Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Virginia Senate Puts Kebosh on Prayer in School Amendment

The mythology of persecution has grown so potent among the Christian Right that they feel led by God to impose themselves on venues they judge are insufficiently Christianized for their tastes. Hence, the now late-lamented attempt to revise Virginia's constitutional guarantees on religious freedom -- a document penned in 1786 by no less than Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and George Mason -- to actually mandate Christian prayer in school and other public arenas.

The Virginia Senate Courts of Justice Committee voted 10 to 5 yesterday to reject a proposed new meddlesome paragraph that Del. Charles W. Carrico Sr. (R-Grayson) wanted to wedge into the graceful 18th-century prose of the state's constitution. New language was needed, he said, to counter court decisions that have "persecuted Christians and expelled expressions of faith from the public square." So whereas the Founding Fathers of Virginia wrote that "all men shall be free to profess and by argument to maintain their opinions in matters of religion," that's insufficiently partisan for Del. Carrico, who wants to demonize "activist judges." We thank God for "activist judges," if that's what you want to call 'em, who'll continue to hold the line against the Charles Carricos of Virginia and elsewhere, who intend to ram their religion down everyone else's throats (by means of the public schools, if possible) and who scream "PERSECUTION" when they're thwarted.

Interestingly, four Republicans joined the committee's six Democrats to soundly defeat Del. Carrico's trifling amendment. Occasionally, statesmanship can still rear its handsome head in this age of partisanship, though those four Republican state senators will be targeted in the next primaries for failing to deliver "Christian Virginia" into the hands of the "Christians."

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