Another Reason to Despise Rep. Todd Akin

I know, I know, you don’t need another reason, and this one is admittedly not as serious as #LegitimateRape-gate, but just to add fuel to the fire…

Last summer, when NBC broadcast golf’s U.S. Open championship, the intro to the broadcast featured the American flag, and soldiers, and students reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. But the words “Under God” were omitted from the segment:

If you watch the tape, it’s pretty clear it wasn’t intentional. It’s just the way it was edited. Still, NBC later had to apologize to Congress over the “gaffe.”

Congress?!

Yes, Congress.

At the time, Rep. Todd Akin was one of the politicians flipping out over the omission:

AKIN: This was something that was done systematically, it was done intentionally, and is tremendously corrosive in terms of all of the values and everything that’s made America unique and such a special nation.

Family Research Council’s TONY PERKINS: Why would NBC do this?

AKIN: Well, I think NBC has a long record of being very liberal and at the heart of liberalism really is a hatred for God and a belief that government should replace God. And so they’ve had a long history of not being at all favorable toward many of things that have been such a blessing to our country… This is a systematic effort to try to separate our faith and God, which is a source in our belief in individual liberties, from our country. And when you do that you tear the heart out of our country.

That rant makes a little more sense when you understand how crazily-obsessed Akin is with the 1954 Edition of the Pledge.

Akin proposed something called the Pledge Protection Act in response to atheist Michael Newdow‘s challenge to remove “Under God” from the Pledge.

Multiple times.

He did it in 2002:

No court established by Act of Congress shall have jurisdiction to hear or determine any claim that the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, as set forth in section 4 of title 4, violates the first article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

And 2003 (though it was called the Pledge Protection Act of 2004):

No court created by Act of Congress shall have any jurisdiction, and the Supreme Court shall have no appellate jurisdiction, to hear or decide any question pertaining to the interpretation of, or the validity under the Constitution of, the Pledge of Allegiance, as defined in section 4 of title 4, or its recitation… The limitation in this section shall not apply to the Superior Court of the District of Columbia or the District of Columbia Court of Appeals.

And 2005. (Virtually the same as before with some new formatting.)

And 2007.

None of his bills ever got support from the Senate. It’s unconstitutional, really, to say “The courts are not allowed to determine whether or not this one thing is legal!”

Still, the man knows how to hold a grudge.

Not that you needed another reason not to support him. He’s bad for women, we know that. But he’s also bad on issues of church/state separation. Or at least he’s bad on this one issue. Repeatedly.

(via Chicago Magazine)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • dgriffey

    Funny how we assume one gaffe is just a gaffe that reflects no deeper meanings, and therefore should be overlooked, and yet we see another gaffe as proof of deep evils and that the parties in question should be skinned without mercy.  I have a feeling those who think one gaffe was just a gaffe, will see the other as undeniable proof of a vast wrong that needs punished.  Both ways of course.  Both sides.  Which shows that as an enlightened society, we’re just about where people always have been.  Our side has stars on our bellies, that side doesn’t.

    • Coyotenose

       NBC is not known for its stance against public prayer.

      Akin is known for his stance against abortion, which relies on lies exactly like the one about “legitimate” rape.

      Context matters.

      • dgriffey

        NBC is not known for its love of traditional religious values either.  You’re right, context matters.  And that’s why everyone who pitched a fuss over NBC said they had a right to do so.  My point is, we are a nation of pundits, not principles.  We will get all up in a roar because it offends us, and then stand back and be shocked – shocked – that others are offended by what obviously isn’t offensive since we aren’t offended.  We have long lost the ability to say ‘gee, I might not agree, but I can see why they would be offended.’  On those rare occasions that something is so over the top that it’s obviously offensive or wrong, the most we’ll do is say ‘gee, I can see why they were offended…but here’s why they’re worse.’  Sure, it’s nothing different than what people have done since people were people.  But it goes to show that after all these eons, we’re just about where people have always been.

        • Coyotenose

           *nods* Even principled support based on unshakable reason and rationality starts to sound like sports fan arguments after a while, only without the saving grace of being over a ridiculously trivial topic.

        • Patterrssonn

          “Traditional religious values”? What are those exactly? Misogyny? Homophobia? Xenophobia?

          And how is NBC’s lack of love for whatever these traditional values happen to be at the moment, equivalent to Akins bizarre bombast and his attacks on the American legal system, ie his attempt to make it illegal to reference the constitution in law?

    • Patterrssonn

      Except, unlike NBC, Akin didn’t make a “gaffe”, his response was entirely deliberate. It’s a hell of a stretch to claim equivalence between the two. Did you misinterpret the post or were you being deliberately disingenuous?

