|Dorchester County Council passes two faith-based resolutions|
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Council passes two faith-based resolutions
Hargett, Rosebrock push for week designated for religion
By Bo Petersen (Contact)
The Post and Courier
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
ST. GEORGE — Two godly resolutions were passed by Dorchester County Council on Monday, in short order. What's going on? Politics, two government observers say.
Councilman Larry Hargett's resolution supports a dormant congressional bill that would establish the first week of May as "Religious History Week."
Councilman Richard Rosebrock's resolution supports a Statehouse budget amendment proviso mandating that institutions of higher education not neglect religious programs, classes or buildings even though federal stimulus money won't pay for them. Rosebrock said he wants the week designated "America a Christian Nation Week."
Rosebrock's resolution is titled "Supporting Legislators for their fight for Our Religious Freedoms."
Hargett's resolution quotes Rabbi Daniel Lapin saying it's a liberal goal to destroy religion in order to destroy our freedoms, and like banning civilian firearms, it's a common communist and fascist tactic.
The two measures passed 6-1. Councilman Willie Davis, one of two Democrats on council, raised the only objection, voting against both resolutions and noting the U.S. House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., was not included in a list of congressional members given Hargett's resolution. "Seemed like to me it's right down party lines," Davis said.
The ruckus reminded David Mann, College of Charleston political scientist, of Charleston County Council's attempt in 1997 to get the Ten Commandments posted outside council chambers. After a $45,000 legal battle by the county, it was ruled unconstitutional.
"Local politicos regularly want to stimulate their base by bringing religion into local politics more directly," Mann said. It doesn't work; there's a clause in the Bill of Rights that's in the way, he said. "It's not government's job to endorse the faith."
Neal Thigpen, a political scientist at Francis Marion University, said, "I think it's in their power to pass such a thing." But the resolution "is absolutely pro-gun, pro-Christian. I'm surprised they don't have anything in there about taxes or big government," he said. "Let's face it, the Republican Party is trying to get traction in order to make a comeback in this country" even in stronghold South Carolina, where the Democrats made in-roads in the last election.
Hargett and Rosebrock don't agree.
Hargett said he is responding to his constituents' concerns and pointed out that Republicans and a Democrat on the council supported the resolutions. "There's no politics involved at all from my standpoint," he said.
Hargett said he was spurred to do it by recent news stories about Obama's declaration that the United States is no longer just a Christian nation and a Newsweek magazine article titled "The end of Christian America."
"I know we're a Christian nation. We absolutely are a Judeo-Christian nation. Seventy percent of people polled say they go to a church or synagogue," he said. The congressional bill was sidelined in the last session and has not been reintroduced. "A lot of people are pushing Congress to get it out of subcommittee and pass it."
"Our nation was formed by religious denominations and ordained by God, and I feel we've slipped a lot in the last 20 years," Rosebrock said.
From the "Dorchester County Faith Resolution"
"Whereas the Dorchester County Council, an elected body with strong Judeo-Christian beliefs in God and His teachings, do hereby affirm the belief and conviction that America IS a Christian nation ...
"The Dorchester County Council also holds to the truth in the statement by Rabbi Daniel Lapin, America's Rabbi, 'the destruction of religious freedom in the United States ... is the goal of liberals because to do so would destroy our freedoms. Once religion is removed from our Country, the State becomes the omnipresent and oppressive "God." This and banning of civilian firearms, is the common tactic that communists and fascists have used throughout history to oppress the people.' "
Reach Bo Petersen at 937-5744 or email@example.com.