Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Atheist has rights trampled by Elected Representative!

By: Eric Zorn

The following exchange between atheist activist Rob Sherman of Buffalo Grove and Ill. Rep. Monique Davis (D-Chicago) took place Wednesday afternoon in the General Assembly as Sherman testified before the House State Government Administration Committee.

I know from experience that many of you will side with Davis (update -- apparently I was wrong! ), but I ask you to consider what the outcry would have been if a lawmaker had launched a similar attack on the beliefs of a religious person.

Davis: I don’t know what you have against God, but some of us don’t have much against him. We look forward to him and his blessings. And it’s really a tragedy -- it’s tragic -- when a person who is engaged in anything related to God, they want to fight. They want to fight prayer in school.

I don’t see you (Sherman) fighting guns in school. You know?

I’m trying to understand the philosophy that you want to spread in the state of Illinois. This is the Land of Lincoln. This is the Land of Lincoln where people believe in God, where people believe in protecting their children.… What you have to spew and spread is extremely dangerous, it’s dangerous--

Sherman: What’s dangerous, ma’am?

Davis: It’s dangerous to the progression of this state. And it’s dangerous for our children to even know that your philosophy exists! Now you will go to court to fight kids to have the opportunity to be quiet for a minute. But damn if you’ll go to [court] to fight for them to keep guns out of their hands. I am fed up! Get out of that seat!

Sherman: Thank you for sharing your perspective with me, and I’m sure that if this matter does go to court---

Davis: You have no right to be here! We believe in something. You believe in destroying! You believe in destroying what this state was built upon.

Sherman didn't budge, continued his testimony related to Gov. Rod Blagojevich's oddly misdirected $1 million grant intended for Pilgrim Baptist Church, (story) and later told me he "felt like Rosa Parks."

Here is the audio, courtesy of the Illinois Information Service.

UPDATE -- Daily Kos readers have hundred of comments on this story. Boing Boing is covering as well. So is the Huffington Post. The Council for Secular Humanism in Amherst, NY is calling upon Davis to resign.

About that "This is the Land of Lincoln!" cry. Was Lincoln a believer? Was he a Christian? Yes and no. I explain here.