Update on Atheist-Hating Illinois State Rep. Monique Davis

***UPDATE***: Video is below.

Illinois State Rep. Monique Davis recently said to atheist Rob Sherman: “It’s dangerous for our children to even know that your philosophy (atheism) exists!”

The audio of the exchange was picked up and circulated, and the story (which was brought to the public’s eye by Chicago Tribune reporter Eric Zorn) has made its way through the blogosphere.

It’s made its way to the mainstream media, too.

Tonight, MSNBC news anchor Keith Olbermann named Davis his nightly “Worst Person in the World.”

Thanks to Spazeboy, we have a video!

Incidentally, I sent an email and called her office soon after the story first broke. No response then. No response now. If anyone has any leads on statements made by her since the incident, please let me know.

(Thanks to Scorpious for the heads up!)


[tags]atheist, atheism[/tags]

  • http://atheists.meetup.com/531 Ben

    Thank you, Keith!!!!

    I must send him a thank you email.

  • Alcari

    Tonight, MSNBC news anchor Keith Olbermann named Davis his nightly “Worst Person in the World.”

    See, I knew there was justice left in the world. What’s more surprising is that there is justice left in the mainstream media. Still, score 1 for the good guys.

  • Kate

    I think I’m going to cry. That was BEAUTIFUL.

    THANK YOU.

  • http://www.religiarchy.com Kim@Religiarchy

    This is outrageous. I just moved to Illinois and I’ll be calling her office in the morning.

    Nice find on the video.

  • Aj

    Keith Olbermann is too cool, I was very impressed with him on Bill Moyers’s show.

  • Darryl

    Guys like Olbermann are making this country a better place.

  • goose

    Ms. Davis kept referring to Illinois as the state of Abraham Lincoln.

    Reminds me of this quote from Abraham Lincoln:

    “The Bible is not my book nor Christianity my profession. I could never give assent to the long, complicated statements of Christian dogma.”

    I don’t think anyone would doubt that Lincoln was a religious man, there seems to be plenty of evidence to support that he was.

    But….I doubt he and Ms. Davis’s would see eye to eye on matters of theology.

  • Siamang

    YAY Keith!!!

  • http://www.religiarchy.com Kim@Religiarchy

    I just posted over at my place about this, and quoted the Illinois Bill of Rights:

    ARTICLE 1 SECTION 3. RELIGIOUS FREEDOM
    The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession
    and worship, without discrimination, shall forever be
    guaranteed, and no person shall be denied any civil or
    political right, privilege or capacity, on account of his
    religious opinions; but the liberty of conscience hereby
    secured shall not be construed to dispense with oaths or
    affirmations, excuse acts of licentiousness, or justify
    practices inconsistent with the peace or safety of the State.
    No person shall be required to attend or support any ministry
    or place of worship against his consent, nor shall any
    preference be given by law to any religious denomination or
    mode of worship.
    (Source: Illinois Constitution.)

  • Dave Hummels

    Greetings from Peoria. Thanks to the crew at Friendly Atheist for helping to get this story out there. I have already sent my impolite e-mail to the “representative” and am awaiting a response (I won’t hold my breath). I encourage you all to do the same. I am glad that this story is now getting some of the attention it deserves!

  • anonymous

    It’s dangerous for children to know there are people who believe in being kind even without the threat of an infinite hell or the promise of an infinite heaven. How can people like that ever be trusted?

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  • obvious

    All the more reason to remove “In God we trust” from currency. If all money that flows through atheist hands is marked this way, sooner or later others will start realizing the size of the atheist economy.

    http://imgnation.net/images/omuh.jpg

    Perfectly legal, as I understand it, as long as it isn’t done with intent to defraud, and doesn’t render the currency unusable.

  • Mriana

    Oh yeah! I’m beginning to like Olbermann. He’s calling a spade a spade. :)

  • Jonesy

    She’s an Obama supporter, and she goes to Obamas church. I wonder if her attitude towards atheists was influenced by Rev Wright?

  • Matt

    Keith Olbermann, you’re my hero. We need more people like him in this country and the media.

  • wingtip

    Noam Chomsky
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology, March 17, 1991
    Excerpted from the Alternative Press Review ,Fall 1993

    …Let me begin by counter-posing two different conceptions of democracy. One conception of democracy has it that a democratic society is one in which the public has the means to participate in some meaningful way in the management of their own affairs and the means of information are open and free….

