Sunday, August 12, 2007

Sunday Idaho Blogging: Inaugural Edition

I've been remiss in my coverage of Idaho politics for...well, several months. So I'm going to start a new feature here, where I'll round up the Idaho blogging and news I found noteworthy, and add my commentary when I feel I've got something to say.

Without further ado...

The embarassment to Idaho known as Bill Sali has been under fire this week, making national news for complaining about including non-Christians in American public life, and predicting America's downfall as a result of religious pluralism. From TPM, here's the original quote that got Sali in trouble:
"We have not only a Hindu prayer being offered in the Senate, we have a Muslim member of the House of Representatives now, Keith Ellison from Minnesota. Those are changes — and they are not what was envisioned by the Founding Fathers," asserts Sali.

Sali says America was built on Christian principles that were derived from scripture. He also says the only way the United States has been allowed to exist in a world that is so hostile to Christian principles is through "the protective hand of God."

"You know, the Lord can cause the rain to fall on the just and the unjust alike," says the Idaho Republican.

According to Congressman Sali, the only way the U.S. can continue to survive is under that protective hand of God. He states when a Hindu prayer is offered, "that's a different god" and that it "creates problems for the longevity of this country."
It was enough to prompt the Idaho Democratic Party Chair, Richard Stallings, to call for Sali's resignation, even after Sali's handlers attempted damage control, saying that Sali was simply making a "historical observation." Nevermind that no Founding Fathers (who did not share Sali's Christian Evangelical faith, as much as he'd like to think they did) did not predict "problems for the longevity of this country" at the hands of religious freedom (or if they did, I don't know why they'd have written it into the Constitution).

Not content to let his publicist wave the problem away with distracting non-answers to the many Idahoans who do not share Sali's particular faith, the Mountain Goat brings us news that Sali does, in fact, have a problem with other faiths' (and the nonfaithful's) presence in America.
Friday, Sali said multiculturalism is in conflict with the national motto “E Pluribus Unum,” or “out of many, one.” He said multiculturalism would mean “out of the many, the many.”

“The question is, is multiculturalism good or not?” Sali said. “I don’t think the Founding Fathers were multicultural. Multiculturalism is the antithesis of (the motto).”
In response to his concerns about the Hindu prayer offered in the Senate in July, Sali said it is Christianity that drives many good causes in the United States.

“Christian principles work, and they show up in a lot of different areas,” Sali said. “Most of the hospitals in this country have Christian names. If you think Hindu prayer is great, where are the Hindu hospitals in this country? Go down the list. Where are the atheist hospitals in this country? They’re not equal.”
And so we see demonstrated the strong relationship between ignorance and bigotry. As Bubblehead points out, "E Pluribus Unum," is not even this country's motto (and it doesn't fit with Idaho's English-only law, for that matter - read Bubblehead's discussion to get a good picture of how fractally wrong Sali is getting this). And even if it were, if Sali can't see the basic message of creating unity from many different people in the motto, what exactly can he comprehend? A representative whose understanding of the world around him is so selfish that he can't see the strong support for religious pluralism in the Constitution is clearly only representing one thing: himself.
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