The petitioner is not compelled to believe or disbelieve, under threat of punishment or other compulsion. True, unless he makes the declaration of belief, he cannot hold public office in Maryland, but he is not compelled to hold office.
And, [Edgerton] adds, after the North whipped the South and freed the slaves, what did the victors do for black folks, besides say, "You're free and on your own"? "Abolitionists would have us believe it was only about master and slave," says Edgerton. "But white folks and black folks were partners in the destiny of the South."
Did he deny the being of the Almighty God?
It seems like something that could be solved by some well-thought distraction anytime the question comes up.
"Hey, Bothwell, do you believe in the Almighty God?"
"Hm... it looks like it's going to rain today."
"Hey, councilman, are you an atheist?"
"Huh? What? Coming right up, mom!"
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