We deserve better than Azinger

Mid-Ohio Valley Atheists and Humanists has three key goals: building a secular, non-theistic community in the Mid-Ohio Valley (by building on the strong but fairly silent one that already exists), being charitable and helpful in the MOV, and taking a stand against the growing hatred, bigotry and theocratic nonsense that we see developing in our area, as it is in so much of the country. State Sen. Mike Azinger’s op-ed in The Parkersburg News and Sentinel on June 23 is a prime example of that hateful, bigoted theocracy-in-the-making nonsense.

Mr. Azinger believes that a deity conceived of in the Middle and Near East by pre-Enlightenment, scientifically illiterate minds millennia ago gets to decide for 21st Century Americans what is natural and moral when it comes to sexual orientation and gender identity. It clearly bothered him tremendously when over 1,000 people and dozens of organizations, MOVAH included, turned out to support the LGBTQ+ community based on the scientifically sound principle that more than just heterosexual and cisgender people exist, and the morally upright and empathetic principle that the LGBTQ+ community has a right to be who they are and love who they love unapologetically.

This country is not a Christian theocracy; this country is a secular constitutional democratic republic. We are not governed by the Bible; we are governed by the U.S. Constitution. Separation of church and state is enshrined in the constitution and is crucial to the functioning and longevity of a free society.

Azinger brings shame to our state legislature and to our community by disregarding the crucial and well-established constitutional principle of church/state separation as a public official. His backward, extremist ideology has no place in any office of public trust. Parkersburg and West Virginia have suffered enough national and international embarrassment in recent years, it’s a shame Azinger decided to pile on. The people of State Senate District 03 and all West Virginians deserve better.

Eric Engle

Vice President for Records and Communications and Board Member

Mid-Ohio Valley Atheists and Humanists