Boise, Idaho's Ten Commandments Vote
[RadicalRuss here. I’m the usual guest barista here, maybe even assistant manager on the night shift. Many thanks to all the guest baristas of the past few days – you are all excellent writers and thinkers and we love each and every one of you in a special and not-at-all pervy way… unless that’s what you like…]
Regular Blenders (an oxymoron if I ever wrote one…) will recall my obscene fascination with Princess Barbie Talibania, a.k.a. Brandi Swindell, a young virginal pro-life female activist from my hometown of Boise, Idaho. She’s the founder of “Generation Life”, a group that believes all abortion is evil and will be undone through her work with the “post-Roe generation” (which, I believe, is a term for adult salmon, but I’ll let it slide.) She also believes in that virginity pledge nonsense, protested to keep Terri Schaivo’s brain-dead flesh-muppet body alive, protested giving condoms to Olympic athletes at Salt Lake City in 2002, protests the use of Zygote-Americans for stem-cell research, and appears from time to time on cable news when they need a pretty talking head from Taliban/Wingnut coalition.
My fascination stems from two sources: the fact that one of her cousins was a good friend of mine in high school and the fact that I can’t resist the opportunity to think nasty thoughts about overtanned blonde hotties who wear crucifixes and hate female sexuality. You know how some guys think they can “cure” a lesbian if they only slept with a manly man like themselves? Same idea, but I want to “cure” Born-Againâ„? Christian virgins. Satan makes me do it.
One of Barbie’s other hats is as a director for the Keep the Commandments Coalition (KCC). This group sprang up in protest of a decision by the Boise City Council to remove a stone decalogue from Julia Davis Park — a public city park maintained by public money. The monument had been there since 1964 and no one had ever complained about it, and with Bush at a net +18% approval rating in the Gem State, you can figure out why (Idaho’s the 2nd “reddest” state, trailing only Utah in Christ-flavored conservatism – the only blue spot in Idaho is Boise State’s football field). To tell the truth, I lived in Boise from 1985-2000 and played many gigs at the bandshell just twenty feet from the monument, and I didn’t even know it was there.
But then Fred “God Hates Fags” Phelps found out there was a religious monument on public property and he went ballistic. He threatened to fly in and set up a “Leviticus 18:22” monument in the park and then sic his family of lawyers on the Boise City Council if they tried to stop him. (Personally, I was rooting for a monument to the entirety of Leviticus, so we could remind people that God thinks eating shellfish, wearing mixed-cloth garments, and talking to menstruating women are abominations, too, but the Association of Polyester-Uniform-Clad, Pre-Menstrual-Syndrome-Suffering Red Lobster Waitresses put the kibosh on that one.) So the Boise City council decided to avoid the fight and move the monument from the park to the entirely sensible location on the grounds of a church facing the Idaho Capitol. Quite a controversy that one; you know, following the First Amendment to the US Constitution and all.
That’s where our story picks up. Barbie and the KCC circulated a petition in Boise asking voters to sign an initiative to force the Boise City Council to put the matter of the decalogue up for a public vote. Because, after all, majorities are always really good at protecting the rights of minorities, even when those rights oppose the will of the majority. Don’t you remember when all those Southern states freely voted to end apartheid with no pressure from the rest of us? (Of course you don’t.) If the majority decides they want Christian Scripture displayed and maintained by the State, well, then, tough nuggets, Mr. Hindu, Mr. Muslim, Mr. Buddhist, you get to pony up tax money to support a state-sponsored monument that says you’re gonna burn in hell forever.
A sensible appeals court nixed that initiative, but then the Idaho Supreme Court, in a 4-1 decision, said that Barbie & the KCC do have the right to ask for a vote on this matter. Yes, that’s right, 4 out of 5 Idaho Justices surveyed think voting on the First Amendment is okey-dokey. Now you know why I moved to Oregon.
So while we wait for that nail-biter of a vote (my prediction: it passes by a 70% or greater vote), the KCC and the opposition are mustering all the attention they can to present their side. Barbie’s been calling for volunteers for weeks now and from the tone of her e-mails, they sound pretty desperate. I just received this e-mail where she complains that other religious groups actually agree with the separation of church and state:
The Interfaith Alliance of Idaho and Interfaith Religious Leaders Network are opposing the Ten Commandments Initiative, saying that the Ten Commandments should not be posted on public property.
This is tragic!
The Ten Commandments have always strengthened and united communities, not divided them. To only place the them on church grounds, is to be exclusive of all those who may not attend Church. To prevent the public posting of the Ten Commandments is to exclude people of different denominations, and different faiths, and is in direct opposition to the religious freedom our nation embraces.
Try and wrap your head around that one. If you don’t place the Ten Commandments on public property, people who don’t go to church won’t see ’em! They could actually go through life avoiding Biblical Scripture! And somehow, not allowing Christians to post Christian Scripture is an act of repression against Hindus, Muslims, and Buddhists.
The Interfaith Alliance of Idaho and Interfaith Religious Leaders Network represent only a small portion of the people in our community. They do not represent the predominant viewpoint of the citizens of Boise. Scientific polling has shown that more than 60% of Boise residents did not agree with the removal of the Ten Commandments from Julia Davis Park.
Neat, huh, how she’s quick to support scientific polling in this case, but when actual scientists give her scientifically-sound info on stem cell research, well, then it’s no time for science. I wonder if 60% of Boise residents agree with black people marrying white people, or women having the vote, or the accused’s right to not incriminate themselves. I hope so, or Idaho better start some initiatives to overturn those civil rights, too.
Last week, KCC held a Pastor’s luncheon where local clergy from a variety of denominations gathered to show their support for the public posting of the Ten Commandments. These local leaders recognize the unifying impact of the Ten Commandments and embrace the opportunity for all members of our community to share in making Boise safer, healthier and stronger.
The Interfaith Alliance of Idaho and Interfaith Religious Leaders Network are
holding an anti-Ten Commandments rally at noon today at Boise City Hall. Members of Keep the Commandments Coalition will be there to be available for comment in response to the remarks of the Interfaith Alliance of Idaho and the Interfaith Religious Leaders Network. If any of you get this e-mail in time, you are welcome to join us.
I don’t know what else to say. There is no rational discussion with these people.