A candidate for Kansas City Council has a bizarre record of acid-tipped tweets about religion and religious people, writing in one that, “If you have a religion, your brain is clearly not functioning.”
“Religion is poison,” Chris Gahagan, running for the council’s open 1st District seat in Clay County, writes in another tweet from a “Chr_IssuesKC” account that has since been deleted.
“The whole of religion needs to be re-examined,” he writes in another tweet. “At a minimum, it’s (sic) tax exempt status needs to be challenged – over and over. Let’s put the crazies on the defensive.”
When someone else tweeted a few years ago that warm weather was killing her Christmas vibe, Gahagan replied, “Good! Death to Christmas!”
His other anti-religion tweets obtained by The Heartlander include:
One to famously atheist comedian Ricky Gervais: “Most religion is comedy. At least you wouldn’t have to pay taxes.” A later Gahagan tweet lamented that religion can’t be eliminated or taxed.
About “Trump and the Right’s New Religion”: “Religion has always been first and foremost about power, control and money. It’s just more obvious now.”
About widespread COVID-19 vaccine opposition: “If your religion tells you not to vaccinate your children, then God forgot to give you a brain.”
Outgoing and term-limited 1st District Councilwoman Heather Hall, whom Gahgan is vying to succeed in the April 4 municipal election and June 20 general election, was aghast at Gahagan’s vitriolic views toward people of faith.
“Hate has no place in Kansas City,” she told The Heartlander. “The people of Kansas City deserve someone representing them who will be respectful of their religion – regardless of their religion. I don’t care what their religion is, you need to be respectful of that. And he’s basically saying, ‘I’m anti-religion, period.’ And that’s not OK.”
Gahagan is the former chairman of the Clay County Democratic Party and a former general counsel for the Hickman Mills C-1 School District. His Twitter account in question appears to have been deleted prior to his campaign for city council.
“That’s all very suspect,” says Hall, who is endorsing high school math teacher Nathan Willett for her District 1 seat.
“I believe Nathan brings a desire to make things better for the people of Kansas City, especially in public safety, in infrastructure and in making our Northland better for future generations for jobs, education and empowerment to be more successful.”
Councilman Dan Fowler, who one source claimed was supporting Gahagan, told The Heartlander he has not endorsed yet, and “I hope to spend some time with both gentlemen.” But shown the tweets in question, Fowler replied, “I frankly question the validity of those tweets.”
Asked why he questions their authenticity, Fowler has yet to respond.
Willett, a former student body president at the University of Missouri who has taught in both Kansas City Public Schools and the Park Hill School District, said he too is appalled by Gahagan’s dripping hostility toward people of faith, which he said has no place in government at any level.
“They’re bad,” Willett said of his opponent’s tweets, which span some five years. “And they do not reflect the values of District 1, or of any district in Kansas City.
“Throughout the 1st District there are many people of different backgrounds and belief systems, and I have no problem with my opponent having a different background and belief system than me. Where I do have a problem is ingrained hatred of Christians and other faith communities. That’s just a no-go. That’s someone who should stay as far away as possible from trying to represent the public.
“You see his ingrained, over years and years and years, hateful statements toward people of faith. The faith communities throughout Kansas City do a lot of great things for neighbors, through nonprofits, through stepping up to the plate when local government can’t do everything. And I think it’s very troubling to even have someone suggest some of the things that he promotes.
“These are over five years of very hateful statements toward religious communities and people of faith. That’s something you just can’t take back. That’s ingrained in you. And that’s very frightening to even begin to put yourself out there and try to represent District 1, which has great communities, great churches, and people of all different backgrounds and belief systems.
“I’m glad he’s not in the classroom. And our team will make sure he’s not in City Hall either. Hate has no home in the Northland or in a representation in Kansas City.”
The Heartlander reached out to Gahagan, now a lawyer in private practice, to ask him if he stands by his tweets; why the account has been deleted; and whether someone with such antipathy toward people of faith should be representing them in office.