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Holocaust-Denying Atheist Candidate for Alabama Attorney General Gets 43.5% of the Primary Vote:

That's the remarkable Larry Darby, who was seeking the Democratic nomination; the election results are here. I don't know whether I should (1) be sad that 160,000+ voters were willing to vote for a Holocaust denier, (2) be happy that they were willing to set aside the candidate's atheism (I doubt that many voted for him precisely because he's an atheist), (3) assume that few voters were paying much attention to more than a tiny handful of issues in the race, or (4) just be glad that he didn't win.

UPDATE: An interesting analysis of the race based on county-by-county results, in a comment to a Concurring Opinions post.

Anderson (mail) (www):
Meanwhile, we hear that the CIA protected Adolf Eichmann for two years, having knowledge of his whereabouts but declining to share those with Israeli intelligence ...

... all so that West Germany could protect Hans Globke, co-author and interpreter of the Nuremberg Laws, and (as best as I can tell) the honcho in charge of Jewish Affairs at the Reich's Interior Ministry during WW2, who was a bigwig in Adenauer's government.

A nation that isn't outraged by CIA's (in)action here, can scarcely be expected to spare a yawn for Holocaust deniers. What's worse--the guy who denies it happened, or the guy who knows it happened, knows where a major agent thereof is hiding, and sits on the info?
6.7.2006 6:03pm
TC (mail):
So, the fact that 21st century America isn't outraged that almost half a century ago a covert agency, embroiled in Cold War realpolitik, "protected" a Nazi-in-hiding is the same as a current Holocaust-denier receiving a substantial number of votes in a statewide primary?
6.7.2006 6:21pm
Bama Dem. (mail):
I vote for option number (4), but based on the logic expressed in (3).
6.7.2006 6:32pm
Frank Drackmann (mail):
The problem with Alabama politics is Darby was probably a more honorable candidate than his opponent. This years Gubernatorial primaries pitted the Republican Governor (who proposed a George Bush the elder style tax increase in 2003 that was rejected by the voters)against Roy Moore, the State Supreme Court Chief Justice of 10 commandment tablets fame. The Democratic primary had the former Governor, whos currently on trial for federal corruption charges against the candidate supported by the state teachers union. I'd vote for the atheist holocaust supporter too, and I'm Jewish.
6.7.2006 6:44pm
FXKLM:
(5) terrified to contemplate how bad the other guy must have been
6.7.2006 6:58pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
is the same

If *you* say so. I didn't. I believe that I implied that the CIA's malfeasance was worse.

"Truth" has been pretty much abolished in America. See, e.g., "Intelligent Design." You could probably find 160,000 people in most any state to endorse the proposition that we found a working nuclear program in Iraq, or that George W. Bush has balanced the budget. Why not 160,000 to deny that the Holocaust really happened?
6.7.2006 7:09pm
Mike BUSL07 (mail) (www):
Anderson - the Eichmann story was on the front page of cnn.com, there because it is expected to provoke outrage. You have to bear in mind that Americans overwhelmingly do not know who Eichmann is, what Nuremberg was, etc. Those who are familiar with this stuff, which includes most, if not all, readers of this blog, are no doubt outraged. (I am).

So one common thread between the stories is, obviously, the Holocaust. Another is the indefatigable spirit of popular ignorance. Whoo hoo! But at the end of the day, we don't need the Eichmann story, with its attendant CIA bashing, for perspective. The Darby thing is perfectly capable of analysis on its own terms w/o inviting a left v. right paradigm into all of this, (and any discussio of hte CIA eventually will).
6.7.2006 8:29pm
Cornellian (mail):
Given that it's Alabama, I'm more surprised that he did that well given that he's an atheist, than that he did that well given that he's a Holocaust denier.
6.7.2006 8:37pm
plunge (mail):
According to the Pope, it turns out that the Holocaust was actually not deep down about killing the Jews, but destroying Christianity. Who knew?

Apparently, 2 millenia of anti-Semetism isn't really relevant: it was really all a plot to keep from going to church on Sunday!

