Article 6, section 8 of the North Carolina state constitution states: “The following persons shall be disqualified for office: First, any person who shall deny the being of Almighty God.”
This law, deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, might still prevent Cecil Bothwell from being seated as a City Council member in Ashville, North Carolina.
Bothwell is an atheist.
In looking for North Carolinian politicians who were guilty of crimes more heinous than the denial of the existence of an omnipotent, almighty ruler, I came across Robert Potter, a man whose life was almost too fantastic to believe.
Among his more notable milestones include:
Potter was a two-term Congressman, serving with distinction until forced to resign after castrating two men whom he believed to be having an adulterous relationship with his wife, one of whom being his wife’s cousin. For this crime, he paid a fine and served six months in prison.
Castrating two men? How does one even go about this?
The incident received sufficient celebrity that the term "Potterized" became euphony for such an act.
His wife soon divorced him. After all, it was her cousin.
Undeterred from a life in politics. he then went on to serve in North Carolina’s House of Commons until his expulsion in January 1835 either for "cheating at cards" or "for brandishing a gun and knife during a fight over a card game."
Still undeterred. Potter became Secretary of the Navy during the Texas Revolution under interim President David Burnet.
While in Texas, Potter married Harriet Page after convincing the woman that her marriage to Solomon Page, who was off to war, was not binding since their wedding ceremony had not been performed by a priest. After Potter’s death, their marriage was found to be non-binding by the court, leaving Harriet impoverished and destitute.
Potter then participated in the Regulator-Moderator War in East Texas as a leader of the Harrison County Moderators. On March 2, 1842, his home was surrounded by a band of Regulators led by William Pinckney Rose. He ran to the edge of Caddo Lake and dove in, his body sinking to the bottom after being shot once in the back of the head while swimming away.
Potter County, Texas is named after this illustrious man.
Quite a life. Not all of it terribly honorable, and at least one part violent and horrific, but don’t worry. He believed in God, so all was well.