    An alternative conception of democracy is that the public must be barred from managing of their own affairs and the means of information must be kept narrowly and rigidly controlled. That may sound like an odd conception of democracy, but it’s important to understand that it is the prevailing conception….

  • Justice

    “I would rather live my life as if there is a God, and die to find out there isn’t, than to live my life as if there isn’t and die to find out there is…” Albert Camus

  • http://www.google.co.uk Corrector

    America needs more people like Olberman to call out more of America’s BS from time to time. Cannot believe a State rep came out with such a dumbass comment.

  • http://eiredrake.livejournal.com E in Md

    Incidentally, the email address listed for her on the Illinois state legislature site doesn’t work, and bounces back email. If you want to email her to give her a piece of your mind use this one:

    mdavis2147@aol.com

  • stogoe

    Justice,

    Pascal’s Wager is boring, no matter who speaks it. What if you pick the wrong god? Each week you’re just making the real one madder and madder.

    Not to mention that the god of abraham (and all his iterations down through the present) is not a god that is worthy of my respect or worship, even if such a being does exist.

  • ash

    Justice,

    “I would rather live my life as an honest and moral person, and die free and content, than live my life only valuing such due to fear and coercion, and die to find out your god is not just and merciful and therefore not worthy of respect in the first place…”
    Me. ;)

  • Ron in Houston

    Yes, thank some fictional deity for Keith Olbermann.

  • Nancy

    I watch Keith Olbermann’s Countdown religiously, nightly. I was thrilled last night when I saw him make Ms Davis Worst Person in the World. Keith is my hero!!

  • Diane

    Rep. Davis may have done more to advance the cause of secularism than any other person in recent memory, Rob Sherman included. Thanks, Monique!!

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  • JimboB

    Man, talk about hitting close to home. I live in Saint Louis, Missouri, right across the river from Illinois. Ms. Davis’ bigotry disturbs me, but I’m glad to see people like Keith Olbermann taking a stand against such outlandish statements. Kudos to you, Keith :)

  • http://chelicerata.blogspot.com/ michael

    Hey, folks – I was inspired by FA’s original post on Davis to integrate some of her words into a song I had been working on, and to rename it “Even Know.” Please to enjoy…

    http://chelicerata.org/ratio/

    It’s Davis-To-Go…”Get Up Outta That Chair!”

  • pansies4me

    Hail to the Keith!

    I always watch Countdown and I about jumped off the couch when he made her Worst Person. Yay!!!!!!

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  • Cool McAwesome

    I have just sent this email to Rep. Davis and I urge all other atheists to do something similar.
    Your despicable tirade against freedom of religion was an insult to not only those who don’t share your view of the world, but our very constitution. It is fortunate for you that you happen to share a belief in God with most of the country, but what if that weren’t the case. What if your beliefs were labeled “dangerous.” If Christianity is so strong, it should stand unbroken against any other philosophy, no matter how much that philosophy tries to “destroy” it.
    Rep. Davis, I happen to be an atheist and I wish to make it very clear that I am not here to “destroy” anything other than the idea that my beliefs are somehow destructive. In fact, you have just made it clear that you want to “destroy” my freedom to think, and to say, and to live as I wish and for that, Rep. Davis, I demand an apology for all of us who you have deeply offended with your hate-filled diatribe.
    There is a problem in this country. When someone thinks of an atheist, they imagine a devilish creature, spreading sin, hate and prejudice to innocent people just trying to live a godly life. It seems to me, though, that you are the one spreading hate and prejudice for us and I’m no bible scholar, but that seems pretty sinful to me.
    Sorry about the spacing in the comment. Not sure how to fix that.

  • http://lippard.blogspot.com/ Jim Lippard

    goose wrote: “I don’t think anyone would doubt that Lincoln was a religious man, there seems to be plenty of evidence to support that he was.”

    One person who did doubt whether Lincoln was a religious man was his law partner, William Herndon.

  • http://alcaritown.myminicity.com/ Alcari

    mdavis2147@aol.com

    Why does it not surprise me she has an AOL address…

  • Scorpious

    And yet another update on this!

    She was mentioned again on the Worst Persons list, only taking the Worse position. He’s done this before with Wal-Mart.

    And she was mentioned on News of the Weird Daily: http://newsoftheweird.blogspot.com/2008/04/things-to-worry-about-on-wednesday.html
    Her summary and link is 9th in the Civilization In Decline paragraph.