And according to Stanley Kurtz, it was actually caused by the possibility that gay marriage might one day be legalized.
6.7.2006 9:02pm
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
Must have been an interesting race. I can see the bumper sticker:

DARBY DENIES JESUS AND
THE HOLOCAUST, TOO

TURNING AWAY FROM GOD
ONE GOOSESTEP AT A TIME

Maybe stickers to put on his posters:

Endorsed by Hitler, Satan
&the Ass'n of Realty Agents
6.7.2006 9:04pm
NI:
Living in the rural South as I do I can tell you that most fundamentalist Christians are still pretty anti-Semitic. If you want to see a really contemptible example, check out the following Web site: http://www.littlegeneva.com Only go there if you have a cast iron stomach; a couple of months ago they were praising the Jewish expulsions from Europe during the Middle Ages (along with calling for homosexuals to be executed).

To most rural Southern evangelicals Jew = liberal = ACLU = Christ killer = children of Satan = queer baby killers. So why as a group are they so supportive of Israel? So that Armageddon will happen and Jesus will come back to earth again and whisk them all away to heaven that much faster.

So his atheism probably killed his candidacy; had he been a Baptist holocaust denier he would have won in a landslide.
6.7.2006 9:47pm
therut:
Makes sense to me. Democrats policies are the closest to Athiests thinking. And they sure do not like Israel and they are always pandering to the Palestians. At least the hard left does.(Think Jimmie Carter and the Religious left like PCUSA just for 2). I doubt seriously any of the so called Religious Right which the Democrats despise voted for this guy. They are the biggest supporters of Israel in this country.
6.7.2006 9:51pm
Cornellian (mail):
I doubt seriously any of the so called Religious Right which the Democrats despise voted for this guy. They are the biggest supporters of Israel in this country.

The two positions are not inconsistent if you accept the Religious Right's rationale for supporting Israel, namely to hasten the arrival of Armageddon.
6.7.2006 9:54pm
therut:
NI---------an ignorant and childlike idea of Christianity. The Southern Bapists are probably the biggest supporter of Israel... And no you have it all wrong. If they really hated Israel and Jews they would not have the position of being pro Israel. The end times as some conservative Christians believe requires just the opposite of what you state. It requires an Israel about to be destroyed by the whole world. Plus the Bible tells of God blessing those who bless Israel. They do not intend to be aganist Israel. And really it is ignorant to say they think the Jews are required to be killed for Christ to come. NO Isreal will be saved from destruction. And no Jews will not be forced to convert. They will see their Messiah and recognize who he is. So it is not really a conversion but more of a recognition. If you want to see and end times that Jews and everyone is killed read the Quran. I live in the rural South and have NEVER seen any anti-semitism from anyone much less Christians. NO the far left has merged with the enemies of the US and Israel. I am really not at all surprised.
6.7.2006 10:08pm
Paddy O. (mail):
Bring up the holocaust and everyone trots out their pet hatreds, eh? Reminds me of going to a protest march. It might be about one thing but everyone likes to use the attention to denounce their own favorite enemy.

um, I'll join in.

Free Tibet.
6.7.2006 10:43pm
Freder Frederson (mail):
I live in the rural South and have NEVER seen any anti-semitism from anyone much less Christians.

You must be blind and deaf.
6.7.2006 10:52pm
Freder Frederson (mail):
They will see their Messiah and recognize who he is.

And if they don't?
6.7.2006 10:55pm
NI:
Therut, fundamentalist/evangelical Christianity __is__ a child like and ignorant idea of Christianity. Sola scriptura? Dispensationalism? The left behind series? Jerry Falwell? Yup, child like and ignorant pretty much sums it up.

I was raised fundamentalist so I know the drill. When I was in Third Grade at the Christian madrassa we were sent to, our teacher read the passage in the Book of Matthew where the Jews told Pilate to crucify Jesus and said "His blood be upon us and upon our children." She then proceeded to tell us about how the blood of Jesus was upon the heads of the Jews and they had suffered ever since for what they did to Jesus. What, fundies anti-Semitic? Nah! Whatever would give me that impression?

