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2 lawmakers spurn Muslim's prayer - Republicans step off House floor
Seattle Post-Intelligencer ^ | March 4, 2003 | ANGELA GALLOWAY

Posted on 03/04/2003 2:34:57 AM PST by sarcasm

OLYMPIA -- He prayed for the politicians, the state's prosperity and peace for all ethnicities and religions.

But when a Muslim cleric offered the opening prayer before the state House of Representatives yesterday, at least two lawmakers stepped off the chamber floor.

"It's an issue of patriotism," Rep. Lois McMahan, a conservative Republican from Gig Harbor, said of her decision to stand in the back of the room.

"The Islamic religion is so . . . part and parcel with the attack on America. I just didn't want to be there, be a part of that," she said. "Even though the mainstream Islamic religion doesn't profess to hate America, nonetheless it spawns the groups that hate America."

Rep. Cary Condotta, a Republican from East Wenatchee, also left the floor. He said the timing was not a coincidence, but he declined to comment further on why he left, except to say he was talking to another lawmaker and "let's just say I wasn't particularly interested."

A prayer is given at the beginning of each Senate and House session, and attendance is hit or miss, particularly on Mondays.

The interfaith organization Associated Ministries of Thurston County schedules the daily chaplain, said Cynthia Zehnder, clerk of the 98-member chamber. They have selected clerics representing a broad range of faiths, she said.

Imam Mohamad Joban, of the Islamic Center of Olympia, presented yesterday's brief opening prayer.

In part, he said: "We open this session of House of Representatives in the name of Allah the one God Abraham, God of Moses, God of Jesus, and God of Mohammed, peace be upon them all. . . . We ask Allah or God to bless the state of Washington so it may continue to prosper and become a symbol of peace and tranquility for people of all ethnic and religious backgrounds. We pray that Allah may guide this House in making good decisions for the people of Washington.

"At this time, we also pray that America may succeed in the war against terrorism. We pray to God that the war may end with world peace and tranquility."

Joban said the walkout was not hurtful, but ignorant.

"They're unable to distinguish between Islam as religion and way of life, and bad Muslims," said Joban, who has also given the opening prayer to the Senate. "They are easily able to distinguish between Christianity and bad Christians.

"They need to understand that like (President) Bush said . . . Islam is a peaceful religion."

Kathy Erlandson, director of Associated Ministries of Thurston County, found the small walkout disappointing, but not surprising.

"It makes me embarrassed to know that some of our legislators can't even treat someone with that common respect," she said. "He's an American citizen and he's praying for their work, then how can it be an act of patriotism to walk away?"

McMahan said she does not oppose having a Muslim cleric deliver the prayer.

Her departure was not a protest, but a personal decision not to participate because "the religion is the focal point of the hate-America sentiment in the world."

"My god is not Mohammed," McMahan added.

Joban said that if he were invited to give the opening prayer, he would do it again.

"Even if half of them leave it's OK for me," Joban said. "As a Muslim we have to respect what people believe and . . . we have to forgive something because of ignorance.

"The Holy Quran says that (one should) always respond to bad action with good and those who used to be enemies become friends."

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To: muawiyah
If "nuclear family" means any number of wives and sex slaves then you might as well count everyone as having that ---everyone has a father and mother so everyone is from a nuclear family.
481 posted on 03/05/2003 6:04:14 AM PST by FITZ
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To: Illbay
I just answered this on another thread, in another context. You ignore the 14th amendment, and decades of judicial precedent that extends the restrictions of the Constitution to state and local government.

Are you suggesting that the town where you live, could establish a "town church" funded with city taxes? After all, your town isn't Congress, right?

Your answer to me has been refuted on the other thread.

You keep citing the 14th Amendment which simply states (in part) that:
"All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

The key here is privileges and immunities NOT Rights.

If anything, your own argument defeats you!

Congress was prohibited from passes laws regarding free speach, religion etc..., if extended to the states, then the States are prohibited from doing the same.
It does not apply to individuals.
The First Amendment Limits the Legislature only.
Only the Legislature can violate the First Amendment.

482 posted on 03/05/2003 6:20:50 AM PST by An.American.Expatriate
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To: brownie
...that does not mean that anyone has to listen to a prayer.

I never said anyone had to listen to it. In fact, as far as I'm concerned they can stand there and work algebra problems in their heads.

But the initial report--which according to late information may not have even been correct--stated that they had WALKED OUT during the prayer. There is a HUGE difference between passively showing respect, and actively showing impunity.

