Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Tax Dollars at Work

This is INTERESTING and I wanted to share. I Know it isn't about Art, Love, or Action Figures and maybe I need another Blog to address this kinda thing, but here it is anyway:

By Wanda Jo (Peltier) Stapleton

I have just read Why the Christian Right Is Wrong, A
Minister’s Manifesto for Taking Back Your Faith, Your Flag, Your Future.
Regarding this book by minister Robin Meyers, Bill Moyers says, “…read it,
and you will want to change the world.” I did. I do.

For starters, I’ll explain how the State Legislature funds “special
projects” in such a secretive way. One “special project” in
southeastern Oklahoma has recently triggered an FBI investigation and possible

This funding process is so clever that many of our most honorable
representatives have no idea what their votes to fund “economic and
community development,” for example, end up financing. The twisting paper
trail is hard to follow.
funding approval usually travels through the Departments of Commerce or
Agriculture. Then it goes to one or more of the state’s eleven
sub-state planning districts before the money gets to “the special project.”

For one example in Oklahoma County: since 2003, state tax dollars
totaling $109,000.00 have gone to benefit “special projects” of
churches. Even more money has possibly gone to other churches throughout the

Never mind that the Oklahoma Constitution says “No public money or
property shall ever be appropriated, applied, donated or used, directly
or indirectly, for the use, benefit, or support of any sect, church,
denomination, or system of religion, or for the use, benefit or support
of any priest, preacher, minister, or other religious teacher or
dignitary, or sectarian institution as such.”

State Representative Rebecca Hamilton got this “special projects”
money for three “chosen” churches even though there are 61 churches in or
bordering her district. Rep. Hamilton did the choosing and obviously
selected churches best positioned to help her get re-elected.

Even though our beloved hymn says “All to Jesus I Surrender,” to get
that money, Rebecca became, as they say, a “team player.” She
surrendered her vote to the Speaker of the House and voted with him on bills
which would seriously harm her working-class constituents – two bills to
raise gas tax through a vote of the people; bills to raise tons of money
through seemingly insignificant amounts like raising fees for copies of
medical records, buying used or re-treaded tires, car towing, filing
court papers for child custody, child support, guardianship, and much

Even in 2005 when Republicans came to power in the State House,
Rebecca’s voting record was such that she won the 2005 runner-up award as
“A Democrat in Name Only” (DINO) from extremist Republicans of the
Oklahoma Conservative Political Action Committee. And her “church money”
for special projects continued to flow.
This year when she got a credible, Christian opponent, Rebecca
immediately appealed to church pastors with her “good versus evil” scenario.
“I try, however poorly, to follow Jesus in all that I do” she declared;
but those against me are “pro-abortion activists.” Later, she wrote to
voters saying that one man opposing her was president of a group which
“opposes prayer in school.” Finally, she told voters “my opponent…has
been going up to every house with one of my signs and trashing me to the
people in the house.”

In other words, she used the language of faith to demonize her
opponents with untruths. But as Robin Meyers says in his book,
“Unfortunately, the Golden Rule and the commandment against bearing false witness
don’t apply when you really, really, really want to win.”

One pastor heeded Rebecca’s plea for political campaign help. He
allowed his photo and endorsement to be used in her campaign. Regal in a
black robe and with his words of praise made her sound like “Saint”
Rebecca. After that, who would believe any documented fact about her
record. Practically nobody, that’s who!

Rebecca’s race is over. But before this election season ends, we
will see more campaigners (than we already have) hijacking Jesus in their
public displays of piety. They will again use the language of faith to
falsely demonize opponents. And they will win unless rage brings us to
our feet and into campaigns for candidates more interested in The
Sermon on the Mount than in winning at all cost.

The author was a state representative 1986-1996.
She is also a Baptist minister’s widow who helped him establish one of
the new churches during the Southern Baptist Convention’s “Thirty
Thousand Movement” in the 1950s.