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  • http://entequilaesverdad.blogspot.com Dana Hunter

    Alcari said,

    April 9, 2008 at 6:47 pm

    mdavis2147@aol.com

    Why does it not surprise me she has an AOL address…

    What, you mean “Assclowns Online?” LOL. Don’t hate us all – some of AOL’s users have actual brains, we’re just drowned out by the Bubbas.

    I think we have something to thank Monique Davis for. She seems to have jolted some sleepy religious folk into full wakefulnesss – I’ve noticed a lot more Christians sitting up and going, “Uh, maybe there’s something to this separation of church and state thing…” lately. I think they see shades of what will happen if religious bigots get in full power, sweep out us nasty atheists, agnostics, pagans, etc. and start turning their attention to fellow Christians who don’t believe quite the right way. So that’s good.

    That said, I’m still waiting for her apology… and shall continue to humiliate her on my blog until that day comes.

  • TXatheist

    I tried faxing her a letter of disagreement and the fax was rejected 773-445-5755. I’ll try calling and/or mailing the letter.

  • KenWritez

    Rep. Monique Davis :: All other Christians as Bicycles :: Fish.

    I’m a Christian (fundamentalist, too! Yowza!) and the woman embarasses *me.* (That is, when I’m not out oppressing women, denying equal right to gays, and attempting to subvert the U.S. government into a theocracy.)

    If you atheists promise not to hold Rep. Davis as representative of all Christians, I promise not to hold wingnuts like the guy trying to declare as illegal the celebration of Christmas as representative of all atheists.

    There’s enough stupidity in the world that everyone has their share.

  • Bible Belt Resident – TX

    I wrote to the e-mail address, but she won’t likely read anything, being it is some vapid AOL address and not a goverment account.

    Representative Monique Davis of Illinois,

    I realize you being a member of the House of Representatives for the State of Illinois that you may not be required to swear to uphold the Constitution of the United States explicitly, but you should at least be aware of its founding principles under your service to the state body of representatives, which if you simply analyze the phraseology of the job title means of an entire district, in this case, the 27th, for which you are to represent.

    I can promise you there are atheists living amongst your wonderful 27th district right now and you are charged with the very important task of representing not only those whom you worship with, but those whom you do not. Further, the amount of vitriol and insidiousness in which you attacked activist Rob Sherman on April 3, 2008 was despicable, shameful, unethical, unconstitutional and worthy of your immediate resignation.

    Not only do I have to remind you that “your way of thinking” has been proven to be scourge on the very existence of civilization from the unbelievably morbid creativeness in which Christians would torture, maim and kill others who did not believe like them during the Spanish Inquisition of the 15th Century (which was not officially abolished until 1834 under the reign of Isabel II) all the way through the witch trials of the 17th century persecuted under specific order of the Malleus Maleficarum, but it is an absolute fact that the prison populations of the United States are overwhelmingly – to the 99th percentile – occupied by believers of either Christianity or Islam, not atheists! Every murder, rape and violent crime carried out in this nation is a near-statistical certainty that a Christian is doing it.

    “Your way of thinking” has hindered mankind’s very progress by imprisoning, exiling or killing the leading scientists of the time who dared to take “your kind” kicking and screaming out of First Century Man into the world the modern world that science had unveiled – one which proved that the Earth was not flat, that the solar system was heliocentric and that mankind was not the center of the universe. Bruno was burned at the stake for such heresy and Galileo was forced to recant his findings and be exiled to home arrest for the rest of his life just to save his life from “your kind of thinking.”

    And you have the audacity to use your position as State Representative to argue that “my way of thinking is dangerous?” The utter and absolute impudence you have, madam. Have you not a modicum of facile understanding of history or the blood that has spilled in the name of Christianity and any number of other religions? If you fail me in that historical regard, surely you personage would be a little more familiar with something that should cut a little closer to home, like how your ancestors were snatched from your tribal roots from a foreign land to be brought to this one as slaves and told to worship a “White Man’s God” and a “White Man’s Jesus.” And look how you defend it so, as if it was of your own culture and of your own accord. Well done, slave mistress. You just took to that religion like a South East Side dope fiend took to crack.

    Are you even familiar with your professed religion that you so righteously promulgate from your state seat? Did you know that by your canon, you are black because Ham saw his drunken father Noah naked and laughed while his brothers Shem and Japheth moved to cover him up? To punish Ham for this injustice, Noah put a curse on Ham’s son, Canaan, so that his skin would be “smittened” and he would be servant to servants unto his brethren in Genesis 9:20-207.

