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by Peterr

What Could Possibly Go Wrong: Kansas Edition

9:36 am in abortion, Guns by Peterr

Tomorrow is election day in Kansas, the place Sam Brownback is using to test-drive every conservative policy proposal he can think of, facts be damned. As I noted last year, when Mitt Romney had to burnish his conservative credentials, it was at Brownback’s feet he bowed when he chose Paul Ryan to be his VP candidate — Ryan, whose last job before becoming a member of Congress was as Brownback’s legislative director. Pick an issue, lay out the most conservative policy prescription you can think of, and the GOP in Brownbackistan will find something even further to the right to enact.

Chief among Brownback’s minions, and the guy who desperately wants Brownback’s job when Brownback announces he’s running for president in 2016*, is Kris Kobach. Kobach is an alumnus of the Ashcroft DOJ, and first made waves nationally as the principal author of Arizona’s anti-immigration laws that were struck down by SCOTUS. Since then, he was elected the Kansas Secretary of State, going after the plague of vote fraud that wasn’t sweeping the state with new state ID laws, ramping up the pressure on anyone who even thinks of getting an abortion, and generally trying to make himself look like The Next True Conservative Leader behind Brownback.

Now he’s latched on to another conservative issue, hoping to win more friends in the conservative coalition in addition to the anti-abortion, anti-immigrant crowds who love him already. That issue? Guns.

Kansas has an open carry law, which says (generally speaking) that almost all public buildings must allow people to openly carry weapons as they embrace their Second Amendment right to self-defense. Only if a building has security in place similar to the TSA screenings at airports can that building declare itself to be a no-carry location. Various cities are unhappy about this, but are similarly unhappy about the prospects of (a) having to spend lots of money they don’t have to upgrade and install security on lots of public buildings, or (b) having to spend lots of money they don’t have defending themselves from lawsuits if they challenge the law.

So what could possibly go wrong with this scenario?:

The next time you vote in a Kansas election, the person next to you at the polling place may be packing a pistol.

It depends on how state Attorney General Derek Schmidt rules on a request for a legal opinion that has been filed by the state’s chief election officer, Secretary of State Kris Kobach.

The argument here is this: Because churches, schools, and other places open their doors to the state to serve as polling places, that makes them public property for the day, and thus overrides their own “no guns here” policies. That’s sure to go over well with a fair number of the pastors and parishes I know in Kansas.

I’m trying to imagine the reaction if a couple of members of the New Black Panthers were to show up at a KS polling place with legal weapons carried openly. The right wing would leap to their defense, wouldn’t they?

Or, you know, not.

But my favorite part of the article at the link is the photograph the Wichita Eagle used of voting machines set up at Reformation Lutheran Church in an earlier election. As everyone in Wichita knows, Reformation is the church where George Tiller was gunned down while serving as an usher one Sunday morning in 2009. Using an image of that church is a not-so-veiled — and well-deserved — slam at Kobach and the gun rights fetishists.

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by Peterr

I’m Really, Really Tired of Certain Preachers

2:05 pm in Guns, Religion by Peterr

MiKe Huckabee - Caricature

MiKe Huckabee - Caricature

After my post earlier today, I discovered that one more thing needed to be said. Instead of updating the earlier post, or putting it into the comments there, it deserves a new post all its own. Those uninterested in theology can skip this post and go on to something else.

That one more thing? Theologically speaking, Mike Huckabee is off his rocker.

On Fox News yesterday, he offered this gem of pastoral wisdom and insight (h/t TPM for the video):

We ask why there is violence in our schools, but we have systematically removed God from our schools. Should we be so surprised that schools would become a place of carnage? Because we’ve made it a place where we don’t want to talk about eternity, life, what responsibility means, accountability — that we’re not just going to have be accountable to the police if they catch us, but one day we stand before, you know, a holy God in judgment. If we don’t believe that, then we don’t fear that.

Let me see if I’m following this right . . . If only we’d had more prayer in school, this wouldn’t have happened? If only teachers would preach fire and brimstone, this wouldn’t have happened? If schools make God scary enough, then people would be too frightened to kill one another?

<head meets pulpit>

If this is what certain preachers are saying, God help the church.

Folks, right here you see the Big Difference between the fundamentalist politically conservative churches like Huckabee’s and the more mainstream churches like mine. Huckabee preaches of a threatening God who inspires by fear and threats — behave, or else! I and my more moderate to liberal colleagues, on the other hand, preach of a God who looks to inspire humanity by offering forgiveness and love.

Perhaps the Reverend Governor’s Bible is missing Luke 22 and the story of Jesus’ arrest:

While [Jesus] was still speaking [to his disciples], suddenly a crowd came, and the one called Judas, one of the twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him; but Jesus said to him, ‘Judas, is it with a kiss that you are betraying the Son of Man?’ When those who were around him saw what was coming, they asked, ‘Lord, should we strike with the sword?’ Then one of them struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his right ear. But Jesus said, ‘No more of this!’ And he touched his ear and healed him. Then Jesus said to the chief priests, the officers of the temple police, and the elders who had come for him, ‘Have you come out with swords and clubs as if I were a bandit? When I was with you day after day in the temple, you did not lay hands on me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness!’

What? No smiting of Judas? No calling down thunder and lightning on the temple police and the priests? Where’s the accountability? Where’s the concern for responsibility? What kind of wimpy, squishy, feel-good Jesus is this, that says “put away your damn weapons” to his followers and his foes alike?

I’ll tell you what kind: my kind. He’s certainly not Mike Huckabee’s.

And it pisses me off when people confuse his God with mine.
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