Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Ask Forgiveness and the Bill is Born Again

Democrats held up a House vote on the $409 billion Defense budget after a Republican Congressman accused Democrats of "demonizing Christians."

Rep David Obey (D-WI) had offered an amendment to the put Congress on record against "coercive and abusive religious proselytizing" at the Air Force Acadmemy. Rep Steve Israel (D-NY) had offered similar language in another bill earlier.

That set off Rep John Hostettler (R-IN) who launched into an speech calling Democrats anti-Christian:

"The long war on Christianity in America continues today on the floor of the United States House of Representatives.... Like a moth to a flame, Democrats can't help themselves when it comes to denigrating and demonizing Christians."

Democrats demanded Rep Hostettler be censured. Rep Obey said it only proved his point:

"[Hostettler's] outburst . . . is perhaps the perfect example of why we need to pass the language in my amendment."

Democrats refused to vote for more than half an hour until Rep Hostettler asked for forgiveness.

For the record, Rep Obey is a Roman Catholic and Rep Israel is Jewish. Both religions are particularly sensitive to evangelical messages aimed at their members. Rep Hostettler is a Baptist, an evangelical-Christion religion which encourages members to speak openly to people of other denominations in an effort to win them over.

Rep Hostettler is currently serving in Congress while on criminal probation -- for carrying a loaded handgun into the Louisville, Kentucky airport. Not that I'm demonizing him or anything. (Philadelphia Inquirer)

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