    20 And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard:
    21 And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent.
    22 And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without.
    23 And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father’s nakedness.
    24 And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him.
    25 And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.
    26 And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.
    27 God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.

    This very passage was used to justify the enslavement of your very people for centuries. And slavery is ever-prominent and justified in many instances in the Bible. So, before you get all high on your horse about how what I believe is “dangerous for your children to even know about,” how about you actually go read that great book of yours for once and then answer to me and every other atheist all the passages of wanton murder, slavery, rape and violence in that marvelous book that are offered up by the dozens under the guise of being the most moral, wonderful and magnificent works of knowledge ever known to man.

    Not only are you a black person abiding by a white man’s faith, but you are also a woman, who in your bible was merely an afterthought created from man’s spare rib so that he would have an obedient, subservient play toy to prevent him from being bored. The hilarity of your beliefs apparently knows no bounds.

    Your comments are despicable and I hope you either resign or are forced from office. You are an abomination to everything this nation was intended to be at its core. You have no business representing anyone outside of your own silly church. You are a pathetic follower of a slave master’s culture who stole your ancestors from your fellow tribesmen in a merchant trade of shoddy, cheap products from Europe. That makes you utterly ridiculous when you say what you unbelievably had the nerve to say.

    Good Day, Madam clueless.

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  • Richard Wade

    KenWritez,

    If you atheists promise not to hold Rep. Davis as representative of all Christians, I promise not to hold wingnuts like the guy trying to declare as illegal the celebration of Christmas as representative of all atheists.

    That’s a fair enough proposition. I agree in principle that the wingnuts of any group should not be used to represent the entire group. However the problem here is not about unfair stereotyping of a group, it’s about the betrayal of trust and the misuse of power.

    Representative Davis and the nameless atheist you mentioned are not on equal status. Davis holds a position of power and influence that was given to her as a public trust. The “atheist wingnut” will probably never have such a standing. Davis, like almost all politicians gained her position in a large part because her constituency approves of her religious views, but she owes her allegiance to her entire district’s populace, not just those who share her religion. As a State Representative she took an oath to uphold the Illinois Constitution and that eloquent document includes this: (emphasis mine)

    SECTION 3. RELIGIOUS FREEDOM
    The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination, shall forever be guaranteed, and no person shall be denied any civil or political right, privilege or capacity, on account of his religious opinions; but the liberty of conscience hereby secured shall not be construed to dispense with oaths or affirmations, excuse acts of licentiousness, or justify practices inconsistent with the peace or safety of the State. No person shall be required to attend or support any ministry or place of worship against his consent, nor shall any preference be given by law to any religious denomination or mode of worship.

    Davis’ tirade strongly indicates that she does not take this part of her State Constitution seriously. She demonstrates that she wants to favor those with whom she agrees in religious beliefs, and wants to deny or minimize the civil rights of those who do not share her beliefs. That is a betrayal of her oath and an abuse of the power that was entrusted to her. Sadly, Davis is not at all alone in her behavior. Many public officials do this kind of thing and far worse. It is in everyone’s interest, including Christians, to oppose them in the strongest terms.

    KenWritez, you seem to make fun of the concern that some extremist Christians want to subvert the U.S. Government into a theocracy. While that may be laughable to you, please remember that “Oh, that could never happen here” is the epitaph that has been carved on the gravestones of civil liberties throughout history. For us to stand idly by and think that Davis and her colleagues are harmless would be a grave mistake.

    I will agree to your proposal that we mutually refrain from stereotyping Christians in general and atheists in general. In addition I propose to you that you and your Christian friends work together with me and my atheist friends to protect the separation of church and state that keeps all of us able to think and worship as we see fit.

  • KenWritez

    Richard Wade said above, “I agree in principle that the wingnuts of any group should not be used to represent the entire group. However the problem here is not about unfair stereotyping of a group, it’s about the betrayal of trust and the misuse of power.”

    Thanks for your thought-out comments. AIUI, Rep. Davis was upset at the time of her outburst over the death of a student. We’ve all said and done stupid things under stress–this was her turn. To label her attack on Mr. Sherman as “betrayal of trust and the misuse of power” goes too far. I think you’re holding her to an over-exact adherence to Illinois and US Constitutions. She actually *did* nothing but act foolishly and demonstrate an appalling mindset of intolerance and ignorance of history.

