Friday, April 11, 2008

Monique Davis: It's Not Enough to Apologize for Volume

Apparently embarrassed by the attention her ignorant anti-atheist tantrum against Rob Shermer on the assembly floor has gotten, including her being named worst person in the world by Keith Olbermann, Illinois State Representative Monique Davis has apologized to Mr. Sherman for her remarks.

Now I certainly applaud Ms. Davis' courage and moral fortitude in calling Mr. Shermer and apologizing to him. It is certainly a damn sight better than the behavior of the other newly famous bigot, Oklahoma Representative Sally Kern, who won't acknowledge any impropriety for this homophobic rant of hers. However, the content of Ms. Davis' apology is disturbing:

Sherman says Davis told him she "took out her frustrations and emotions on me and that she shouldn’t have done that." Sherman says Davis' explanation was "reasonable" and that he forgives her.

According to Sherman and State Rep. Jack Franks….Davis claims her outburst was triggered by learning shortly beforehand…that there’d been another Chicago Public School student killed.

Savor the irony as you note the conciliatory grace with which the evil atheist accepted Ms. Davis' apology. But did she apologize for her bigoted screed? Sure, she was wrong to take out her frustrations on Shermer, and she deserves credit for saying so. But that could apply just as well to rational comments as to those as irrational as hers were. Where is her apology for telling an American citizen with the right to any religious view he chooses that his view is "extremely dangerous", that he had "no right to be [t]here", and that he believed in "destroying what this state was built upon"? Where is her statement that she should not have said these things, and that atheists have just as much right to their views and to participate in civic affairs as anyone else? Her apology amounts to "I apologize for the volume of my bigoted tirade". Where's the apology for the bigotry?

That her outburst was supposedly caused by her learning that another public school child had died only makes the situation worse. What possible connection could she have in her head between atheism and children being killed other than an ignorant association of atheism and evil? For Ms. Davis and those who think she's done enough, and I'm being excessively demanding, imagine the following analogous situation. Representative He S. White, after hearing another child had been killed in his schools, yelled the following at Jay B. Black, who was there to discuss government funds being funnelled to an all-white school:

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

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

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

It’s dangerous to the progression of this state. And it’s dangerous for our children to even know that you exist! Now you will go to court to fight kids for being white. 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!

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.

Now yes, religious views are different than race in that there is cognition involved with religion, and it can change, whereas race we are stuck with forever. But freedom of religion and racial nondiscrimination are both protected rights in our country, and a public official should uphold both most fervently, thus the analogy. And clearly someone saying what He S. White said above would be justifiably hounded and possibly forced to step down, especially if he apologized for it without addressing the bigoted nature of his comments.

Monique Davis owes Rob Shermer and the rest of the unbelievers of this country a lot more than what I see here. It's not enough to apologize for taking out her frustrations on an innocent man. She needs to admit quite clearly and in public that it was wrong of her to imply that atheists are dangerous, or want to destroy the government, or are responsible for school shootings (an especially ignorant comment, since an atheist is far more likely to support gun control than someone spouting the kind of bile Ms. Davis spews). Anything less earns her the brand of unapologetic bigot, unworthy of the office she occupies, the same as someone that would scream similar nonsense at an innocent black man about blacks. As improper behavior for government officials, there is no difference between the two except who's ox is being gored.


farrell said...

Here's the letter I sent to Representative Davis:

Right on Monique!

It's good to see someone with the courage to stand up against those like Rob Sherman who dare not believe like we do. Never mind if the constitution supposedly preserves the right for non-believers to assemble and speak against what they sinfully believe is a clear violation of the separation of church and state guaranteed in the same constitution. We believers know that many of those who wrote that document were prone to rationality and dared to dismiss the Bible as the stuff of legend used to perpetuate gross abuses on the minds of innocents. Soon the day will come (I pray it doesn't take much longer) when we can be done with citizens like Mr. Sherman.

Perhaps you can forward a resolution to call for the extermination of his ilk and end their insistence on consistent standards of evidence and an epistemology to which all humans have access. Perhaps we could opt for stoning or even burning them at the stake as our wiser fore-father once saw fit. At the least we should be able to bar them from interfering with our effort to make America into the infidel-hating Christian nation for which it is destined. Hasten the day!

At any rate, until then you should keep fostering the opinion that their view of reality is destructive. Let no one distract you with the evidence that religion has actually accounted for more division and bloodshed in human history than any single institution. Such suffering is light compared to the great gains to be had in eternity. You and I know our mandate comes from Matthew 11:12 "the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence and the violent take it by force". Have faith and stand up against the evil constitution and the dark forces of reason.

In Christ,

Brother L.J.

nisemono3.14 said...

I agree completely. This is similar to saying "Sorry, I didn't mean to let my (racist/sexist/anti-semantic) opinion out. The stress, you know?"