Tag Archives: Governor

Day Of Prayer Proclamations Unconstitutional In Colorado

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image of the scales of justiceA three-judge panel of the Colorado Court of Appeals ruled unanimously, on May 10th, that Day of Prayer proclamations by the Governor are unconstitutional. The court didn’t address the National Day of Prayer but the reasoning can be applied to that law: “A reasonable observer would conclude that these proclamations send the message that those who pray are favored members of Colorado’s political community, and that those who do not pray do not enjoy that favored status.”
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Blackwell blinded by religion

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On Monday, 8/28, Ohio governor candidate, J Kenneth Blackwell, held a big press conference to announce an endorsement by a group of Christian pastors. Normally that wouldn’t bother me – even Rev Russell Johnson being one of the endorsers wasn’t a surprise. He had been endorsing Blackwell on the sly for sometime. Pastors and priests should be free to exercise their rights as citizens to endorse candidates for elected office. As long as they are doing it as individuals and not using the resources of their church in support of the person or against the other candidate.

What bothered me was Blackwell’s press conference and the inferences he and others made as written in the local papers.

We are fundamental believers in the fact that the public square should not be stripped or scrubbed clean of religion or faith or God,” Blackwell said. “I will fight for the right of the nonbeliever to not believe, because we all have a right to be wrong.”

Pastors stand up for Blackwell – Columbus Dispatch 8/29/2006

Hmm, ‘we all have the right to be wrong’?

Talk about being arrogant. Blackwell plays good word games. He could have said ‘I will fight for the right of the nonbeliever to not believe, because we all are equal under the law.’ but instead he took the opportunity to express that his religious beliefs are correct and the non-believer is wrong. Had he said what I suggested above, he would be in line with government neutrality toward religious beliefs. It is not about being “right” or “wrong”. If we are equal under the law than our beliefs don’t matter and shouldn’t matter.

Also not to beat a dead horse but there is not an effort toward the “public square” to “be stripped or scrubbed clean of religion or faith or God.” That will never happen regardless if Blackwell is elected or not. As I have posted before the “public square” doesn’t equal “government”. Some of us, including the founding fathers, don’t want religion mixing with government in the way that Blackwell intends.

I think he’s better than President Bush at articulating Christian values and how that plays out in terms of policy,” said [Bishop Harry] Jackson, a Democrat.

Wow, Blackwell is more religious than Pope Bush. That is saying a lot.

That is the shell game Blackwell and his supporters are playing. They are playing the religion card and it is bad for Democracy.

Democracy ideally relies on elected bodies of power to create laws and govern the day-to-day affairs of the nation. Debate ensues and usually compromise is reached. Because these bodies are not unanimous and are not taking the cues from the same source generally a mutually beneficial and efficient solution is reached. Democracy in essence relies on compromise and debate of parties seeking the best interest of the nation.

The problem with church and government mixing usually means the issues begin to be defined not as fair or just, but as good and evil. Religion has a bad habit of making a black and white argument. Christians, Muslims and Jews see the world as a test and struggle to the souls of humanity for eternal reward to the believers and eternal punishment for the unbelievers. Hence compromise with those outside the group in power usually isn’t an option as they are not good or as good as the ones with religion. In essence, it is wrong to compromise with evil.

Religion and Government Should Never Be Mixed

Ohio has a unique constitution in that some rights afforded to its citizens are not as vague or as open to misinterpretation as the Federal constitution. Here is an example:

No person shall be compelled to attend, erect, or support any place of worship, or maintain any form of worship, against his consent; and no preference shall be given, by law, to any religious society; nor shall any interference with the rights of conscience be permitted. No religious test shall be required, as a qualification for office, nor shall any person be incompetent to be a witness on account of his religious belief….

Ohio Bill of Rights

I would be very interested if either candidate would support this constitutional right. I think Blackwell would have a tough time supporting it as his press conference made clear. Should we elect someone who can’t uphold even basic civil rights?

Ken Blackwell had 27 contacts with Revs Johnson and Parsley in past 2 years

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The Associated Press reported Sunday 3/12/2006, that Ohio governor candidate Ken Blackwell, who is currently the Ohio Secretary of State, met with Rev. Russell Johnson and Rod Parsley or their churches 27 times from January 2004 through March of this year.

Johnson is the founder of the Ohio Restoration Project while Rev. Parsley is founder of Reformation Ohio, a similar group, and both are named in a complaint made to the IRS by 31 other clergy members. The complaint alleges Johnson and Parsley are illegally electioneering for Blackwell.

The information examined by the AP didn’t include Blackwell’s campaign schedule as Blackwell says that schedule is not subject to public review.

Overall, Blackwell’s schedule documents 75 meetings of a religious nature, including visits to churches, meetings with pastors and Christian business groups, speeches to church groups, and attendance at prayer breakfasts and Christian men’s groups.

Blackwell’s contacts with Johnson include meetings like the one on December 9, 2004, in his Columbus office at 1:00pm, when Johnson introduced the secretary of state to David Limbaugh, a conservative commentator and brother of radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh, according to the secretary of state’s schedule. Later that day, Blackwell spoke at a fundraiser for Johnson’s Fairfield Christian Academy.

Blackwell’s meetings with Parsley include three flights to anti-gay marriage events in 2004 aboard the seven-passenger Hawker Siddeley 125 owned by Parsley’s church. Blackwell reimbursed Parsley $1,000 for the flights.

Blackwell Met With Ministers More Often Than IRS Complaint Alleged

What is even more interesting is the following bit:

Blackwell’s GOP rival for governor, Attorney General Jim Petro, declined comment, except to say he occasionally meets with ministers, but not with Parsley or Johnson. Former candidate Betty Montgomery, currently Ohio’s state auditor, also meets with ministers, but she has not met not with Parsley or Johnson.

The schedule obtained by the AP from Blackwell’s office ends in September, when the official calendar was transferred to Blackwell’s political campaign.

Asked for the public portion of Blackwell’s schedule from September through March, the campaign provided 158 pages, but most events were blacked out as campaign-related — which means they were not a public record.

Blackwell said no documents held by his campaign are covered under open records law, including calendar items that reflect events — such as appearances with the pastors — that he made as secretary of state.

Obviously he is hiding the fact that Johnson and Parsley ARE electioneering for him. Why else would the events be blacked out and not others. He admits those items blacked out he attended as the Secretary of State. They should all be available for public review if he is attending as an elected official.

Rev. Rod Parsley comes outside his lush estate to give his side in IRS electioneering complaint

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image of Rev. Rod Parsley of the World Harvest Church in Ohio
Rev. Rod Parsley of the World Harvest Church in Ohio

I guess the PR people at World Harvest Church were a bit upset at all the face time fellow electioneering minister Rev. Russell Johnson, senior pastor of the Fairfield Christian Church in Lancaster, was getting over the IRS complaint filed by clergy from 31 denominations this week. Rev. Rod Parsley, the founder and senior pastor of World Harvest, and television heart throb to shut-ins, came outside his lush estate in Canal Winchester, to speak to the unwashed of the media. A PR flack had previously made comments about the complaint.
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