Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Why, oh why, Jimbo?

Why, oh why, Jimbo, did you co-sponsor a bill to help turn this country into a theocracy?

That's what Jim Ramstad did, boys and girls. Don't believe Spotty? Here's the bill. Here's the description of what it is supposed to do:

To amend the Revised Statutes of the United States to eliminate the chilling effect on the constitutionally protected expression of religion by State and local officials and the Federal Government that results from the threat that potential litigants may seek damages and attorney's fees. [italics are Spot's]

But Spotty, aren't government officials supposed to refrain from religious expression when they're acting as, like, public officials, anyway? That's what the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment is all about!

Grasshopper, you are a precocious fellow! Certainly more precocious than Jimbo. Anyway, the title of the bill is the "Veterans' Memorials, Boy Scouts, Public Seals, and Other Public Expressions of Religion Protection Act of 2006."

Here are the things that the bill "protects:"

The remedies with respect to a claim under this section are limited to injunctive and declaratory relief where the deprivation consists of a violation of a prohibition in the Constitution against the establishment of religion, including, but not limited to, a violation resulting from—

"(1) a veterans' memorial's containing religious words or imagery;

"(2) a public building's containing religious words or imagery;

"(3) the presence of religious words or imagery in the official seals of the several States and the political subdivisions thereof; or

"(4) the chartering of Boy Scout units by components of States and political subdivisions, and the Boy Scouts' using public buildings of States and political subdivisions.".
The principal purpose of this bill is to defund public interest litigation in Establishment Clause cases. It deprives litigants of any claim for damages and, in another section, any claim for attorneys' fees, which are usually awarded in a successful civil rights actions under 42 USC § 1983.

But Spotty, the enumerated things don't look so bad.

Grasshopper, it is the "but not limited to" language and the "public building's [sic] containing religious words or imagery" that are especially troublesome. The way Spot reads this, literally anything done by a federal, state or local official in the name of religion would be insulated against damages. The enumerated items are all written, but the "not limited to" language would insulate from damages all kinds of prayers, incantations, sermonizing, proselytizing, and religious demagoguery.

And the language about "religious words or imagery" referring to public buildings means not only In God We Trust over the front door, but get ready to stumble over baby Jesus in the manger in city halls all over America.

Jimbo's name is on this stinker as a sponsor with such Congressional luminaries as Marilyn Musgrave, Tom Tancredo, and Jean Schmidt. Oh by the way, John Kline and Mark Kennedy were also sponsors. Perhaps Gil wasn't there they day the passed the pad around! (Spot believes he did vote for the bill, though.)

These guys would be so happy to have Michele Bachmann join the cause that they sponsored a fund raiser in Washington for her on July 20th of this year. She would be a reliable vote for garbage like this.

This bill was passed in the House on September 14th of this year and has not been acted on by the Senate. Spotty says you might think, boys and girls, about sending a little money to Democrats in close Senate races.


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