ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Friday, March 03, 2006

MO House Resolution Gets Immanentized

King of the Open Thread (aka Atrios at Eschaton Blog) links to this article by KMOV TV here in St Louis (CBS affiliate):

State bill proposes Christianity be Missouri’s official religion
12:28 AM CST on Friday, March 3, 2006

By John Mills, News 4

Missouri legislators in Jefferson City considered a bill that would name Christianity the state's official "majority" religion.

House Concurrent Resolution 13 has is pending in the state legislature.

Many Missouri residents had not heard about the bill until Thursday.

Karen Aroesty of the Anti-defamation league, along with other watch-groups, began a letter writing and email campaign to stop the resolution.

The resolution would recognize "a Christian god," and it would not protect minority religions, but "protect the majority's right to express their religious beliefs.

The resolution also recognizes that, "a greater power exists," and only Christianity receives what the resolution calls, "justified recognition."

State representative David Sater of Cassville in southwestern Missouri, sponsored the resolution, but he has refused to talk about it on camera or over the phone.

KMOV also contacted Gov. Matt Blunt's office to see where he stands on the resolution, but he has yet to respond.

Now, KMOV and Atrios/Eschaton/Lord of the Open Thread don't link to the actual Missouri House Resolution... nor do they provide a link. After about 2 minutes, I was able to locate the pending resolution and the wording of the resolution is much different than how it is described by KMOV and Atrios.

Note that KMOV said that the resolution says that only Christianity received "justified recognition." No where in the resolution do the words "justified recognition" appear. If they are quoting someone or some source other than the resolution, they should reference the source.

Here is the text in full:
House Concurrent Resolution No. 13


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.
Emphasis mine...

A couple of things:
  1. Apparently, KMOV's standards on writing is that there is no such thing as a two-sentence paragraph. Meanwhile, Atrios' writing standards are true to form (no lengthy commentary provided - that's left up to the commenters).
  2. This is a resolution, not a bill... resolutions are unbinding and typically filled with idiotic things
  3. I'm against this resolution as written. Strike the first "Whereas" and I'd consider it.
It's clear that the purpose of this resolution isn't the establishment of Christianity as an official religion of the State of Missouri... rather, its purpose is to express the sentiment of the Missouri House that voluntary prayer in schools and religious displays on public property should be allowed. Keep in mind that this is NOT a bill... it's a resolution.

Are KMOV and Atrios (by extension) being disingenuous? Could they (and should they) have provided the full text of the resolution to their readers?

Is this the "Taliban wing of the Missouri Republican party imposing its will on the people?

See these posts by other nutters that demonstrate the problem of not researching what the hell you're talking about:Kudos to Abnormal Interests, who actually provides the text of the resolution, provides appropriate contexts, and (like me) comes out against the resolution (although from a different angle).

There has been much talk about bloggers being simple copy/pasters and whining about issues... Well, the "progessives" in the blogosphere (except for Abnormal Interests) have all done just that.

Blogger Scott Paeth points out that the words "justified recognition" do appear in the resolution and I'd like to thank him for pointing that out. Apparently, I must've had a typo when I did a search. However, I would like to point out the context of what's in the resolution vs. how KMOV (and Atrios by extension) portrayed it.

From KMOV (and Atrios):
[...] only Christianity receives [...] "justified recognition.

The meaning implied is that only Christianity can justifiably be recognized (to the exclusion of other religions)

Here is what is in the actual resolution (helpfully pointed out by Paeth):
[...] justified recognition of the positive role that Christianity has played in this great nation of ours

The clear meaning is that the positive role of Christianity in our country is being recognized. Not the religion, but its positive effects throughout American history.

Of course, if your view of religion (and Christianity in particular) is negative, I can see how you might object to such language. You'd be wrong, but I can see how you might object.


And, from my response to Scott Paeth's post (which I would say was somewhat even-handed, so perhaps the term "nutter" doesn't apply to him - I apologize to him for lumping him in with Atrios, who were quick to claim that the State of Missouri was baby-steps away from a theocracy or that this was some Rovian plot for 2006 midterms.):
It's clear that this non-binding resolution is in response to increased pressure on state & local governments to remove religious displays from public property, disallow prayers before football games, graduations, etc... not by school administrators, but by students themselves.

[The Florida town that allowed Hanukkah displays on public property, but prohibited Christian symbols comes to mind...]

The thrust of my post was that Atrios (true to form) did not do any legwork to even find the text of the resolution, and simply implied that the state of MO is moving toward theocracy. He relied on KMOV to frame the resolution... and both could have served their readers better.

Perhaps in the future, you'll be more careful [with] what little "content" Atrios provides.

If only I could get payola for posting Open Threads & copying/pasting!

***UPDATE 2***
This is starting to get traction in the blogosphere, apparently. A Technorati search reveals a lot of ill-informed opinions about the matter...with 171 posts as of 5pm EST on Sunday.

I seem to recall something about a lie traveling half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes...


Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Comments (8)
Brian said...

Excellent research

Gateway Pundit said...

This is excellent news. I am sick of Rev. Barry Lynn and the likes.

diane said...

Thanks so much for providing the actual text of the proposal. Great work on your part to parse through the entire issue.

Cliff said...

I don't see anything wrong with the first "Wheras".

St Wendeler said...

Cliff - Is the first Whereas factually accurate? Yes. However, my Libertarian side thinks that the language is unnecessary.

But, I certainly understand your perspective and consider it rational and reasoned.


Scott Paeth said...

Hey, thanks for the link! Of course, calling me a "nutter" doesn't negate anything I wrote in my post. And nothing in the text of the resolution alleviates my concerns. In fact, the text itself simply multiplies the egregiousness of the AP report.

But hey, link to me any time. Any publicity is good publicity!


PS., I'll give you this, though, Atrios has too many open threads.

Scott Paeth said...

PPS. In the interests of continuing the conversation, you might want to check out my reply at my blog. (can't get the link to work, or I'd post it. Sorry).

Thanks again for the text of the resolution.

Eric said...

I have been voicing my concern for this a lot recently, letters to the editor, letters to politicians...even making talk show hosts aware of it....continue the fight to keep others from forcing their faith on the rest of society.