There is no justification for a show of blatant disrespect to a Muslim cleric based on the fact that you don't believe in the religion, if you are an elected official. Period.

If these people simply stayed away from the invocation, that's one thing. If they staged a walkout during the prayer, that's something else.

You have not made one single argument, nor pointed to one single clause of the Constitution, which requires anyone to sit through a prayer from another religion.

Yes I did, you just don't like it. As I said: Government is to show neutrality with respect to religion. It has no opinion. People can have an opinion, but elected or appointed officials cannot. It is a violation of their constitutional responsibilities, PERIOD.

483 posted on 03/05/2003 6:23:58 AM PST by Illbay
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To: brownie
The most disturbing thing about your posts on this subject, to me, is the lack of any rational thought. You are basing your opinion on emotion...

Funny, I was thinking the same thing about you.

In my case, no emotion applies. I don't care what the religion is, you do. Your argument would change if this was a Christian minister, mine wouldn't.

Your argument is subjective, mine is objective.

Therefore, your statement applies to yourself, not me.

484 posted on 03/05/2003 6:25:44 AM PST by Illbay
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To: An.American.Expatriate
The key here is privileges and immunities NOT Rights.

Quibble, quibble, quibble. "Privileges and immunities" == "Rights."

485 posted on 03/05/2003 6:27:06 AM PST by Illbay
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To: An.American.Expatriate
It does not apply to individuals.

You keep jumping to the conclusion that this is some sort of "right to personal opinion" issue. It isn't.

It is rather an issue of the RESPONSIBILITIES of an elected official. I expect my elected officials to behave in a certain way regardless of their personal opinion.

When a liberal governor (like Mario Cuomo of NY state a few years ago) commutes to life the sentences of any and all convicted murderers who have been sentenced to death, based on their PERSONAL conviction that the death penalty is wrong, then I OBJECT. He has no right to impute his own personal beliefs in such a situation. He has no right to use his personal opinion to make such a decision, because he is an ELECTED OFFICIAL and must act in accordance with his office.

When a judge practices judicial activism, seeing things in the constitution that aren't there but are instead simply in accordance with his personal agenda THAT IS WRONG AND I OBJECT.

And when (and if) a legislator walks out in the middle of a prayer by a Muslim cleric because "that God isn't my God," then I OBJECT, because it is wrong for him or her to act on personal belief when they stand in their elected office.

It's just wrong, period, no matter if you're talking about an atheist "dissing" Christianity or what have you. It's wrong.

486 posted on 03/05/2003 6:33:08 AM PST by Illbay
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To: Illbay
Quibble, quibble, quibble. "Privileges and immunities" == "Rights."


Are rights are inalienable and can not be limited by our government in any way!

487 posted on 03/05/2003 6:33:53 AM PST by An.American.Expatriate
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To: Illbay
There is no requirement for our elected officials to suppress thier opinions! We ELECT them based on thier opinions! If thier constituents don't like what they do, they will not be re-elected because they have ceased to represent tier constituent opinions!
488 posted on 03/05/2003 6:38:37 AM PST by An.American.Expatriate
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Comment #489 Removed by Moderator

To: Illbay
so now you are Gallop taking your own polls in your own head. Still laughable.
490 posted on 03/05/2003 6:44:26 AM PST by DeathfromBelow
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To: An.American.Expatriate
Try reading the post first, THEN responding. You'll save yourself some frustration--and the risk of looking foolish.

HINT: I didn't say what YOU think I said.

491 posted on 03/05/2003 7:02:52 AM PST by Illbay
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To: An.American.Expatriate
There is no requirement for our elected officials to suppress thier opinions!

They must remain neutral with respect to religion. To do otherwise is to abrogate their duties under the Constitution.

492 posted on 03/05/2003 7:03:37 AM PST by Illbay
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To: Illbay
The Constitution does not require an elected official to be "neutral" to religion! It states that the CONGRESS may not pass a law regarding it! This is what I said as well to your "quibble / quabble". You state repeatedly that the First Amendment applies to the reprentative himself (or the police etc. on the other thread). This is not true! It applies solely to the legislature as a prohibition.
493 posted on 03/05/2003 7:08:25 AM PST by An.American.Expatriate
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To: Illbay
RIGHTS vs. RESPONSIBILITIES. I used to think only the LEFT had a problem understanding that.

Show us any law or legal precedent that compels any citizen or even a convicted prisoner to be forced to listen to any religious speech of any kind?

Everyone is free to get up and walk out. In the case of politicians, they just do it and take the chance that their constituents won't vote on that basis. And, generally, they don't.

