Michael Arcuri Votes For Religious Pandering Act of 2007
Congressman Michael Arcuri gets it right some times, but today, he sure got it wrong.
Arcuri, the politician who represents New York’s 24th district in the U.S. House of Representatives, voted for H RES 847, which might easily be called the Religious Pandering Act of 2007. It’s a resolution that expresses the support of Christianity and Christmas.
“Whereas Christians identify themselves as those who believe in the salvation from sin offered to them through the sacrifice of their savior, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and who, out of gratitude for the gift of salvation, commit themselves to living their lives in accordance with the teachings of the Holy Bible…”
“Whereas the United States, being founded as a constitutional republic in the traditions of western civilization, finds much in its history that points observers back to its roots in Christianity…”
“acknowledges and supports the role played by Christians and Christianity in the founding of the United States…”
Congress can’t bother itself with ending the war in Iraq. Congress can’t pass an energy bill that increases fuel efficiency. Congress can’t do a thing to seriously address global warming. Congress can’t hold George W. Bush accountable for the increasingly obvious grave crimes he’s committed against the Constitution and laws of our nation.Yet, Congress can find the time to pass a resolution saying that Christmas and Christianity are especially important?!?
Why? This bill is in direct response to right wing propaganda that there is a war against Christmas. That’s blatant nonsense, of course. Look around you, and you’ll see that there is no war against Christmas. No one is doing anything to prevent people from celebrating Christmas in their homes or businesses, if that’s what they choose to do.
There isn’t any particular vulnerability of Christianity that needs addressing either. In fact, with the 2008 presidential campaign, it seems that Christianity is being made a requirement for holding public office. The candidates seem to be in a competition with each other to prove who loves Jesus most.
Furthermore, there’s troubling language in the legislation that expresses support for the idea that the United States of America was founded as a Christian nation. That’s an historically false and politically dangerous assertion. These claims are being made by the Religious Right in order to promote laws giving a privileged legal status to Christians above all other Americans. By voting for the resolution, Representative Arcuri gave aid to this effort.
This congressional resolution is unnecessary. It’s a distraction from urgent business that is not being taken care of. Worse than that, it’s a violation of the Constitution. The first line of the first amendment to the Constitution reads: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion”.
Congress is forbidden by the constitution from passing legislation that establishes special recognition of any religion, or of religion in general. Yet, that’s just what the House of Representatives did today, and Mike Arcuri went along with it.
He didn’t have to vote against the resolution. He could have abstained from it, to hold himself apart from the shameful religious pandering. How disappointing that Arcuri went along with the rhetoric of the Religious Right and voted for the legislation in spite of this easy alternative.