This Is What a State Legislator Should Sound Like When It Comes to Church/State Separation Issues

Earlier this month, I posted about Pennsylvania State Representative Babette Josephs (D-Philadelphia), who was getting criticized for refusing to say the Pledge of Allegiance at a House Committee.

Josephs was also one of the two legislators who voted against recognizing October, 2012 as “Prayer Month” in the state — it was ultimately a 189-2 vote in favor of the resolution.

Justin Vacula has a fascinating interview with her at Skeptic Ink:

Can you talk about the “Prayer Month” resolution which was had recently passed in Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvanians are not irresponsible children. If we want to pray at home, be religious, or find a religious center of life we can do that without the legislature. There are plenty of things they should be doing right now such as addressing the voter id mess so that people know what they need when they go to polls in these two short weeks. There is also a myriad of problems such as high unemployment and cuts to public education that are dragging us down and keeping us from fully participating in the 21st century economically, socially, and culturally. The legislature is wasting its time urging people to pray or not pray.

If only we had more legislators who thought like her when it came to issues of church/state separation.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • The Thirty Year Itch

    Good answer, better than most politicians, but she could have said more. Like how the bill is offensive for a good part of the population, does nothing to support or protect the minority of nonreligious in thestate, and endorses behavior that is commonly accepted, already legal, and doesn’t need government protection or endorsement. It is akin to a resolution creating white history month.

  • Namidim

    Justin Vacula. Really?

  • CoboWowbo

    Well, he does live in PA. I don’t know if he lives in her district though…

  • Brian Westley
  • Baal

     I wasn’t sure fighting the rubble-cross for the 9-11 memorial was a good fight for atheists until John Stewart (who is on the board who decided to put it up) derided atheists for it.  As to the legislator suggesting atheists are cartoonish (like vampires) because crosses aren’t a big deal; would she be ok with getting them out of the public?  ’cause if it isn’t a big deal, then it’s a small harm to ask for them to be gone?

  • TCC

    I submitted a comment over there, but it’s still in moderation (no links) and a comment has come through since.

  • Brian Westley

    Yep, she doesn’t allow much in the way of contrary opinion.

  • TCC

    If anyone wants to comment and can’t get through moderation, Ms. Hamilton apparently has an active Twitter account. (That’s what I’m trying: a little public pressure.)

  • wayfarer74

    Unfortunately, she lost in a very close race in the primary, so this January will end her term of 28 years in the PA House.  Her spunk is going to be missed.

  • Brian Durden

    Doesn’t matter.  Vacula has proven himself to be a shitty human being.  He deserves no recognition or respect, only scorn, until he apologizes.  Recognizing him on a blog of this caliber enables his previous behavior.

    I’m quite disappointed, Hemant.

  • Freemage

     Vacula is lousy, yes, but this post wasn’t so much about him as it was about Josephs.  Ignoring her excellent quote because it happened to be on Vacula’s site would be tantamount to cutting off your nose to spite your face.

    And our ever-Friendly host follows the standard netiquette with regard to back-linking quotes.  It’s called, “Taking the high ground.”