What’s on your mind this weekend, Bleeding Heartland readers? This is an open thread: all topics welcome.
I just caught up on some recent remarks by Iowa’s Republican National Committeewoman Tamara Scott. In addition to representing Iowa on the RNC, Scott lobbies the state legislature on behalf of Bob Vander Plaats’ FAMiLY Leader organization and leads the Iowa chapter of Concerned Women for America, an influential group on the religious right. She was speaking at the FAMiLY Leader’s southeast regional summit on April 9, an event four potential GOP presidential candidates attended. Scott used the Wiccan invocation that stirred controversy in the Iowa House to make a case for more public expressions of Christianity, including teaching the country’s dominant religion in public schools. (Scott has frequently advocated school prayer and alleged that various societal problems stem from removing Christian prayers from public schools during the 1970s.) Miranda Blue covered the FAMiLY Leader regional summit speech for Right Wing Watch; some excerpts are after the jump. For video of all speeches from the regional summit, click here.
I am continually struck by how clueless social conservatives are about the separation of church and state. Though Scott does not acknowledge this legal reality, the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits the government from promoting any specific religious viewpoint. Every time a prominent Republican demands more government expressions and endorsements of Christianity, they are driving away Jews and probably members of other minority religious groups too, not to mention the growing number of Americans who do not identify with any religion.
In a fantastic column for the Cedar Rapids Gazette, Lynda Waddington offers her own Christian perspective on Scott’s prayer for a storm to disrupt the Wiccan invocation. I’ve enclosed excerpts below, but you should click through to read the whole piece. All I can say is, that Cabot witch sure demonstrated some amazing powers.
From Miranda Blue’s April 14 post at Right Wing Watch:
Scott joked that she had prayed for a storm to greet the Wiccan woman that morning, before telling the audience that the non-Christian prayers at the statehouse showed that “when we’re not willing to defend our God in the public square, we shouldn’t be surprised when others try to replace Him.” […]
“What you don’t know is that yesterday [April 8], the imam prayed,” she said. “That one didn’t make the press. You see, when we’re not willing to defend our God in the public square, we shouldn’t be surprised when others try to replace Him. When we fail to teach it in the public school, the history of this nation, the God mentioned in our Declaration, the Supreme Being mentioned in the preamble of this constitution of the state. And we not only don’t teach it, but we surpress it and refuse to allow it to be taught.”
From Lynda Waddington’s April 17 column for the Cedar Rapids Gazette, “And how will they know us?”
Just a few days ago, as part of a Family Leader leadership conference in the chapel at Iowa Wesleyan College in Mount Pleasant, Scott was scheduled to speak about her work on the Common Core […].
Instead, she told the people gathered to hear from her, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Tony Nassif of the Preventing Abuse Foundation, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum and other national and state conservative leaders, about her actions before the opening ceremony at the Iowa Statehouse that featured a Wiccan blessing.
“I was there at 7 o’clock, before the witch got there,” Scott said. “I wanted to welcome her with prayer. The storm outside is probably my fault. I was praying for lightning – in love, in love. Just a little jolt.”
I grew up in Christian church pews, flanked by my family. We sang how, when nothing else could help, “love lifted me.” Even as we filed out of the sanctuary, our voices echoed with how people would “know we are Christians by our love.” […]
Scott’s prayer wasn’t for self-preservation, although she’ll frame it as such. It was a prayer – a wish, if you will – for the physical harm of someone who dared to believe differently and display those beliefs at the Statehouse. Not in a church house, but the people’s house – the place where our collective experiences are to be reflected in state policy.