Sunday, August 27, 2006

It's Silly Season...

...But in some places it's really silly season.

Election campaigns can frequently be annoying as the airwaves and telephone lines are filled with reminders of the candidates and what they stand for. It's for good reason that this period of time is known as "Silly Season," and it will only get worse as we get closer to the November election date. Occasionally, however, a candidate comes along who puts the emphasis on the silly part of the term. This year that candidate is Katherine Harris. This is what she said on Friday at a campaign stop (from the Washington Post):

Rep. Katherine Harris (R-Fla.) said this week that God did not intend for the United States to be a "nation of secular laws" and that the separation of church and state is a "lie we have been told" to keep religious people out of politics.

"If you're not electing Christians, then in essence you are going to legislate sin," Harris told interviewers from the Florida Baptist Witness, the weekly journal of the Florida Baptist State Convention. She cited abortion and same-sex marriage as examples of that sin.

...Harris told the journalists "we have to have the faithful in government" because that is God's will. Separating religion and politics is "so wrong because God is the one who chooses our rulers," she said.

"And if we are the ones not actively involved in electing those godly men and women," then "we're going to have a nation of secular laws. That's not what our Founding Fathers intended, and that certainly isn't what God intended."
[Emphasis added]

Her remarks were clearly offensive, historical revisionism aside. Jewish Americans had to be appalled, not to mention Americans who are Buddhist, Muslim, pagan, agnostic, or atheist. The idea that officials are annointed by God also seems to indicate that voting is nothing more than an exercise in faithfulness. That Ms. Harris was out of line was duly noted by a number of Republicans who suggested that her views were certainly not that of the GOP.

Apparently Ms. Harris took the chastening to heart, because yesterday her campaign issued the following clarification (from an AP story):

Harris' campaign released a statement Saturday saying she had been "speaking to a Christian audience, addressing a common misperception that people of faith should not be actively involved in government."

The comments reflected "her deep grounding in Judeo-Christian values," the statement said, adding that Harris had previously supported pro-Israel legislation and legislation recognizing the Holocaust.

Yeah, that oughta get it.

While Ms. Harris' campaign has given liberals ample opportunities to chuckle, statements like these are both horrifying and frightening. Hopefully the decent Republicans in Florida see them the same way.


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