Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Columns

April 23, 2014

House of Burgess: You've gotta keep 'em separated

Louisiana almost names Bible state book

In my career as a journalist I have served my time reporting on city council, county supervisor and state regulatory meetings, to name just a few. Whatever else they might have been, they weren’t holy places. In the many, many hours I spent there I never felt the presence of anything that might be described as transcendent or spiritual.

Perhaps this is part of why I have so much trouble understanding those who seek desperately to assign governmental powers to their religious beliefs. Why do they keep trying it?

“[State] Rep. Thomas Carmody, R-Shreveport, scrapped his proposal to make the Holy Bible the official state book [of Louisiana] before it could go to a full vote of the state House of Representatives Monday evening,” reported Julia O’Donoghue of The Times-Picayune on Monday. “The bill had become a distraction, he said.”

Is there something about this time of year? When I read that, I couldn’t help but think back to my April 17, 2013 column, “Believe; it may be law soon,” in which I wrote about North Carolina state Reps. Carl Ford, R-China Grove, and Harry Warren, R-Salisbury, who introduced a bill that would have allowed lawmakers there to establish a state religion. Just days after being introduced April 1, 2013, the bill was quickly pulled from consideration — not unlike Carmody’s Bible bill.

Fortunately, those two bills were picked off before they could rise to the level of a full hearing. LGBT residents of Mississippi weren’t that lucky. Senate Bill 2681 was just one of the religiously based, anti-gay laws wending their way through numerous state legislatures I wrote about in my March 5 column, “Like déjà vu all over again.”

Someone needs to tell these legislators they fundamentally misunderstand oppression if they think not being able to discriminate against others anymore is tantamount to being discriminated against themselves.

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