticism. However, I wish you had asked me for background.
Mr. Barbour, in both the League of Women Voter’s questionnaire and in the Albuquerque Journal questionnaire commented that he was on the Board of a “church,” obviously attempting to make himself look more mainstream than he is on such things.
Also, the picture is from HIS OWN literature. His first walk piece is attached here, and on file with the City clerk.
As evidence of his allegation of Barbour’s atheism and support of an atheist group, Harris sent along several attachments to his e-mails. One appeared to be a printout from a 2004 posting to a Yahoo group, listing Barbour as a presenter at an a discussion entitled “The Importance of Being Atheist,” hosted by the Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists.
Unitarian Universalists are among the nation’s oldest faith groups, dating back to 1793, and these congregations, although undeniably liberal, are generally recognized as “churches.”
Here’s the listing:
The importance of being atheist
Presenter: David Barbour
Coordinator: Stephanie Doucette
On July 2nd, 2003 Katherine Hepburn passed away. The world lost a
fine person, an excellent actress and a confirmed atheist. This
service explores Ms. Hepburnís life, the positive aspects of atheism
and the reasons why a Unitarian congregation is better off with some
atheists and humanists. Along the way we find out about some atheist
resources and what is happening locally in the atheist community.
David Barbour is a member of BFUU and the newest member of our Sunday
Program Committee. During the past year he led the BFUU Choir.
Another attachment appears to be a printout from the Web site of a group called San Francisco Atheists, on which Barbour is listed as being a contributor to a 2008 scholarship that awarded $500 for an essay on “the importance of Darwin to modern science.”
According to the printout:
The annual Darwin Day Party, also known as EVOLUTIONPALOOZA!, is one of the outstanding events hosted by San Francisco Atheists. It is a day devoted to honoring Charles Darwin and the Scientific Method, filled with fun, games, skits, entertaining speakers, and refreshments. Our efforts to attract more young people to the event has resulted in the establishment of a Darwin Scholarship Award. We have gained the support and backing of the City College of San Francisco, especially their microbiology and genetics departments. They are interested in such things as stem cell research, and feel restrained and frustrated by religious extremism.