I just wanted to drop you a little note to thank you for the interesting family discussions around here recently.
So often, conversations based on the antics of politicians and others of note end up going places I’d rather not. Such was the case with a certain Toronto Mayor last year, and before that a senator with an unfortunate surname and a predilection for smart phone portraits of his mister bits.
But your recent actions weren’t awkward in any sense that has to do with photos of body parts, or what someone may or may not be snorting up his nose. Our conversations about what you had to say recently were just plain interesting.
What’s more, when you stood outside that legislative chamber last week in protest to an opening prayer offered in Hindu, you really owned it. Others offered feeble excuses like being tardy and embarrassed about interrupting a solemn moment.
But not you, Representative. You and at least two others of your disposition stood up for your convictions. Even if doing so showed you to be embarrassingly small-minded, you owned it. Go you.
Talk about a teachable moment. This was a humdinger, lady.
First off, you’ve given us an opportunity to talk about Hinduism, what we know about it and the people who practice it. Actually, while I know only one or two of the many in the world who practice the religion, I’m pretty sure they’d have something to say about your assertion that it’s a “false faith with false gods.”
The origins of Hindu are ancient and its practitioners are as varied in their approach to their faith as Christians are to theirs, inspiring conversations around here about tolerance and about fanaticism. You’ve stirred discussions about how, in this day and age we might be tempted to think religious wackadoo the domain of fringe groups, cults and jihadists, or maybe even stretching to incorporate a certain 900 million people who prefer to let cows roam the streets unmolested. Certainly not something we need concern ourselves with in our corner of the world.
Your actions show how even the people we sit next to in our own churches might lose sight of a core message of peace and love, and instead be inspired to righteous judgment.
By the way, that thing you said? About how standing at respectful attention during a Hindu prayer would be disingenuous to your Christian faith? Pretty sure that would have made Christ himself spit wine out his nose.
Then there was that little thing about this being a “Christian nation,” based upon “Christian values.”
What is it with the inane need for people to continually justify their own religious zeal by likening it to that of our founding fathers? I’m fairly certain those same gentlemen would have been taken aback by such a notion. I don’t know that for sure, mind you. I’m just making an educated guess based on some of their words…
“In regard to religion, mutual toleration in the different professions thereof is what all good and candid minds in all ages have ever practiced, and both by precept and example inculcated on mankind.”
– Samuel Adams, The Rights of the Colonists (1771)
and this …
“During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What has been its fruits? More or less, in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution.”
– James Madison, General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia (1785)
Seriously, honey, saying that we’re a “Christian nation” based what you presume to be the core beliefs of our founding fathers is rather like saying we’re a mustachioed nation based upon the predominance of facial hair at the time. Or maybe we’re a nation of pants-wearers. The very garb of the framers of our constitution conveying the overriding belief that everyone, everywhere should always wear pants.
I do happen to stubbornly cling to that particular notion of the connection of our founding fathers to pants. I can tell you though, just judging by the uniform of the underwear brigade that saunters downstairs every Saturday morning for Cheerios, few around here share that belief.
Finally, Representative Nuxoll, your actions give my little family the opportunity to have a long conversation about a topic that does come up frequently around here.
You’re a mom, right? You know that organic opportunities to talk about manners crop up every day. Well, your actions gave rise to talks about some pretty nuanced stuff.
I mean, it’s not like you let a door slam in someone’s face on your way out the building, or forgot to say “please” or “thank you.”
No, your lack of manners was more insidious. But no matter how cozy it felt there, wrapped in your mantle of principle, ultimately, your actions were demeaning to others.
Rude is just rude.
And you continue to stand by what you did in the face of being called upon by religious and political leaders to apologize. That people far more knowledgeable about the constitution and the people behind it have challenged what you had to say doesn’t sway you.
The bottom line: your actions as a statesman were embarrassing, your justifications for those actions hollow, your knowledge of history shaky, and your fervor exhausting.
But I appreciate the resulting conversations with my kids. And the fact that we didn’t have to see or talk about any of your privates. So, thank you for that.
You don’t have to be a pants wearer to vote for my little blog. Thank you.
Photo by Jim Bowen