America’s Freedom From Religion Foundation is demanding a written assurance from Minnesota state representative Abigail Whelan, above, that she will refrain in future from proselytising during official state business.
Whelan, a Republican, received a letter of warning from the FFRF following her “outrageous misuse of her official position in preaching from the House floor.”
During a taxation debate last month she suddenly went all preachy:
I have an eternal perspective and I want to share that with you and with the people listening at home … There is actual joy to be found in Jesus Christ. Jesus loves you all. If you would like to get to know him, [if] you’re listening at home, [or] here in this room, please email me, call me. Would love to talk to you about Jesus. He is the hope of this state and of this country.
The FFRF said that her statement to turn everything over to a deity seemed to be an admission of professional failure.
FFRF’s advice to pious politicians everywhere is to ‘get off your knees and get to work’.
Whelan’s sermon, the FFRF asserts, was:
A shameless abuse of the power of her office.
FFRF Co-Presidents Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor said in their letter to Whelan:
These proselytizing remarks were completely inappropriate and an egregious violation of the spirit of the constitutional principle of separation between state and church. The Supreme Court has held that public officials may not seek to advance or promote religion.
Meanwhile it’s reported by PinkNews that the Christian Action, Research & Education (CARE) charity is ramping up its efforts to infiltrate the corridors of power in the UK by encouraging Members of Parliament to accept its supporters as free interns.
Four MPs accepted interns from CARE, according to the final Register of Members’ Interests for the last parliament.
Two of those MPs – Conservatives David Burrowes (Enfield Southgate) and Caroline Ansell (Eastbourne) – lost their seats.
A third MP who worked with the charity, Labour’s Fiona MacTaggart, did not re-stand at the election.
Now the charity, which continues to campaign against same-sex marriage, is attempting to sign-up new politicians to their scheme.
In emails to MPs, seen by PinkNews, CARE calls for “capable Christian graduates” to be placed in MPs offices for 10 month stints.
It also offers to cover the costs of their supporters while they work the corridors of power – providing CARE interns with bursaries of £770 per month so they are free of cost to politicians.
CARE told MPs:
The Leadership Programme is an educational graduate scheme helping capable Christian graduates explore a career in politics and deepen their understanding of the relationship between Christian faith and public life. A key part of the programme involves 10 months working in the office of a MP for four days a week.
Stephen Doughty, Labour MP for Cardiff South and Penarth, above, told PinkNews:
I am surprised and dismayed to have been approached by CARE to host one of their interns – not least whilst they continue to oppose the right of me and other LGBT citizens to marry the person we want to, and of effectively implying that you can’t be a true Christian and gay.
Their record and views on a whole series of issues is deeply concerning – and I hope that MPs will think very seriously and research their views and record before contemplating associating with them.
Contacted by PinkNews, CARE declined to explain their views on homosexuality and LGBT rights. CARE did not answer when asked if they believe homosexuality is a sin.
But it did say:
CARE is not anti-gay – love is central to Jesus’ message and he taught us to love one another as he loved us. We recognise that there are many different forms of family, and we respect these, especially where they provide stable environments for bringing up children.
We salute the invaluable, loving families established by single parents and same-sex couples. And we recognise that civil partnerships and same-sex marriage are now legal in England, Scotland and Wales.
Hat tip: Angela_K (PinkNews report)