Thursday, March 09, 2006

Missouri HCR 13 - You Have Got to be Kidding!

House Concurrent Resolution No.

Whereas, our forefathers of this great nation of the United States recognized a Christian God and used the principles afforded to us by Him as the founding principles of our nation; and

Whereas, as citizens of this great nation, we the majority also wish to exercise our constitutional right to acknowledge our Creator and give thanks for the many gifts provided by Him; and

Whereas, as elected officials we should protect the majority's right to express their religious beliefs while showing respect for those who object; and

Whereas, we wish to continue the wisdom imparted in the Constitution of the United States of America by the founding fathers; and

Whereas, we as elected officials recognize that a Greater Power exists above and beyond the institutions of mankind:

Now, therefore, be it resolved by the members of the House of Representatives of the Ninety-third General Assembly, Second Regular Session, the Senate concurring therein, that we stand with the majority of our constituents and exercise the common sense that voluntary prayer in public schools and religious displays on public property are not a coalition of church and state, but rather the justified recognition of the positive role that Christianity has played in this great nation of ours, the United States of America.

I copied the above from the Missouri House website. There is no way I could have made this up. If you are skeptical, check it out for yourself by clicking on the link. This is an actual resolution, sponsored unapologetically by Rep. David Sater of Cassville, which has been sent to the full House for consideration.

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;…”

I copied the above from the United States Constitution, specifically from Amendment I. There is also no way I could have made this up. You can also read this one on the web, but I am sure you know it well enough that you won’t have to. This reflects one of the foundational principles of our country, and Jefferson, Madison, and all those dead white guys thought it was pretty important.

There are so many reasons HCR13 is wrong, I hardly know where to start. This resolution…
- Totally ignores our “forefathers’” systemic displacement of Native Americans and the subsequent destruction of their religious beliefs and practices,
- Completely overlooks the contribution of our foremothers,

- Does not acknowledge the African religious beliefs and practices interwoven into the religious life of America, built on the backs of African slaves,
- Begins with the assumption that there is “a Christian God” as opposed (I guess) to a Jewish God, or a Muslim God, etc. (this assumption is contrary to monotheistic faith),
- Furthermore assumes that this “Christian God” is male, which is a theologically inaccurate perspective,
- Professes to protect the rights of the majority when in reality it is the rights of the minority that need protecting; by definition, the rights of the majority already are protected (that's why they are the majority),
- Purports to uphold the constitution when in fact it is “prohibiting the free exercise” of Christianity by assuming homogeneity and is therefore flatly unconstitutional,
- Assumes that all elected officials are religious,
- Minimizes the importance of prayer by stating that prayer is merely something that has played a “positive role… in this great nation of ours,” rather than intimate communion with God,
- Gives the impression that “voluntary prayer in public schools” is something forbidden, when in fact it is not – it is school-sanctioned prayer that is forbidden,
- Suggests that using public space, maintained by public money, to exhibit specific sacred “religious displays” is not equivalent to endorsing the specific religion being displayed,
- Desecrates the content of these “religious displays” (I assume they mean 10 Commandments, nativity scenes, crosses) by using them in a way they are not meant to be used.

I think that just about covers it. And yes, I already sent an email to my state representative expressing my opinion. (But I was a lot more succinct!)


I may continue my previous posts' thoughts about entitlement later, but just now my stomach is too upset to even think about it.


Anonymous said...

I will be writing my congressman as well. Thank you for bringing this to my attention.

A member of your "wonderful" congretation!

EyeRytStuf said...

I saw this on the news Monday night or so. Does it make me sound defeated if I admit my reaction was, "Okay, fine, whatever," with a sigh of resignation that if I don't like it, there's always Canada?

Vinny said...

I'm finding it hard to get excited about this, although it appears a bunch of feral cats really beat it to death on the Arianna Huffington blog (22 pages of comments over a 4-day period). Lots of anger out there, and a good deal of it pointed towards Missouri and Christians in general.

HCR 13 is a resolution, so it carries about as much meaning as the various proclamations made by august bodies of legislators praising cheese, miniblind factories, the creators of "Napoleon Dynamite", etc. It can't become law, and it isn't intended to. It's a Republican jackass pandering to his base in southwest Missouri, which I think generally tilts to the right of Atilla the Hun on the left-right political continuum. Who cares? Stupid politicians (is that redundant?) rarely miss a chance to rattle sabers and wrap themselves in flags in order to boost their image. Clearly Rep. Sater has grander political ambitions in mind, like Attorney General or State Auditor or something.

Many others don't share my take on this and seem to think it's attempting to sneak the camel's nose into the tent, much like riverboat casinos begat "boats in moats" in Missouri. But again, those were actual laws, as opposed to resolutions put forth by elected gasbags.

And like it or not, I suspect that the vast majority of Missourians would probably agree with the stipulations of the resolution. We do live in a red state, after all.

BTW, I don't think the 1st amendment to the U.S. Constitution is at issue here, since that deals with the U.S. Congress and not state legislatures (The 14th amendment might come into play, though). Regardless, the Missouri constitution does have own establishment clauses with respect to religion.

