Thursday, August 16, 2007

Congressman Sali: I oughta get me backhoe. Can't dig very fast with this shovel.

UPDATE: Sali has apologized to Keith Ellison, a House representative who is Muslim. I'm wondering whether he plans on extending that to his constituents of different faiths who don't fancy being told their participation in government is not welcome.

Bill Sali decided to clarify his position on the fundamental right for people of all faiths to full citizenship in America in a newspaper editorial today, and unfortunately for him, he succeeded.

Religious freedom,
Christian faith important to future

By U.S. Rep. Bill Sali
Wednesday, August 15th, 2007

I want to thank the Idaho Press-Tribune editorial board for its kind words in Sunday’s editorial. I am reminded of the fact that the Press-Tribune was skeptical (to say the least) about me last year, and to have it refer to me as a “thoughtful, effective statesman” now is quite a turnaround. Thank you for that expression of confidence.

Please allow me to persuade you to return to your original position.
But the Press-Tribune editorial board has reservations about me advocating that Christian principles form the foundation of our great republic, and they made those reservations known Sunday. So let me be clear: I support the freedom of every person to worship according to the dictates of his or her conscience.

What he appears not to support is their equal standing in society.
The U.S. Constitution requires there “shall be no religious test” for holding public office. Last January I took my oath to uphold the Constitution, and that oath is sacred to me. I meant it then, and I mean it now. Christians and non-Christians are equally worthy to hold elected office. That’s entirely up to voters.
But only the Christian kind.

Yet the debate over my comments boils down to this: Should the future of our country rest upon the Judeo-Christian convictions of our Founding Fathers or the religious diversity advocated by the Left? I choose the Founding Fathers.

Except there is the small problem that the Founding Fathers explicitly intended to separate the business of their government from the religious membership of its citizems. Back to that voter thing, though - I guess we could always amend the Constitution.

Our nation was founded on principles that the founders took largely from Scripture. Those principles provide the basis for our form of government and are the source of the rights we enjoy as Americans.
Um, no. We can actually thank the heathen Greeks for introducing us to the concept of Democracy, which is not exactly a Biblically-ordained system of governance.

The Founding Fathers did not envision the U.S. as a theocracy. But they did envision our nation as one founded on principles derived from the Bible. As an aged John Adams wrote in a letter to his old friend Thomas Jefferson, “The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were ... the general principles of Christianity.”
The thing is, we achieved independence through that great Christian principle, war. (I kid!) Seriously, there is kind of a difference between reminiscing about how a war was won and sitting down and figuring out the nuts and bolts of a new system of government. And if the FF did not envision the U.S. a theocracy, maybe he oughtn't put words in their mouth to make it appear like they did.

The Declaration of Independence states, “We hold these truths to be self evident; that all men are created equal and they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.” Those rights come from our creator — God — and are unalienable: They are essential to every human being. The Founding Fathers then set about — with great success — to make it government’s job to protect and respect those individual rights.
Sali, though, appears to be getting sick of a few of those rights. I mean, really, do we need ALL of them?

Our Judeo-Christian heritage is now being eroded by people who believe all claims about truth should be treated as equal. At first blush this philosophy violates the motto from our great seal, E Pluribus Unum, which translates “out of many, one.” That motto drives us to pledge we are “one nation under God.”
I think the expression Sali is searching for here is "My way or the highway."

If some on the Left have their way, our motto would seem to be E Pluribus Pluribus, or “out of many, many.” The only way to maintain “cultural diversity” and “ethnic difference” is to diminish and ultimately disregard the Judeo-Christian heritage that has long been the safeguard of our personal and national liberty.
Sali does have this partially right. The only way to maintain cultural diversity and ethnic difference is to diminish and disregard the Judeo-Christian heritage that has safeguarded the personal and national liberty of white Christian folk through genocide, imperialism and discrimination. It's an ill-advised and most would say un-Christian tradition, but it's history all the same. Most of us would like to keep it that way. Ensuring our civil liberties is an excellent way of moving society forward from such black marks on a cultural record, but Sali is apparently stuck in the past.

For example, to protect the language of every ethnic group, multiculturalists would find it hard to support English as the official language of the U.S. The Judeo-Christian heritage would protect the right of every man to know and speak as many languages as he desires, but the banner of E Pluribus Unum could restrict our official language to one, the product of our country’s origin and for 400 years the common language of the American people: English.
As many have already pointed out, "the banner of E Pluribus Unum" would have to restrict our official language to Latin, if there's only going to be one. And I hardly see how restricting the use of languages other than English (and Latin, I guess) will do more to "protect" a language than to refrain from restricting people's communication to begin with.
The Judeo-Christian principles on which our republic was founded can be embraced, defended and practiced by people of any faith. Anyone doing so will find an ally in me. But when principles outside of the Judeo-Christian tradition begin to be promoted within Congress, we should all recognize that the government given to us by the Founding Fathers will be at risk. That should give every American serious pause.
I guess it's nice of Sali to offer to ally with people who are exactly like him, but other than that, this paragraph is complete nonsense. The US government is itself designed to operate "outside the princples of the Judeo-Christian tradition," so that it can deal with things like, say, the free market, or Archimedes' principle, or any number of things that are irreligious in nature.

I'm not sure whether Sali thinks that the Capitol is powered by God running on a huge hamster wheel buried deep beneath Washington or what, but he's got some serious cause-and-effect issues going on here. Which I suppose explains why he gets so many other things backwards. Like whether the best thing you could do when you find yourself in a hole is to keep digging.

EDIT: I dashed this post off in a hurry, but I'd like to add that what Sali is talking about is not protecting his personal values from encroachment by others'. What he can't live without is his values butting their way into the lives of everyone else. He can't sit around and watch a Hindu prayer - he has to watch his prayer being pushed on the Hindu guy. He's working to protect Christian Supremacy, not Christian worship, and most definitely not American values.
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