Idaho leads the way in religious intolerance. Will the Rapture begin in Boise?
PZ Myers at Pharygula recently brought up the wingnut Bill Sali who serves as a Republican Congressman for Idaho's 1st district. I've spent a good amount of time in Idaho (more than I probably would have liked - but there are some great people there who need our help and support) so I've heard the local pastors and radio broadcasters compare legalized abortion to the Holocaust. I've seen the Adopt-a-Street signs sponsored by Yahweh's 666 Warning Assembly. But, I've got to tell you, this lunacy surprised even me.
Recently this elected representative for our United States was miffed when the Senate was opened with a Hindu prayer:
"We have not only a Hindu prayer being offered in the Senate, we have a Muslim member of the House of Representatives now, Keith Ellison from Minnesota. Those are changes -- and they are not what was envisioned by the Founding Fathers."
Sali thinks that the United States has been able to survive as long as we have because our government was founded on Christian principles and was therefore saved by “the protective hand of God.” This could spell doom for our nation if we don't return to Christian values.
“You know, the Lord can cause the rain to fall on the just and the unjust alike.”
Sali is outraged that this Hindu prayer was offered to “a different god” and therefore “creates problems for the longevity of this country.”
There are sixty-seven comments on the article, most of which are filled with some of the most frightening rants in favor of institutional theocracy that I’ve seen in some time. Take a few minutes now and read through what some of your fellow citizens have had to say.
To quote just one individual (I haven't added or changed a thing):
I keep hearing that the Christians are supposed to be tolerant and peaceful. Have you ever heard the name Jesus? He was not tolerant of 'strange gods' and false religions. The Bible strongly holds the position that other gods were to be put down, their idols destroyed, shame on us for even letting anyone be involved in our Government in any fashion, who denies the Lordship of Jesus Christ, tolerance is not a Bible word, and it surely is not a Jehovah God word. It may belong in some religions but not Christianity. We are not to tolerate other gods! Why isn't this concept clear to all christians?
I attempted to add a thought of my own to this litany of lunacy. However, I was electronically informed that no more comments are allowed. Since I spent a little time preparing my response I thought I would at least share it with my readers.
Let me reiterate what an earlier commenter added:
Article VI, section 3, of the US constitution:
The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.
So many of you posting here are well meaning, I'm sure, but arrogantly ignorant about the world and the history of the United States. Let me just offer a few quotes from past Presidents:
"God is an essence we know nothing of. Until this awful blasphemy is got rid of there will never be any liberal science in the world."
- President John Adams
"The clergy believe that any power confided in me will be exerted in opposition to their schemes, and they believe rightly."
- President Thomas Jefferson
"I have seldom met an intelligent person whose views were not narrowed and distorted by religion."
- President James Buchanan
"My earlier views on the unsoundness of the Christian scheme of salvation have become clearer and stronger with advancing years."
- President Abraham Lincoln
Personally I think those statements might be a little harsh considering that these men frequently used religious language in order to curry votes. But where exactly is this "Christian Nation" that so many of you claim we've lost? We are and have always been a nation framed on the laws of men, not God. If you want an idea of what a theocracy would look like, go no further than Iran or Saudi Arabia. It is a very bad idea to try and oppose those who would oppose us by becoming more like them.
You say you want laws based on the Bible. Are you suggesting you would kill a member of your family if they converted to another faith (Deut. 13:6-10)? Would you really put a woman to death if she had an affair (Deut. 22:22)? Would you feel it appropriate that a violation of just one of the Ten Commandments were to be punished "with an extreme burning, and with the sword" as well as many other tortures (Deut. 28:15-22)?
If you answer no to any of those questions thank you for your common sense and now lets please return to the issues facing our Republic and have no more talk about embracing theocracy.
Representative Sali can be contacted here. However, in point of fact, I was a little miffed when I heard about this Senate prayer as well. Why should the Senate session be opened with any religious observance at all?