It's bizarre to hear you insist that free citizens are somehow to be compelled to listen to anything they don't want to. If anything, it is you who is Leftist here, using a reverse-PC notion that not only are we not allowed to speak an opinion but we are required to listen to speech we consider offensive or the proselytization of an alien gutter religion. Worse, you are trying to force a freedom of only certain unpopular religions upon us.

Those legislators are only sworn to uphold the Constitution and the freedom of religion. That does not require them to listen to any kind of religious drivel whatsoever. Merely to protect the rights of all persons in the country to engage in religious speech.
494 posted on 03/05/2003 7:17:02 AM PST by George W. Bush
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To: applemac_g4
The very presence of an Islamic cleric gives forum to an ideology that is as bent on our destruction as communism or Nazism. Actually, more so.

Im surprised too. Right now, Islam is at war with the US. There are those who will deny that fact and call me intolerant, but the fact remains; Wiccan witches didnt attack us on 9/11 in some druid ceremony, it was Muslims. and those same Muslims IN THIS COUNTRY, just havent condemned the violence. Or they do condemn it, but still find away to blame the US. Think about it guys; when muslims stop hijacking airliners and flying them into crowded bldgs, stop blowing up buses in Israel, blowing airports in the Philipines, stoning rape victims under the guise of adultery( That one just kills me)kidnapping foriegn jounalist and slicing their throats, people might be a little more tolerant of a leader of that same religion addressing an American session of State legislature. Just my opinion. Islam equals terrorism in most peoples minds, and right or wrong, Islam has DONE NOTHING to dispel that myth.

495 posted on 03/05/2003 7:41:09 AM PST by cardinal4 (The Senate Armed Services Comm; the Chinese pipeline into US secrets)
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To: Illbay
If she chose not to attend, and did NOT walk out during the prayer, then I apologize to her.


I guess for some folks any kind of attention is better than no attention...

496 posted on 03/05/2003 7:47:53 AM PST by skeeter (Fac ut vivas)
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To: Dec31,1999
We really shouldn't be posting these pictures.
Isn't it better to keep them from the public, like the major media has, to prevent inflaming hostility against Muslims?
All these pictures do is inflame war mongering and hatred against our fellow travelers on spaceship earth.

(Yeah, right.)

The Savage Truth

497 posted on 03/05/2003 8:01:23 AM PST by ppaul
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Comment #498 Removed by Moderator

To: Thinkin' Gal
Save for these two dissenters, the Olympian House of Representatives is just acknowledging the ecumenical multicultural gospel of Hellenism...

Right you are!

499 posted on 03/05/2003 9:43:38 AM PST by Dataman
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To: Illbay
You are incorrect. I am not very religious and do not have a dog in the fight. I would defend a lawmakers right to walk out on a christian minister, although I would not agree with it as, in recent history, mainstream christiandom does not call for killing or enslaving others. Your very mistaken belief that the constitution requires the lawmakers to sit through a prayer is without merit. You have yet to point to anything that supports it logically. Therefore, you are arguing on emotion.

I have supported my argument by demonstrating the following, all of which you have not responded to with any factual argument:

(1) that the constitution is the law of the land, not merely a set of "principles";

(2) that the constitution does not require anyone (which, by definition includes legislators) to participate in or listen to another's religious ceremony;

(3) that the constitution's ban on the U.S. Congress from establishing religion does not require state legislators to actively support any religion;

(4) that universal tolerance is akin to moral equivalency and is not a good in and of itself. People have to make decisions regarding what should and should not be tolerated.

I have, several times, pointed out your lack of factual, logical argument in response to my points. You have several times called me names. I admit, I called you names in response, but I also included factual, logical argument, which you have utterly failed to do. This leads me to believe that you are arguing based on your internal beliefs, rather than on a rational fact-based premise. Thus, you are arguing on emotion.

Now, it is apparent that you will not concede anything or offer any real argument in support of your position. As such, I won't bother to continue this discussion. Had you any such points to make, I would have enjoyed arguing them, and, if my positions were proven incorrect, may have conceded the point. However, that has not ocurred.

As to this specific instance, I agree with the legislators' actions. Until the muslim community in this counrty, or abroad, forthrightly, strenuously, and continuously reject terrorism, I do not have a high opinion of the religion or the community. If I had ever heard one muslim leader actually denounce terrorism, without equivocating, I would not think so lowly of Islam. To date, this has not ocurred.

Good day.

- brownie
500 posted on 03/05/2003 10:12:36 AM PST by brownie
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