Oh this pisses me off so badly. Those fucking cross-eyed, beetle-browed “patriots” apparently get their news by smoke signal and form their opinions based on which jug-brained asshole uses the most exclamation points and capitals in the spam he sends to everyone he knows “to brighten your day and firm your resolve… AMERICA IS #1!!!”
Ugh. I should go on, but suddenly I just feel so tired.
Stunning. Actually, not really all that stunning, but very sad. And very embarrassing for America, even if it is just one state legislature. And the worst thing is, you just know some Coulterite will come out in defense of these two ignorami.
Meh. I wouldn’t participate in any prayer and I’d spurn everyone equally. That’s because I’m an athiest. These lawmakers are probably Christians, and they can do whatever they want in observance of their religion, including not participating in a prayer led by a cleric of a different religion. If we’re actually going to have prayers in the legislature, I’d say that people should be free to participate or abstain however they like according to their personal beliefs. If they don’t want to participate in a Moslem prayer, and I don’t want to participate in any prayer, I see no difference between the two.
Maybe they had crummy reasons, but if you invite people to lead prayers to open a session you have to expect that some people might have a problem with one, for whatever reason.
RexDart, you’d have an excellent point, if the issue was theology. Unfortunetly, according to Rep. McMahan, the issue was not theology:
In other words, Islam is unAmerican. Which is a bigoted and profoundly ignorant sentiment. I wish I could say that we should expect better from our elected representatives, but I think at this point we all know we can’t.
To defend her boorish behaviour as “patriotism” really is moronic.
The other guy just said he “wasn’t particularly interested” which is still kind of boorish but at least it’s honest. Personally, I don’t think we need any prayers at all at a State House, but if they’re going to do it, they should show the same respect for all religions.
I had a chance to listen to one of our local talk show hosts interviewing her today (yes, unfortunately, she is from my state - sigh). To say that she “stepped down” isn’t quite accurate; she’d gotten up earlier, before the prayer, but did not head back to her seat during the prayer. However, the reason she gave was the same: she felt it was unpatriotic. (Sorry, no cite; I checked the radio station’s site - 710kiro.com, but no transcript was up. The host in question was Dave Ross.)
She also opined that the God she worshipped (the Christian God) was not the same as the Muslim God, and that their religion didn’t condemn actions like murder.
OK, so say that the person who thought it was unAmerican was being stupid.
But we all agree that if a Christian, Jew, or Hindu didn’t want to sit through a prayer led by a man of a different faith, they’d have that right, correct? If you’re a member of one religion, maybe you should respect others, but I see no reason you should have to participate in everything equally. So maybe the other guy just didn’t want to take part in a prayer led by someone from a different religion. That’s his right IMHO, and not too unreasonable. If a Jew or Moslem didn’t want to participate in the prayers led by Christians, or a Catholic wasn’t interested in sitting in on a prayer led by a Baptist, or a Mormon didn’t want to hang around while a Presbyterian led a prayer, isn’t all of this just religious choice?
Sure, criticize the woman for her misinformed simplisitic position that Islam is anti-American. But give the other guy some slack, maybe he just thought exercising his personal religious beliefs meant abstaining from this prayer. Abstaining isn’t disrespectful on it’s own, it’s making a show of it that’s distasteful. Walking out is more rude than not showing up. Still, it’s possible that to attack the other guy involved in this might be unfair. It’s less disrespectful than what that Tonni Smith girl is doing, after all, and people are standing up for her oversimplified misinformed opinions. Fair is fair.
I thought I sort of defended the other guy (ok, I did call him boorish). It really doesn’t bother me if someone doesn’t want to sit through a prayer, it was McMahan’s idiotic statements afterwards that were offensive.
Like I said before, I don’t think there should any prayers at all, but if they’re going to do it, they should at least refrain from badmouthing other religious viewpoints.
Hmm. I’d say this is not a matter of a person of Religion X not wanting to participate in a prayer of Regilion Y, as per RexDart’s interpretation. Especially the CYA-opening of the sentence (“let’s just say…”) is a dead giveaway that his interest in the matter is NOT the real reason. Ergo, he’s just as bigoted as the female representative, only a tad smarter with the media.
McMahan is a dolt, and it is actions like hers that PERPETUATE the erroneous notion that Islam is the culprit in the current political turmoils. Perhaps it should read that…“the religion is the focal point of the American ‘hate’ sentiment”…??
The only good reason to excuse yourself in a situation described in the OP is a religious reason. If a strictly religious person of any denomination would excuse themselves when a prayer of another religious doctrine took place on the grounds that they did not wish to participate in a prayer of another denomination, there would not be a problem whatsoever.
In THIS case, the representatives did not cite religious principles as a reason, though. At least one of them cited patriotism, claiming that a Muslim prayer would somehow be “un-American”. The other weaseled around it, but had he had religious objections, surely he would have made them apparent?
So, your scenario does not constitute “putting the shoe on the other foot”. It is a distinctly different scenario - unless you choose to assume the representative who claimed disinterest as a reason is speaking the truth. Would the Muslim be pilloried in your scenario? Perhaps he would - but then, he’s not using a valid reason to leave either. Being uninterested is not a valid reason to disregard or blatantly boycot a well-intended prayer anymore than patriotism is.
And I’m not even sure a religious reason is a really good excuse (though far preferable to blind bigotry). Politely sitting through other peoples religious services is part of being a polite member of society - particularly for a politician. I’ve gone to Buddhist and Wiccan weddings, Catholic weddings, weddings for Seventh Day Adventists, Hindi weddings, weddings for various other Christians, and weddings performed by judges for atheists. (And, it pains me to admit it, a couple of Star Trek weddings). When the King of Jordan died, we sent Christian representatives to the funeral.
If you are going to fight for things like prayer in public schools, if you are going to say that opening up Congress with a prayer is no big deal, you need to move prayer to the “social niceity” strata - in the same place as “God Bless You” goes after a sneeze.