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On tuesday, December 11th, 2007, The House of Representatives voted on House Resolution 847 (H.R. 847), which dealt with "Recognizing the importance of Christmas and the Christian faith". H.R. 847 was sponsored by Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), and had 60 co-sponsors (58 Republicans and 2 Democrats).
My first reaction to this news was, why is Congress voting on a resolution about religion at all ? Congress doesn't need to recognize the importance of Christianity or Christmas. The 75% of americans who call themselves Christians can do that just fine all on their own. Congress just needs to stay out of religion's business altogether. That is what the Establishment Clause in the Constitution is all about. The Republicans should never have brought this issue to the floor of Congress. It isn't their business. Of course, the resolution passed overwhelmingly (372 - 9, with 10 voting merely 'Present'), because who is going to vote 'No' on a resolution saying that Christianity and Christmas are important ? Even if you aren't a Christian, I think it's pretty obvious that Christianity is iimportant in america. It's the leading american religion by far.
Except 17 Democrats and 2 Republicans voted either 'No' or merely 'Present' on H.R. 847. More on that later.
Now, let's go back in time a few months to September 2007, and House Resolution 635 (H.R. 635), which dealt with "Recognizing the commencement of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting and spiritual renewal, and expressing respect to Muslims in the United States and throughout the world on this occasion, and for other purposes". This one was sponsored by Rep. Eddie Johnson (D-TX), and co-sponsored by 29 Democrats and 1 Republican.
I have the exact same reaction to this resolution about Islam as I do to the resolution about Christianity. This isn't the business of Congress. This time, the Democrats are the ones who shouldn't have brought the resolution. This resolution also passed overwhelmingly, by a vote of 376-0, with 42 voting merely 'Present' (1 Democrat and 41 Republicans).
Here's the part you members of the left side of the political spectrum will not like that I'm mentioning:
17 Democrats voted either 'No' or 'Present' on the Christianity resolution, but voted 'Yes' on the Islam resolution. Those who voted 'No' on H.R. 847 and 'Yes' on H.R. 635 were Reps. Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.), Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.), Diana DeGette (D-Co.), Alcee Hastings (D-Fl.), Jim McDermott (D-Wash.), Bobby Scott (D-Va.), Fortney Stark (D-Calif.) and Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.). Those who voted "present" on H.R. 847 and "yes" on H.R. 635 include: Reps. John Conyers (D-Mich.), Barney Frank (D-Mass.), Rush Holt (D-N.J.), Donald Payne (D-N.J.), Janice Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Allyson Schwartz (D-Pa.), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fl.), Peter Welch (D-Vt.) and John Yarmuth (D-Ky.).
What is the possible explanation for this ?
A defense of the Dems voting 'Yes' on the Islam resolution is that they wanted to show Muslims that we are not prejudiced against them. This does not explain the 'No' vote on Christianity, however. Does this show a bias within the Democratic party against Christianity ? I think it probably does, even if it's the minority opinion.
There were also 41 Republicans who voted merely 'Present' on the Islam resolution and voted 'Yes' on the Christianity resolution. The same thing could be said in reverse about them. Does this show a bias against Islam ? I think it probably does, even if it's the minority opinion, but it is radical Islam that is the enemy of america, so I think this is somewhat understandable, even though I disagree with it. We shouldn't condemn all of Islam due to the actions of the radicals (though they have an AWFUL LOT of radicals, I have to admit).
Any thoughts on this, folks ?