    • RobMcCune

      Akin’s ‘gaffe’ was to use the term ‘legitimate rape’, but the rest of his statement was still awful. Ignoring those two little words he still said women who are raped can’t get pregnant, trivializing the thousands of women each year who do. His statements imply women who were impregnated by their rapists weren’t really raped. Akin clearly meant what he said, which is appalling no matter how he phrased it.

  • HeathenBlonde

    His statement was NOT a gaffe. He truly believes that shit and is hoping that other ultra Cancervatives will glom onto it. He is a hideous example for a human being.

  • randall.morrison90

    Even the atheists in Mo. are sexist.

    The Midwest Skeptics, out of Kansas City, think  “Elevatorgage” was, and is, an attention getting scam.

    http://www.meetup.com/skeptics-137/messages/40203462/

    • Coyotenose

       It’s been well-demonstrated otherwise. Cry more, troll. You aren’t even up enough on the topics you want to whine about to not come across as a fool from Word One.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/FDGYHBEWVNGUG763L5X4TON3JQ Nazani14

    I recall seeing 3 Presidents stand together and recite the Pledge without “under God” at some Washington event.   The group included Carter and Ford – sorry I can’t recall the third, and I sure wish I had that old tape!

    Personally, I don’t believe that the GOP is as religious as they claim, or we’d see more evidence of that in their personal lives.  It’s largely a distraction to prevent any legislation that might adversely affect their corporate sponsors.

  • Qwertyy650

    And yet I am reading today that he is still ahead in the polls…  What does it take for a typical voter to wake up? 

  • Adam Kamp

    Note: It may be entirely constitutional for Congress to say that the federal courts can’t hear certain cases. Art. III, sec. 2 states that the Congress can make exceptions to the cases that the Supreme Court can hear, and inferior courts are purely a creation of Congress.

    It’s just that Congress never does this about anything important because it would trigger the mother of all constitutional crises.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=628665833 Bill Santagata

      Congress can’t restrict the Supreme Court’s original jurisdiction floor that the Constitution delineates and can restrict in any way they so desire the jurisdiction of the inferior courts they create. But if all courts are barred from hearing from hearing cases with a certain subject matter, then it is added to the Supreme Court’s original jurisdiction.

      • Adam Kamp

        I’m willing to believe that, but do you have a cite? 
        And does that hold true even if state courts still have jurisdiction, as they must?

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Arthur-Bryne/100002441143047 Arthur Bryne

        My impression is that this notion of “if all courts are barred” is purely theoretical. The closest thing I can find to an example with a quick whack at Google Scholar’s legal stuff is Ex parte McCardle, where Congress seems to have in effect restricted the jurisdiction by repealing the law at issue. (No law, no jurisdiction, no case.) There have been frequent rumblings suggesting it be attempted, but never has a restriction precluded all SCOTUS review.

        In political practice, I suspect any such restriction that was a significant issue might be circumvented by one of the States declaring itself party to the suit (finding whatever pretext) and challenging the restriction, thus converting the issue to one of original jurisdiction, which Congress cannot strip.

        Alternately, while the content of the restriction (say, barring of all courts from hearing cases on abortion) might preclude a case directly addressing the subject restricted, the removal of a question from all judicial review would itself raise a separate issue on “due process” grounds, allowing the jurisdiction-stripping law itself to be challenged — without even need to go all the way to the SCOTUS to do so (though Congress would almost certainly demand to appeal all the way).

        Chemerinsky’s “Federal Jurisdiction” seems to have a fairly extensive discussion.

  • Glasofruix

      all of the values and everything that’s made America unique and such a special nation.

    It is special allright. In the same way as a kid with down syndrome…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=628665833 Bill Santagata

    It is not unconstitutional for Congress to restrict the subject matter jurisdiction of the inferior Article III courts it creates nor is it unconstitutional for Congress to restrict the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. Congress can’t entirely wipe out any possibility of a court hearing a constitutional issue, so if this law were to have been passed, any suit challenging the constitutionality of the Pledge of Allegiance would go directly to the Supreme Court.

  • Skwiver

    Well, Akin’s right that liberals want  to replace god with  government.  At some point somebody has to actually DO something, instead of waiting around forever  for god to get off his ass.

  • http://twitter.com/ftsor ftsor

    Our country must really be a mess if leaving out two words is TREMENDOUSLY CORROSIVE to our moral fiber.

    Oh, wait. :/

  • amycas

    “… a belief that government should replace God”

    Considering the fact that before the U.S. government started supplying poor people with access to health care, social security and welfare, god wasn’t really doing much for them. So, in a way, the government isn’t replacing god, it’s just picking up god’s slack.

  • Margaret Whitestone

    So he hates women and the Constitution.  


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