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Atheist Invocation Sparks Inevitable Demagoguery

You knew this was coming, right? Rep. Juan Mendez’ entirely reasonable and beautiful non-theistic invocation was bound to provoke wingnut know-nothings to stomp their feet and throw a temper tantrum. Rep. Steve Smith — a Republican, of course — come on down. You’re the next contestant on As the Wingnut Turns:

Republican Rep. Steve Smith on Wednesday said the prayer offered by Democratic Rep. Juan Mendez of Tempe at the beginning of the previous day’s floor session wasn’t a prayer at all. So he asked other members to join him in a second daily prayer in “repentance,” and about half the 60-member body did so. Both the Arizona House and Senate begin their sessions with a prayer and a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance.

“When there’s a time set aside to pray and to pledge, if you are a non-believer, don’t ask for time to pray,” said Smith, of Maricopa. “If you don’t love this nation and want to pledge to it, don’t say I want to lead this body in the pledge, and stand up there and say, ‘you know what, instead of pledging, I love England’ and (sit) down.

Well congratulations. You’ve put on the full armor of God and struck a blow against atheism that will, I’m certain, open up some pocketbooks in your district.

Comments

  1. says

    “… struck a blow against atheism that will, I’m certain, open up some pocketbooks in your district.”

    And that, in a wingnut shell, is the whole point of prayer in the halls of government.

  2. D. C. Sessions says

    Better yet, he’s ripped the fig leaf away from legislative prayers. So much for the pretexts that courts have used to exempt legislative prayer from the Establishment Clause.

  3. says

    ‘you know what, instead of pledging, I love England’

    As someone who has both UK (by birth) and US (by choice) citizen ship, I have to ask
    “So what’s wrong with that?” :-)

    As a more serious question, did Rep. Mendez just do the invocation or did he also do the proper (pre-50′s) version of the pledge?

  4. says

    “When there’s a time set aside to pray and to pledge, if you are a non-believer, don’t ask for time to pray,”

    Steve, buddy:

    This:

    “noun

    the action of invoking something or someone for assistance or as an authority:the invocation of new disciplines and methodologies


    the summoning of a deity or the supernatural:his invocation of the ancient mystical powers


    an incantation used for this.


    (in the Christian Church) a form of words such as “In the name of the Father” introducing a prayer, sermon, etc.. ”

    It don’t gotta be no prayer, dumbfuck.

  5. says

    @2:

    I think it might more properly be written, “the FLAG leaf away from legislative prayers.”.

    We all KNOW that MurKKKa is GOD and GOD is MurKKKan.

  6. says

    D. C. Sessions “Better yet, he’s ripped the fig leaf away from legislative prayers. So much for the pretexts that courts have used to exempt legislative prayer from the Establishment Clause.”
    Look, ripping the fig leaf away, deliberately marginalizing and minimalizing minority groups, and having religious, sectarian prayers is simple ceremonial deism. That’s just common sense.

  7. says

    Well, at least we know what the election ads in Arizona will be like next year:

    “Rep. Smith did not attend the day of repentence. He sat quietly while an atheist talked about humanistic values. Call Rep. Smith and ask him why he hates Jesus.”

  8. raven says

    Arizona House Prayer Given By Atheist Lawmaker Sparks Do-Over …
    www .huffingtonpost. com/2013/…/arizona-house-prayer_n_3322240.ht…‎

    I’m a traditional Navajo, so I stand here every day and participate in prayers,” even …. Arizona House Non-Prayer Sparks. …

    Amusingly enough, Juan Mendez also got some support.

    At least one and probably several legislators are Navajo Indians and believers of their native religion. One of them made some comments about having to listen to xian prayers.

  9. Synfandel says

    How many factory workers, farm workers, construction workers, accounting clerks, Starbucks baristas, bus drivers, meter maids, grocery clerks, librarians, and auto mechanics in Arizona get to waste paid work time praying? Exactly. Perhaps Arizona legislators should try being as responsible with their employers’ money as are the people who elected them.

  10. D. C. Sessions says

    Synfandel, the difference is that the baristas get paid a lot more than the legislators. Arizona has a quaint belief that freezing legislative pay at 1965 levels gets us better government. Every few years there’s an initiative to raise the pay to something close to minimum wage, and every time it gets shot down.

    This is one of the reasons that the Arizonal legislature is so much more conservative than the public: only those who don’t have to work to support themselves can afford to be on it: full-time housewives, the retired, the independently wealthy, or real estate developers.

  11. says

    Synfandel “How many factory workers, farm workers, construction workers, accounting clerks, Starbucks baristas, bus drivers, meter maids, grocery clerks, librarians, and auto mechanics in Arizona get to waste paid work time praying? Exactly. Perhaps Arizona legislators should try being as responsible with their employers’ money as are the people who elected them.”
    Government prays so that you don’t have to. That’s what it’s for. It’s a real time saver, giving the rest of us time to focus on the economy, infrastructure, education and the like.

  12. Ellie says

    I hope those “repenting” wore the proper sackcloth and threw ashes on themselves so everyone would know just how pious and holy they were.

    This Christian thought Mendez’ message was quite wonderful and those “repenting” should have been paying attention and done what he suggested.

  13. dcsohl says

    I believe that you get what you pay for. If you pay your legislators Jack and Sh!t, then 1) As D.C. points out, you only get people who don’t have to work, in the legislature. But also, 2) you get legislators who are more likely to be corrupt, more likely to extend hands out to special interests, more likely to have a side-job to pay the bills and not expend as much time and energy as they should in legislating.

    It’s a bad move. The right-wingers expect the country and the several states to be run like a corporation, but don’t want to pay the CEO and the C-level officers (Congress) commensurately.

    Mind you, I hate that analogy, but in this case it’s not a bad one. I want this country and my state to be run by the best people possible, not merely by the best people who don’t need a real job.

  14. grumpyoldfart says

    In the 19th Century millions of Irish died of starvation while lunatic politicians exported food to England.

    USA politicians have reached the same level of lunacy.

  15. Ichthyic says

    So much for the pretexts that courts have used to exempt legislative prayer from the Establishment Clause.

    Indeed, and the ACLU should strike while the iron is hot.

    ….but I haven’t seen any indication they will. Why, I wonder?

  16. dan4 says

    As heavy-handed as Smith went about expressing it, the core part of his disagreement with Mendez was right: the “prayer” said by the latte individual wasn’t really a prayer at all (“pep talk” or “brief lecture” would be more accurate characterizations).

  17. Ichthyic says

    As heavy-handed as Smith went about expressing it, the core part of his disagreement with Mendez was right

    ah, and the danger not realized in being “right”. Smith wasn’t heavy-handed by any definition of the word. he was just being an idiot, and doing the rest of us a favor by showing how wrong the courts were to allow government meetings to start with “prayer” to begin with. Smith clarifies for us all , that indeed not only do they serve no secular purpose, thus failing Lemon, but deliberately are used as a large stick against others who would not share their views, like Mendez.

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