Thursday, November 01, 2007

Bauer Applauds Prayer Ruling: "The Majority Of People Are Christians"

It sounded more like something you would expect House Republican Leader Brian Bosma to say, but it came from the mouth of House Speaker Pat Bauer. "The majority of people in this state are Christian," Bauer said in defending a 7th Circuit opinion dismissing the ACLU of Indiana's lawsuit against the Indiana House of Representatives' practice of allowing Christian-only prayers at the start of each legislative business day. According to the South Bend Tribune's Jeff Parrott, Bauer paused before adding, "But if you exclude a minority, then you have a problem."

Parrott further quotes Bauer as saying Judge David Hamilton's original ruling restraining the House from allowing Christian-only prayers amounted to censorship. "Censoring one particular religion is almost reverse discrimination," Bauer said. "We've had the Jewish faith and even a Muslim over the years." Bauer was joined at a press conference with Attorney General Steve Carter (R) to applaud the 7th Circuit ruling tossing the case based on the lack of standing by the plaintiffs and not on the merits of the case. Judge Hamilton said in his decision there was no problem with the prayers as long as they remained non-sectarian and avoided endorsing one religion over another.

Parrott said Carter didn't want to address the issue of how non-Christians can feel alienated by the Houses Christian-only prayers, which on one occasional included a sing-along to a song entitled "Let's Take a Walk With Jesus." "It's a rather ceremonial process, and we think maintaining tradition is important," Carter said. "These are public representatives elected from throughout Indiana ... for some other branch of government to step in and try to fine-tune that is heading down a very difficult path," Carter said.

It looks to me like Bauer is going out of his way to appeal to the religious right on this issue. Average Hoosiers could care less what kind of prayer the House delivers at the beginning of its legislative day. They are far more concerned about whether lawmakers are dealing with property taxes and other pocket book issues which impact their daily lives far more. "The majority of us are Christians" comment is a frightening comment for people who are not Christians to hear from such a high-ranking member of their government. Bosma was taken to the woodshed by Jewish groups when he used a "2%" reference, which supposedly represented the percentage of Hoosiers who were Jewish. Let's see if anyone complains about Bauer's comment.


Anonymous said...

Two things scream out here:

1. Parrott is a good reporter, but look for Bauer to claim, privately or loudly, that he was misquoted or taken out of context. He often does this when he gets negative pushback on anything he does.

2. This confirms my belief that Pat Bauer's finally lost it and needs to go. Remember, he's the one who thinks the Dems lost the House in 2004 because of the gay marriage issue, and, thusly, "allowed" the issue to go to a committee in the last session (to appease his caucus).

Bauer has almost no grasp of reality. I'm told by folks in the know, that he's hoping to be chosen for LG by one of the gubernatorial candidates.

Which is so funny it's pathetic.

Village idiots need their representation, but not this many of them.

Doug said...

For whatever good it does, I went ahead and criticized him on my blog, Gary. Thanks for flagging the story.

Republican or Democrat, that kind of crap is just plain wrong. In fact, it's 180 degrees wrong. The Constitution was designed to limit the power of the majority over the minority. It was also designed to prevent a toxic mix of government & religion by folks who still remembered the religious wars that devastated Europe. Having a government speaker leading a revival-style clap and sing along sectarian prayer is just flat wrong.

I see no particular usefulness to the sectarian prayers. Claims about the sanctity of "tradition" notwithstanding, to me it looks a lot like a dog marking his territory.

Anonymous said...

Where do I go to lodge a complaint against Mr. Bauer's comment? Gladly sign me up!

Anonymous said...

Bauer paused before adding, "But if you exclude a minority, then you have a problem."

And which part of his sentence do you think the liberal TV and radio media will show?

That way they can say they are "unbiased."

Anonymous said...

Yea! We can be a state-wide theocracy!

Anonymous said...

To paraphrase Twain: Let's say I'm an idiot. And let's say I'm a member of the Indiana Legislature...but I repeat myself.