Atheist Attorney Mike Smith Qualifies to Run for Mayor of LaGrange, GA Where It's Illegal to Laugh Near a Church
Online PR News – 26-August-2013 –Atheist qualifies to run for Mayor of LaGrange, GA where it's illegal to laugh near a church.
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.”
"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."
In addition to repealing the law against laughing, Smith said he would like to see the following changes: decriminalize marijuana use within city limits; adopt a women’s equal rights ordinance; implement public transportation; make the city more bicyclist and pedestrian friendly; work toward a minimum living wage in LaGrange; make LaGrange more environmentally sustainable; encourage responsible gun ownership by requiring liability insurance; stop requiring Social Security numbers for utility accounts; and end unfair addition of fines and probation fees to utility bills.
Smith has lived in LaGrange more than 50 years, is married to Sumie Smith, and has three children and one grandchild living in LaGrange. He is president of LaGrange Humanists, Inc. and a member of the NAACP, ACLU, American Humanists Association, Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, Freedom From Religion Foundation, Skeptics Society, and Center For Inquiry.
Smith has master’s degrees in psychology and law in addition to a juris doctor law degree, and he has practiced law in LaGrange for more than 30 years. When asked how he would approach the custom of prayers before city council meetings, Smith said, “I will not preside over or participate in prayers at any government meeting.”