Iowa Republicans Clarify: Religious Freedom is just for the Christians
Iowa Republicans believe that Christianity is under attack. In a PPP poll last month, 69% of Republican respondents indicated that “President Obama is waging a war on Christianity.” On the other hand, they report a surprising amount of comfort with war on non-Christian religions. Only 49% of the same Republican respondents indicated that Islam should be allowed to remain legal in this country.
Meanwhile, when Rep. Liz Bennett invited a Wiccan clergymember to deliver the usual religious invocation, Republicans stormed out in protest at the affront of someone with a religion different than theirs. They turned their backs. They staged protests outside.
From a Christian point of view, what was so offensive about the invocation of Deborah Maynard, the Wiccan clergymember who delivered the address? Was it what she said? It could hardly be said so. Read the invocation for yourself:
“We call this morning to God, Goddess, Universe, that which is greater than ourselves to be here with us today. By the Earth that is in our bones and centers us, may all here remember our roots and those whom we are here to represent.
“By the fire that gives us light and passion, may all here remain passionate about the work that must be done for the people of Iowa.
“By the air that gives us breath and logic, may all here find thoughtful solutions to the problems that are presented.
“By the water that flows through our blood and stirs our emotions, may all here draw on that emotional intelligence which helps us to see the inherent worth and dignity of every person.
“We call this morning to Spirit, which is ever present, to help us respect the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part. Be with this legislative body and guide them to seek justice, equity and compassion in the work that is before them today.”
There is only one word that would not be present in a Christian invocation: “Goddess.” Is the use of the word what led to Republicans’ turned backs, mass exodus, protests outside the Iowa legislature? Or was it the fact that Deborah Maynard has a non-Christian religion? Was it the fact that as a member of the Wiccan clergy, she uses the word “witch?”
Watch what they do: Iowa Republicans have clarified that religious freedom in America is just for the Christians. The mere public existence of others is an act of war upon their Christan right to be exalted without dissent.