The list is literally appalling!
It is sometimes hard to get your mind around the repeated attempts politicians – specifically religiously conservative Republican politicians – try to circumvent the United States Constitution by legislating religion in the government.
It’s an old trick – and one that we’ve played out way too many times in our history. We’re all familiar with “In God We Trust” or “Under God” in our vernacular – simply because we inserted these phrases back in the 1950’s on our currency and our pledges.
When attempts are made to right these wrongs, invariably the judicial branch is unable to find a legal standing for inclusion – thereby making the plaintiff, and the court, objects of public derision.
During a speech at a local high school last week, Governor Bryant – no doubt under the influence of the holy spirit – opined that students in Mississippi would be much better off if they said prayers to god on a daily basis. [For the record – he may be on to something, Mississippi has traditionally been the worst educated state in the country…]
It is with some irony to note that Mississippi is the last state in just about every category that matters (education, health care, income, highest poverty, etc.) but leads the way in being the most religious state in the nation and the 2nd most reliant on federal tax dollars (i.e., welfare!).
Gov. Bryant, speaking to the American Legion Boys State, last week stated:
“I don’t think it hurt us at all. I think it built our character, and I think it is what we should continue to do.” Speaking to reporters afterward, Bryant continued by saying we need to “let people know there is a God. Those children should know that he does care about them, particularly within their classroom. I think at some point at a moment of enlightenment in the future, the federal government and perhaps a future Supreme Court is going to say it’s not a bad thing for children to hear prayer in school.”
I hate to admit it, but Bryant just may be on to something! After all, Mississippi by all measurables, well, sucks. Their political leadership has abysmally failed and there is little prospect for improvement on the horizon – it may explain why 60% of the populace consider themselves highly religious! I’m actually surprised the good folk of the Magnolia State have yet to elect god to be their lieutenant governor!
By all measurable, you would think that Mississippi would be the most prosperous state in the union – that god would show favor on his most fervent admirers. Alas, Mississippians must find comfort in the story of Job.
I know it’s not politic to question the will of god – after all, I understand he works in mysterious ways (or so I’ve been told), but Mississippi is on his side! More than any other state, Mississippi is in the vanguard of doing his work! Heck – they were one of the first states to not only vote against marriage equality, but in droves! To show their godliness, they emphatically stated they wouldn’t recognize the legal marriage of any couple unless it was Adam and Eve style – regardless of where it was performed.
If I were trekking to Mississippi – I’d expect to find this at the border:
A veritable Heaven on Earth!
I’m not necessarily picking on Mississippi – it represents a microcosm of the Bible Belt and the politicians elected to represent its citizenry. The old adage “God is my co-pilot” may be great for your personal motto, but the facts don’t bear out that it makes for good governance.
In Texas, Governor Rick Perry held a prayerapooloza to solve his state’s drought problem. Rather than taking steps, as a leader of a major state in the union at his disposal – he instead turned to god only to watch his state burn.
Perry was no doubt motivated by the fact that water use in fracking is an important economic driver in the state (i.e., jobs) and the industry is his top donor as well.
Why not let god sweat the small stuff? Lord knows it was hot enough in Texas…
This is not an indictment of religion, or even of god (if such a god existed) – it’s a criticism levied against politicians savvy enough to dupe an overly religious electorate into believing that by electing them they can do god’s work – and if they can’t do it, they’ll ask god to do it for them.
Who wants to take a bet that if Mississippi was able to put prayer back in school education scores will zoom to the top? Yeah, I wouldn’t take that bet either – but hey, at least they’d feel better about themselves right? After all, if god wanted them to pass that test, he would have seen to it. 🙂 Aren’t these the same people always talking about personal responsibility? Doesn’t that seem just a little ironic? Why take personal responsibility for anything when god is your copilot?