Actually, there are two different schools of thought on the end times and Israel among fundamentalists and in our original posts you and I spoke to each of them. There are some evangelicals who hold, as you say, that the Bible says that God will bless those who bless the Jews, and there are Biblical passages to support that position. But there are other evangelicals (who can also cite to the Bible) who say that in the end times God will gather all nations against Israel to destroy it in punishment for rejection of Jesus as Messiah. See, i.e., Zechariah 14:1-2. It all depends on which set of proof texts you want to point to.
6.7.2006 11:00pm
Colin (mail):
N.I. asked, "And if they don't?"

According to the leading postmillenial dispensationalist thinkers, first they get Left Behind, then:

"Jesus merely raised one hand a few inches and a yawning chasm opened in the earth, stretching far and wide enough to swallow all of them. They tumbled in, howling and screeching, but their wailing was soon quashed and all was silent when the earth closed itself again."
6.7.2006 11:19pm
plunge (mail):
Wow, people that are okay with a being who does that clearly are not sociopaths but rather nice decent folks with morals and beliefs I should be respectful of!
6.7.2006 11:41pm
Marcus1 (mail) (www):
I wonder how many voters even have any idea who the candidates for Attorney General are. I would guess a pretty small number.
6.8.2006 12:35am
ichabod:
As a resident of Alabama, I can tell you that the Atty General race was not covered widely. The local press (Birmingham)did not play up the holocost denial as part of his views. All of the focus was on the governors race with Roy Moore or races of local importance. The Concurring Opinions link shows that Darby won Madison County. There is no way that happened without voter ignorance of his views. That county is as mainstream an area as you will find in the country. Had most of his support come from the mountain areas, I would have thought his votes pointed to something more sinister. I'm convinced his showing was mostly from ignorant voters.

I don't care about that one as much as Roy Moore going down. The state averted disaster on that one. Had it come down to Siegleman vs. Moore, I would have run down to Louisiana to round up some of the bumper stickers around when David Duke was running, "Vote for the Crook. It's important."
6.8.2006 1:29am
N.I.:
I thought some here might be interested on a white supremacists's take on the Alabama election, so what follows is from a white supremacist Web site I occasionally lurk at. And no, it does not reflect my own views; I am merely reprinting it here for the entertainment and edification of Volokh Conspiracy readers:

>A couple posts down I pointed out that Roy Moore, the >former judge who babbles about God all the time but >can't bring himself to speak up for the people who made >Christianity what it is, White people, lost his primary >race for the Alabama governor's job by a whopping 67->33. I said he would've done much better if he'd had the >guts to speak out for White folks. Well, Larry Darby, >an atheist with nowhere near the name recognition of Roy >Moore was in a Democrat primary race for attorney >general of Alabama the same day. Nobody had heard of >him until not long ago, and he's an atheist in very >religious Alabama. But the media went wild a few months >back when they discovered that Darby doesn't believe in >the Holomacaust, and that he's a White activist, and has >spoken at National Vanguard meetings. And how did >little known, atheist Darby do yesterday? A heckuva lot >better than Roy Moore-Darby got 44% of the vote.

>Imagine what a man with Moore's name recognition, love >of God, and the guts to speak out for White people would >have done. But it's too late for Roy. Instead of >making history, he's destined for the dustbin of history->running for prez with the Constitution Party, where >you're free to talk about Judeojesus all day long to all >the CP members and their Jonestown style rainbow >families. But one of these days, somebody's gonna >figure out just how powerful the combination of >Christian faith and speaking out for White people can be >when it comes to getting votes. Too bad Roy didn't >figure it out.
6.8.2006 10:43am
Bama Dem. (mail):
FYI, this is the best explanation for Tyson's poor statewide performance that I can give you (from the Thursday edition of the Mobile Press-Register):

Two days before the primary, Joe Reed, the chairman for the Alabama Democratic Conference, said that the caucus was not endorsing Tyson because of how he prosecuted David Thomas Jr., a black former Mobile County school board member. Thomas was ousted from his board position May 4 after Tyson's office brought impeachment charges against him for using school funds to buy Mardi Gras beads.

6.8.2006 11:45am