A Sponsor Responds to the Criticism on Missouri House Concurrent Resolution No 13

Since I had provided the contact info for the two sponsors of the bill here I felt obligated to email both sponsors and put my .02 in. One of the sponsors, Rep. Barney Fisher, has responded to my email. I won’t post the response since I did not identify myself as a blogger or mention that I would be posting it, but I will summarize his points – he reponded with four.

First, Rep. Fisher felt that not to sponsor the resolution would be tantamount to denying Christ, and quotes Luke 12:9-10. I’ll leave other, more religously minded folks to comment on this.
Second, discussion and debate of all sides of an issue should be instructive. Mr. Fisher feels that mentioning Christianity draws all manner of scorn and labeling. I would point out that this is not necessarily true, it’s only when religous values are forced upon others that things get testy.
Third, those evil liberals and their watered down Christian values are ruining America [my phrasing-afarensis] by banning school prayer, the Ten Commandments, the war on Christmas, not allowing the Bible to be used as a history or literature text, promoting gay marriage, etc, etc, and are over riding the will of the majority. Rep. Fisher basically argues that by not allowing school prayer or the ten commandments in courtrooms we are depriving people of their freedom. This is an argument I reject because christians can pray in a wide variety of places, they can post the ten commandments in their home, etc, they can sing all the Christmas carols and have all the Christmas trees they want. They just can’t subsidize it with taxpayer money, truth be told I think organized religion gets far to many tax breaks as it is.
Fourth, related to point three, the Supreme Court created a misguided legal precedent in creating the separation of church and state. He does not explain how using tax payer dollars to subsidize his religious views is not an establishment of religion…nor does he explain how this is not a violation of the first ammendment…

8 Responses

  1. Might it not actually be more ethical to post his actual words than to paraphrase them — since that allows him to speak for himself, and not be possibly misrepresented.

  2. I’m still debating the issue…publishing his letter seemed to much like an ambush…

  3. Does it look like it was typed individually, or was it a generic copy and pasted response? I guess in the former, you might want to ask him for permission to reproduce it, whilst in the latter, I don’t think there is anything wrong with showing the whole thing.

  4. I had emailed him and he responded to the email. It was definately typed individually by him.

  5. Maybe in your future correspondences with representatives you should put a disclaimer saying that replies may be posted on blogs for public viewing.

  6. Maybe email him again and ask if it’s acceptable to quote his post in public. Include the blog’s URL so that, if he so wishes, he can comment.

  7. Thanks everybody for your advice. I must confess that although I have been blogging for almost two years this is the first time this situation has ever come up before. So here is what I did. I created a signature, with my blog address and a warning that any response may be posted on my blog, that I will attach to future emails. I also emailed Rep. Fisher and asked for his permission to post his email. I do think that some of you are right. At the moment you are having to rely on my summary of Mr. Fishers’ views, which I think are fair, but whether Mr. Fisher thinks they adequetly characterize his views is another question. Learn from experience I guess…

  8. Luke 12: 9-10 (English Standard Version, other translations similar) —

    9 but the one who denies me before men will be denied before the angels of God. 10 And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but the one who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.

    So, if you are an observant Christian who takes (taketh?) every word of Scripture literally, verse 9 means you are in big trouble with the Big Guy when you see Him after death if you deny the Christ. Yet, in verse 10, if you speak against Jesus (the mortal part) you will be forgiven, but speaking against the Holy Spirit will not be. Frankly, I’ve always had trouble sorting out this trinity stuff (I’m a Friend and we don’t obsess about the issue), but verse 9 and the second half of 10 mean bad things for blasphemers.
    Fisher is saying that not sponsoring the bill would be denying Jesus as Messiah and the Godhead, which if taken literally means unhappy times in the afterlife for Fisher. It probably would not go over well with his Christian constituents who might not re-elect him, but that’s the cynic in me speaking there.
    Since I brought up Quakers here, I will also point out that the Friends in the colony and later state of Pennsylvania eventually withdrew from political office — despite their founding the colony — because they discovered that their faith and politics were incompatible pursuits. It’s that whole “render unto Caesar” thing Jesus mentions. You cannot serve two masters. Fisher and his fellow sponsors are now in that position: how can they simultaneously obey both Constitution (and their oath of office) and Scripture? Easy: change the Constitution.
    Don’t laugh. We’ve got wingnuts here in Kentucky who want to rewrite the state constitution to limit the power of “activist” judges.

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