Over the past weekend, a video of Mayor Ivy Taylor sharing her thoughts on systemic poverty has spread quickly across the internet — sparking national coverage and upset. Her words, that poverty is what happens to "broken people...people not being in a relationship with their Creator," rattled one national group in particular: American Atheists.
"Let me be clear: Atheists are not 'broken people.' Having a relationship with a creator or being religious have nothing to do with the relationships people have with their families, their communities, or their contributions to society," wrote Nick Fish, national director of the atheist nonprofit, in a Tuesday letter to Taylor.
"Atheists are your doctors, your police officers, members of your staff, your friends and family. If you think you don’t know any atheists, you’re wrong. It may simply be that the atheists in your life are uncomfortable telling you that they don’t share your religious convictions because they worry about your reaction."
Fish said his organization was especially "disappointed" because more than 40 percent of San Antonio residents are atheists or non-religious. He urged Taylor to contact the local American Atheist affiliate, the Freethinkers Association of Central Texas, to get to know her atheist constituents (and voters) better. He even likened her to Sen. Ted Cruz, who said during his 2016 run for the White House that atheists are "unfit" to serve as President.
Mayor Taylor has yet to apologize for her statement. Instead, she reaffirmed her stance in a Facebook post
"I believe in Original Sin, and that was the context for my comment in the YouTube video clip. We're all 'broken,' from the richest among us to the poorest, until we forge a relationship with our Maker," she wrote. "I could have expressed myself more clearly."