    If you went back through the utterances, voting records and actions of every elected representative in the US, you’ll find the same type of–or worse–examples.

    Please hear me: I’m not excusing what she said. I’m saying her comments were an embarassment to her, to the Illinois State Senate, to Christians everywhere. But that’s all they were: Her embarassment. She dropped her pants in front of everyone, whether she knows it or not. (I suspect the state Senate leaders had an interesting telephone call with her.)

    “KenWritez, you seem to make fun of the concern that some extremist Christians want to subvert the U.S. Government into a theocracy.”

    Yes, I do want to make fun of it. I want to mock the hell out of this idea, because it is mockable. And for the same reason I want to mock anarchists who want to dismantle government, liberals who passionately declare “All business is bad!”, all male chauvinists who see women as nothing more than a handy vagina and beer-fetching device, and people who think “pro” wrestling is real.

    Oh, I’m not saying there’s no chance the US could become a theocracy, but the necessary cultural change the body politic would have to undergo requires centuries worth of deep social and cultural change. It didn’t happen under Pres. Bush and it won’t happen in our lifetimes or that of our children or even our grandchildren.

    As for the separation of church and state? I like it. God bless it! LOL….

  • Richard Wade

    KenWritez,

    You mean,……pro wrestling isn’t real?

    Well, never mind, I’ll have to deal with that disillusionment later. I hear what you’re saying and perhaps I overstated Davis’s “sins” insofar as she didn’t actually introduce a bill on the floor of the state legislature wanting to make into law the things she said, but I certainly won’t dismiss it away as just the effect of a personal upset, either. Do I expect a very high standard from elected officials? Damn right I do. We have let them slide and let them slide for so long that even convicted crooks get re-elected only because their constituents are saying, “aw, that aint so bad.” Our standards have become so lax the politicians we have now are people who can’t do very well in anything else. You said,

    “She actually *did* nothing but act foolishly and demonstrate an appalling mindset of intolerance and ignorance of history.”

    Uh huh, and that appalling mindset is enough for her to deserve to lose the next election. I’m tired of having to put up with a choice between an incompetent and a demagogue, or between a good ol’ boy and a preppy. We have the lousy government we deserve because we have not been demanding enough.

    There are some cultures that assume that drunkenness makes people say false things, so when after having too many glasses of punch at an office party a clerk chews out his boss, no one takes it seriously. In other cultures people think “in vino veritas,” that drunkenness reveals what a person truly feels inside. In those cultures the hung-over clerk meekly picks up his pink slip the next morning.

    In the U.S. people have similar differing attitudes about what stress does to people’s behavior. Should we completely ignore Davis’ remarks as not at all reflective of her personal character and professional ethics, because somehow her distress made her say things she doesn’t think or feel at all? Or should we think that under stress she revealed her true colors? I tend toward the “in vino veritas” side.

    I think you are correct that a theocracy isn’t going to overthrow the tattered, dented democracy we still enjoy. A sudden revolution isn’t how it would happen. It will be prevented by believers and non believers who keep up their resistance to the little erosions of our civil liberties that are attempted somewhere in this country almost every day. You said it yourself,

    If you went back through the utterances, voting records and actions of every elected representative in the US, you’ll find the same type of–or worse–examples.

    Yeah, and I’m sick of it. Aren’t you? That crap should never be acceptable. Every one of them should be kicked out. If eternal vigilance is the price of liberty then please forgive me if you think I’m over-vigilant, because I am wanting to protect your liberty as well.

    KenWritez, I think you and I have far more in common than differences and that we can be allies in preserving the freedoms we can so easily take for granted. You remind me to wipe the foam off my chin when someone like Davis screws up, and I’ll remind you that if you snooze you lose. Together we may find a balance.

    How do you know for sure that pro wrestling isn’t real?

  • Chris V

    Would you kindly send me the Congresswoman’s e-mail address?

    Thanks

    Chris V
    Pres
    Atheist Humanist Society of CT and RI

  • Patrick McGinley

    Representative Monique Davis sounds like a religious bigot.

    The God I don’t believe surely would not give a damn whether I worshipped him or not.

  • Ada

    If you think she said it because she was upset, call her and ask if she regrets it or takes it back. I already know what she will say but it would be nice to get it on tape.

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