Seamhead said...

You forgot to mention that it totally ignores the fact that most of the forefathers weren't Christian at all. They were Dieists. Most of them abhorred Christianity. Wasn't it John Adams who thought the United States was a death blow to Christianity? He said something like, Christianty is an enormous monster. It may take thousands of years to die.

I thought we all learned this in high school, age of enlightenment and all.

BlogDaddy said...

I first heard of this resolution on the ABC national news with Mizzou Grad Elizabeth Vargus in the anchor chair. How embarrassed must she have been to report that the state that educated her was retreating back to the dark ages in regards to enlightened thought? Our forfathers did NOT add "under God" to the pledge of allegiance. That happened in the 20th century. Freedom of Religion is apparently less important to the right wing than the Right to Bear Arms. "My God can beat up your God." and "My God gave me the right to carry a concealed weapon and kill any liberal who would try to take it from me" are the mantras of the radical right.

That moving to Canada idea is sounding better and better all the time.

Anonymous said...

Are you going to Jefferson City to debate this? I heard anyone can sign up to speak at the sessions. I think it is important to put that perspective out there with a voice, since the other perspective is getting so much media time. If no one publicly objects, the "majority" will think this is what the people want and possibly continue their insanity.

My God loves everyone. I am naiive and possibly too open-minded, but my God never wants to make statements that are exclusionary or selective. My God is sad that this is even an issue, because it turns people away, some running, from God. I'm sad, too.

Shelly :)!

Kansas Bob said...

Other than political appeasement why do you think this resolution was made? Is there anything good that anyone can find in it? How about:

1) "acknowledge our Creator and give thanks for the many gifts provided by Him"

2) "recognize that a Greater Power exists above and beyond the institutions of mankind"

Seems that, for the reasons you mentioned, Christians in government really get in trouble when they mix their faith with their job and do it in a very public way.

I guess, while I don't support all of their resolution, I am comforted to know that praying people are involved in our legislative process.

Anonymous said...

If it was in the politician's interest to be an atheist, most would tout its qualities. It would make more sense to me for politicians to lead through example, giving the homeless guy a bit more support from shelters, figuring out a way to get coats on every child. I don't need someone to tell me how Christian he or she is, I need them to show me.

Shelly :)!

adam mustoe said...


jagua piru said...

Wow, this proclamation is really sad. I do think it's important, even if it's only a toothless resoloution. I don't want this sort of blind, narrow thinking to be attached to my state - or my homeland - at all.

Adam, I can sort of understand your thinking about the US being great. We, as a country, have certainly had some moments. But it's sort of like saying Blue Cheese is the best cheese. Sure, that's a valid opinion, but it's just that. God doesn't love us more, we aren't chosen, we don't have all the answers, etc.

I care more about my backyard and my neighbors backyard than I do about imaginary lines that a bunch of old white men made up without asking anyone else's opinion; for example - the people who had actually populated the land before they took it away.

I sort of prefer Costa Rica. The climate is better and there aren't a lot of people running around feeling superior enough to go and kill a buch of other people in another country. HOOO-ah!

EyeRytStuf said...

Re: Greatest Country in the World

If I were in a restaurant and the dessert cart came by, and the only three desserts on it were crapcake, vomitcake, and fruitcake, I'd have to say "Fruitcake is the Greatest Cake on this Tray."

Would I be content with that? Would I not bother to point out to the management there was much which needed to be done? Would I not follow that sentence with, "And if that's the best on the dessert tray, it says more about the poor quality of desserts in general, and less about the actual quality of the fruitcake, doesn't it?"

And so on.

David said...

Makes me sick, too. But sometimes the pessimistic Mark Morford-esque part of me thinks it has to get really, really bad before folks realize it needs to change. (Sort of the boiling frog thing, kinda.)

Imagine a student being punished for not participating in school prayer. (Even if they say it's not "required," some poor kid is bound to be accused of "troublemaking" for not participating.)

Wouldn't THAT make a lovely supreme court case?

Adam Caldwell said...

I am not the least bit sympathetic to the cause but I think some of you folks are blowing this out of proportion just a bit. I tend to agree with's hard to get excited about. What do you expect? We are in a red state as he also stated. While I wouldn't say we live in the greatest country in the world, I wouldn't say that any country is the greatest country. I think we live in a good country. But ultimately, this world is not my home, my allegiance lies with a kingdom set apart from this world.


adam mustoe said...

I think everyone needs to relax just a little bit. Fruitcake? C'mon now. I was invoking a Will Ferril skit in which he shows his patriotism by wearing american flag bikini briefs.

John B said...

Rather than worrying about what a bill like this means to our nation, we should be worrying about what it means to the church.

Christ was apolitical. His kingdom is not of this world. And when humans try to intergrate faith and government, it's faith that loses. Government sponsored religion will always be a watered down version of the real thing.

Consider the European nations that have a state religion, England and Sweden come to mind. The Christian faith is all but lost in those nations.

So I say, don't get up in arms about what this bill means for the government, get up in arms about what it means for the church.