The following exchange took place on April 2nd, during a committee hearing of the Illinois House State Government Administration Committee. It involved Rob Sherman, an atheist activist from Buffalo Grove, Ill and Rep. Monique Davis (D-Chicago) – note the D next her name.
The committee was taking testimony about a slick plan to give $1 million in state money to Pilgrim Baptist Church through a charter school that rented space at the church to help the church rebuild after a fire.
Davis: I don’t know what you have against God, but some of us don’t have much against him. We look forward to him and his blessings. And it’s really a tragedy — it’s tragic — when a person who is engaged in anything related to God, they want to fight. They want to fight prayer in school.
I don’t see you (Sherman) fighting guns in school. You know?
I’m trying to understand the philosophy that you want to spread in the state of Illinois. This is the Land of Lincoln. This is the Land of Lincoln where people believe in God, where people believe in protecting their children.… What you have to spew and spread is extremely dangerous, it’s dangerous–
Sherman: What’s dangerous, ma’am?
Davis: It’s dangerous to the progression of this state. And it’s dangerous for our children to even know that your philosophy exists! Now you will go to court to fight kids to have the opportunity to be quiet for a minute. But damn if you’ll go to [court] to fight for them to keep guns out of their hands. I am fed up! Get out of that seat!
Sherman: Thank you for sharing your perspective with me, and I’m sure that if this matter does go to court—
Davis: You have no right to be here! We believe in something. You believe in destroying! You believe in destroying what this state was built upon.
This was an elected official actually deciding that a citizen of her state had no right to speak in the committee because of his religious beliefs.
The sad part is the story got no play last week when it happened. Chicago Tribune metro columnist Eric Zorn wrote about the exchange on April 3rd but even his paper failed to mention the attempt by Rep. Monique Davis to deny Sherman his constitutional rights.
Imagine if she had made the comments to a Christian, Jew, or Muslim. I doubt she would even be elected Dog catcher after that – but since it was an atheist then it didn’t seem to matter.